Thursday, July 7, 2016

Why to name the religions?

Our country is having second largest population in the world but if we count the number of religions I think we are on the top with no other country matching with us. When we talk about the names of the religions it is Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Jews, Parsis and so on. We have different places of worship, different ways of worship and different modes and means of worship. It is there in every country.

If we talk about Christianity, we have different churches which have bifurcated the religion as Protestians and Catholic. In Muslims also, Shiah and Sunny are there. Sikhs have also divided themselves by way of different Gurudwaras. Besides above, during last three decades I have come across large number of people saying that they do not believe in any religion. But somehow, my lengthy interaction with them made me to convince that they do have the real meaning of religion because they are being able to experience the existence of
God in their conscious. The sensitivity, emotions and feeling are the signs of being human which differentiate us from animals. Sorrow and Happiness are the natural happenings in the life of every human being. We look for empathy in both these situations. When a person is sad he needs a shoulder to rest his tiring head someone who can wipe his tears and ask - Why you are sad? The people who do not have belief in any religion are having strong will power and recognize super natural powers in their conscious with whom they can talk in weak moments of life.

Though we are having different religions but somewhere we are all convinced that there is only one God with whatever name we may call. Today you will find temples , Gurudwaras, Masjids and Churches nearly in all the countries. Some religions flourished  in the countries which are much away from their place of origin like Buddhism.

Who teaches us about religions? It is Mother then Father, teachers, environment, friends and also the acquaintances of early age. We find meaning of religions from our elders. In the later stage of life our faith and belief in religion gain strength from experiences. Today we are witnessing a golden period when husband and wife are having different religions, they love it and allow their children to choose any religion. It comes from within as to what meanings I should give to God and Religion. Somewhere I feel that my Parents are living God for me and today when I have crossed the age of fifty, lost my parents I easily find them when their images are reflected from the statues of God. Going to the temples and worshipping I can easily have the experience of talking to God because the images of my parents emerged from the statues.

Let me come back to the core issue of this article about the God and Religion. Can we say that there is a super natural power which is controlling all activities of the world. This concept is more relevant when the scientists are hopeful of finding many more earths like ours in the Universe. They have propounded the theory which give rise to a new research leading to the search for an Earth like ours where human beings may be living parallel to us without our knowledge.

I personally felt in my life that though I am Hindu by birth having great sanctity for various sacraments, values and ceremonies which have been inherited by me from my parents. But over a period of time especially on the base of having education in the Christian Institutions I was convinced that the religion should be taken as way of life.  Worshipping in temple, Mosques, Gurudwaras and Churches is a wasteful exercise unless one is being able to concentrate towards God from his inner soul what we call as meditation which teaches us to feel the breadth as soul coming in and going out perhaps the same way we need to have concentration towards God .

Why do we go to a religious place for worship? I think the answer is to have an environment much away from the worldly things. Why do we study the earth with the aid of the globe? When we know that the globe is not the earth, may be because it is difficult to visualize where is England, America or our own country India? Globe makes if easy to understand the existence of various countries, mountains, oceans etc. on the earth.  A detailed study of globe with proper concentration helps us in understanding the whole world. Similarly a statue of God with whatever name we may call cannot be the God in Reality. But we need a statue or a place of worship like we need a globe to understand the world. The God is so vast that we cannot concentrate unless we are a good meditator. But a statue of God makes it easy to worship.

Going  down  the  memory  lane    i  may  recall  my  visit  to  ajmer  with  my  wife  for  the  dargaha  of  khwaja  moinuddin chishti ..see  we  were  hindu  so  it  was  quite  a  strange  situation   for  not   knowing  the  procedure  of  worship ..we  were  looking  here  and  there when  suddenly   we  came  across  a  very  old  moulwi sahib ..who  guided  us  in  very  polite  manner  ...he  said  it  is  the  dargaha  of  a  sufi  saint    who  was  very  close  to  allaha    you  are  going  to  approach  him  here  with  your  ilteza ..say  khwahish   tell  him  to  listen  you   and  forward   the  same  with  his  recomendation  in  such  a  way  that  allaha  may   kubool   means  accept  it  other  words  do  not  say  directly  to  allaha  but  make  khawaja  sahib  as  mediator  .. it  was  quite  rare  thing  for  us   we  did  the  same  and  he  accompanied  us  to  different  corners  of  shrine  explained  about  urse  festival ,  we  were  amazed  to  see  very  big  bowls   with  stairs   where  the  food  for  lacs  of  pilgrims is  prepared during  urse ...when  we   were  praying  ... we  found  that  moulwi  sahib   is  not  there  as  if  he  disappeared .  we  search  everywhere  but  could  not  trace  him  .....finally   with  a  guilt  of  not  being  able  to  thank  him  ,  we  came  back  .....after  a  month  or  so  our  ilteza   say  khwahish  came  true  in  reality  ,  we  got  ..what  we  wished  there   and  it  was  the  time  that  we  decided  to  go  there  again  for   thanksgiving  in  the  form  of  presenting  a  silk  chaddar  say  sheet  there .....this  time  also  we  looked  for  moulwi  sahib   who  met  us  earlier  but  he  was  not  there   we  felt  it  was  some  paigamber   sent  by  allaha  to  guide  us ......there  was  no  religion  involved  there ,  we  were  not  hindu  or  muslim    but  only  insaan ....i  strictly  feel  humanity  is  the  best  religion ...we  distributed  food  and  clothes  to  poor persons  there   which  gave  so  much  satisfaction  that  it  is  not  possible  to  express  in  words  here

Let me narrate  another  live example rather an incident when I experienced the existence of God that too in Mother Mary. While working in the government my management always had the pleasure of transferring me from one station to another in the middle of the academic session throwing a challenge open as to how I manage the admission at the new place of posting? My children were studying in Bombay when I moved to Calcutta. It was the month of November. All my attempts to stay at Bombay failed and I was forced to go there. The initial month was spent in utilising all my influences for securing admission of my children. But there was no hope. I wanted to have admission of my daughter in Auxilium convent but everyone discouraged by saying that it is impossible because earlier even Mother Teresa and now Sister Nirmala’s Telephone could not make it possible for children of my senior bureaucrat colleagues. I was really in a pathetic stage, went to Auxilium school but could not get entry. What to say about talking with Sister. Rose.!

The above incident made me helpless to recall my days in Bombay when I used to attend the Novina prayers at St. Michael Church Mahim. Having studied Bible as my subject till 5th standard I did have strong belief in prayers by every human being irrespective to the religion he professes. So I prayed to mother Mary and Infant Jesus too for my wish to admit my daughter in Auxilium convent. I was quite sincere in my prayers and somehow I could have proper concentration in visualizing myself as if I am standing before the statue of Mother Mary in Bombay Mahim church.

One day, it was my imagination, hallucination or a dream that I experienced a rare moment when by closing the eyes I could see Mother Mary telling me that my prayer is answered by her and my daughter is admitted in Auxilium convent. I asked the Mother for directions  as to how it will happen. Mother Mary smiled and said that I should go to the convent with her message, not to disclose to anybody about the request for the admission of my daughter. I was directed to have the entry in the convent by saying that I have come with the message to be conveyed to Sister Superior Rose and then I should inform Sister Rose about my prayer which has been answered. I could not realize as to whether it was a dream or reality. It was still a state of uncertainity in my mind but somehow my inner consciousness compelled me to obey the directions of Mother Mary.

Next day morning I went to the convent and as anticipated, the entry was denied, the Gatekeeper refused entry at any cost. Because he had seen me earlier, coming with the request for admission of my daughter. I stressed that I have come with the message for Sister Superior Rose which can be disclosed to her only and it is a message from   St. Michael Church Mahim, Bombay. The Gatekeeper could realize  the seriousness  of my talk and went inside, After a few minutes he came back and allowed me to go to Sister superior’s Room. I went to Sister Rose and wished her.

There were some posters in my hand with pictures of Jesus and Mother Mary which were purchased by students from St.Paul, Santacruz, Bombay. While giving the posters to sister rose I told about the message for her which has come from Mother Mary. She looked at me with a great surprise and said “what are you saying?” I repeated, “Yes, It is a message from Mother Mary that my daughter has been admitted in your convent”.  She looked at me in a different way and said “you seems to be a person holding senior position, a well-educated man but Are you in your senses? How Mother Mary can talk to you? Don’t try to be in fool’s paradise, I have already refused your daughter’s admission. There is no question of admitting the child when the Half-Yearly Exams have already been over”. She advised me to come next year. If my daughter can qualify the entrance test etc., I said firmly “sister, my daughter has already been admitted by Mother Mary and you are here just to comply the prayer which has been answered by Mother Mary, rather you are a messenger to execute the blessings of Mother Mary”. She was still in a confused stage and told me “Are you serious?” I said “Yes sister” then I narrated the whole incident of my dream to her. Now it was her turn to be serious about the whole affair. She closed her eyes for a minute and said, “Come with me to the church, let me also ask Mother Mary as to what she says to me?”

Thereafter we both went to the church and stood before the statue of Mother Mary. Sister Rose told me that she would like to confirm with Mother Mary about correctness of my saying. I said “sister, we are human beings to keep double standards but God always says the truth if Mother Mary has answered my prayer it is to be the same for you also”. Sister Rose reacted to my statement and said “O.K, Let me have my prayers, and by the time you will return from Bombay I may have the confirmation from Mother Mary”.

It took about 15 days when I came back to Calcutta with my family and shifted my residence. Soon after joining the Office my P.A. told me, “Sir, there was a call from Sister Rose of Auxilium convent , She has asked to meet her with your daughter”.  Next Day, I went to Auxilium convent with my daughter when I got the biggest surprise of my life. Sister Rose accepted my greetings and said “You were right, Your prayer was really answered by Mother Mary, I have admitted your daughter in my convent and let me inform you that it is for the first time in the history of this convent that a child has been admitted in the middle of the session. I must respect the sincerity of your prayers and the blessings of Mother Mary to You and your daughter”.

The above incident may not be the only one which has happened with me. There are large number of people who are publishing, thanks giving in newspapers. But for me, it was a rare experience of having encounter with God. It can happen with any God you may give the name. It could have been Allah, Lord Shiva or Guru Nanak. It is a matter of belief. For me it was Mother Mary since I visualized the church. The same happenings are there when a person goes to Makkah-Madina, or to Tirupathi Balaji or Golden Temple at Amirtsar. The purpose of this article is to express my feelings and convictions which says that there is only one God, we all human beings are alike though we are from different countries, professing different religions.  I would like to ask “ Is there any need to give name to the religion? For me it is Humanity which is the best religion.


            Sometimes I wonder whether it makes any difference with name of a person or place or even for a thing because the basic objective behind naming is to identify. It looks very simple in practice, but,   it is not so. For naming a child you require lot of research, consultation with the astrologers and of course your own choice. It becomes the sole prerogative of the parents to give you the name to live all through your life.
Naming process is very peculiar in our country I may recall my days in Bombay when I first landed there and the Govt. Offices were not satisfied with my first name with surname and insisted on full name means the name of my father should come after my name. In Kerala it is mother’s name, which is prominent. In number of places it is a common practice to add the home town name just to identify or to recognise so as to link him to the town. It is understandable since it shows your affinity, love, affection, belongingness and owning your birth place. Kaifi Azmi, Jigar Moradabadi, Shakeel Badauni, Firaq Gorakpuri, Josh Maliabadi, Naqsh Lialpuri, Sahir Ludhiyanvi and Hasrat Jaipuri these are all poets who made their mark all over the world and identified themselves with their birth place.

            As a matter of fact man need not give his name the people are there to name such as Gandhi, Bapu, Netaji, Panditji, Sardar, Lala, Deshbandhu, Gurudev, Acharya, Lok Nayak, Babuji in a sense great people are there who have been given name by us much different to their real name. We need not have the real name with us but we all know them because of their works. You say mother and the name of Mother Teresa will come in your mind. Don’t forget in today’s world even the word Laloo is famous as one and only one person of his kind.

            The question remains that a man is known because of his qualities, works and virtues and if he is famous, then it becomes immaterial as to what is his name because in any case he has to be known by some name. See Shakespeare or John Keats, William Wordsworth, Mark twain they were ought to be known by some name because of their works. It is not only in the field of literature but in any field the name is not significant. A young boy was working in a shoe store his name was Abraham Lincoln and he became President of USA his name remained Abraham Lincoln. We know him because he rose to that level. Shah Rukh Khan what a name it would have been? A difficult and uncommon name!  That if, of course, had he not been a super star. Some names look very strange otherwise if not acquired by the celebrities and if those names were not belonging to celebrities they would have been odd names.
Well it is not always true that names are not significant when it comes to places, animals, birds and books. Great amount of research is involved when we name such things.

We observe certain characteristic features so that the name has got similarity and can be identified easily. The idea is that the names should give resemblance or it should derive from that thing more so it should relate.
All I have said above is meaningful but let us come as to  how things are twisted for gains,  when it comes to naming the places, buildings, roads and parks in big towns  specially metropolis. Let us discuss something about Bombay say Mumbai. Bombay was a state had its own Currency, Chief Minister and what not. People used to feel honoured by saying ‘we are Bombay-ites’.   Bombay was reduced to a town when Maharashtra came into existence and now sees how we remembered Mumba Devi after centuries to re-name it as Mumbai though ‘Mumbai-ite’ is funny. Is it not?

One really wonders when people try to change history. We have a long legacy of British. As a matter of fact numbers of towns have been created by them on the footing of heritage values. There was always a purpose for naming a particular thing whether it is Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum, Fountain, Hanging Garden, Colaba and so on. Even Dalal Street signifies share brokers. Bori Bandar was renamed as Victoria Terminus which has further been renamed as Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus but the people have forgotten to remove the Victoria Statue on top of it. It is really a joke when we ask at the ticket counter for “Two V.T.’s please”, now can you ask for “Two Chhatrapati Shivaji please”. We are here to honour the Great Lives and not to insult them. How many people know the names of new flyovers, nobody, knows because Bandra flyover is Bandra flyover. Band Stand is still Band Stand. Now, check the General Knowledge of a  Bombay-ite whether he can give you the re-named version of Pedder Road, Kala Ghoda, Princess Street, Dhobi Talab, Kalba Devi, Church Gate, Prince of Wales Museum, Crawford Market and so on. Marine Drive has got the new name but it is still famous in the night as the Queen’s necklace. K.E.M. (King Edward Memorial Hospital) is not going to lose its history by renaming it. I don’t know whether by the time your read this article it may be renamed.

With the change of the Govt. there is a general tendency of changing names. It was Santa-Cruz Airport and Sahar Airport one is domestic and the other International then it was announced to be named after Jawaharlal Nehru but now in spite, of being named as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport people prefer to call Santa Cruz and Sahar and the whole purpose of naming is lost when we cut short the name as CSI Airport. Juhu Aerodrome as we still call it because it is situated in Juhu. I don’t know why it remained to be renamed.  We have in Bombay Bhindi Bazaar and Chor Bazaar but without any Bhindi and Chor in these markets. Try to remember Prince of Wales Museum as Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastusangrahalaya. Yes it is the new name. There are number of Chawpatties in Bombay but when it comes to the real it signifies to Girgaon Chawpatty only.

            I don’t know why people can’t find new names for new places. First, it was Delhi, then it became New Delhi there was Bombay they made New Bombay. They could have easily retained Bombay for New Bombay and let Bombay be renamed as Mumbai. This prefix of old and new shows that we do the things in haste or we don’t have the time and vision to create a new name.

            It will be endless if I keep discussing Bombay let me shift to Delhi and its adjoining. Okhla is a big industrial place of Delhi, in 70’s it was decided to develop Industrial Township by Uttar Pradesh Govt. on the borders of Delhi. Numbers of villages were acquired and to govern the activity a regulatory body was formed with an appropriate name. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority since the name was long people started calling it as NOIDA. Let me tell you one more thing that I read somewhere NOIDA Development Authority it is quite silly at first instance you can’t name a place after an Authority and now it is Authority over the Authority. What can you call; NOIDA is still NIODA in spite of being named Gautam Buddha Nagar. Now Greater NIODA is also there. I don’t know why people can’t find new names for new places.
Baring a few places like Nehru Place, Connaught Place renamed as Rajeev place stayed as Connaught Place, Curzon Road though renamed as Kasturba Gandhi Marg is still known as Curzon Road same is the case of Hailey Road, Kingsway Camp and Wellesley Road the list is endless. Delhi is fortunate to have the status of being the capital of Moguls because the names of the monuments could not be changed. Some how we developed a hatred for the British era and not for the Moguls and there had been no objection for heritage buildings after the Moguls. On the other hand there are famous roads like Akbar Road, Aurangazeb Road, and Lodhi Road and so on. We could not see the statue of King George facing India Gate I don’t know why Gandhi’s Statue could not be placed there.

            See Irwin Hospital with new name Lok Nayak Jayprakash Narayan Hospital we call it LNJP Hospital with this abbreviation the basic objective is lost to remember Lok Nayak. Willington Hospital is Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. But Lady Harding Medical College was left and only it has Sucheta Kriplani Hospital. For  Harding Bridge of-course the new name Tilak Bridge  is fortunately in practice. Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, and Lal Killa it is all there. I don’t know how much we loved with Safdarjung. There is Safdarjung Airport, Safdarjung Hospital and there may be a tomb after his name. See Palam Airport it became Delhi Airport and now Indira Gandhi International Airport say IGI. What do you understand with IGI? Soon it is going to become a general knowledge question.

What I feel that you can’t change names of the places once people don’t want it or they feel comfortable with old names. Dhaula Kua will remain without any well here.  Inter state Bus terminus as it is called ISBT. I wonder if like NOIDA tomorrow you may find ISBT Development Authority or Greater ISBT may come there.
Some politicians prefer to create new Districts like in Uttar Pradesh in early 70’s there were only 40 districts and today I think it must be over 80. Of-course mostly the names of the towns were retained with some changes, Kashi to Banaras to Varanasi, Paryag to Allahabad which may come back to Paryag. Cawnpore to Kanpur. King George Medical College, Lucknow  commonly known as KGMC doctors still feel pride to call them from KGMC definitely, it has gathered so much reputation that they don’t want to compromise with the name. Roorkee Engineering College with no short name has student’s forum Roorkerians even in USA. They were afraid of change of name so without wasting time it was made Indian Institute of Technology i.e. IIT, Roorkee. Great, going big.
            Let us see South India Mysore was a state reduced to capital and now a town only. Madras was also a state which became capital and now with Chennai Madras is nowhere except Madras Airport with Anna and Kamraj Terminals. Trivandrum has become Thiruvanantapuram. Bengal is fortunate it had 16 to 17 districts at the time of Independence and today it has only 18. Midnapore was the biggest district in South Asia which has been bi-furcated into east and west. It seems that in Bengal we like east and west. Tell me if there is any significance in retaining the name as West Bengal. It had the sense before Independence when Bengal was a big province. After the Independence East Pakistan was created it was quite logical but thereafter it should have been Bengal only because West has lost its relevance.
Let us discuss Calcutta; it is a town undoubtedly can be called as cultural capital of the Country. Human Values, sentiments are Supreme. Intellectualness, talent came as part of legacy from Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore. *Like Mumbai Calcutta to Kolkata is also having a unique history it took more than half century after independence to change the name. There are different stories behind it. People say there was a big jungle having Kalighati and Kali statue was situated there. People use to do puja there and from this the name Kalikata came. Another story says that there was a kalidaha (lake), which made it Kolikata. Another story says that a foreigner was passing through when he saw a farmer in the rice field he asked the name of the place  in his own language which was understood as “Dhan Kab Kata” by the farmer and in due course of time the pronouncement made by the farmer made the name Kolkata.

Seeing the buildings of the city and infra-structure we can still visualize that it was Capital of India during British regime. Because we loved the history. We are sentimental about the old things. Though new development came with great speed but the legacy and heritage was valued Fort William, Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, Grand Hotel, High Court, Bengal Club, Race Course, Calcutta Club, Nizam Palace have not been changed more over they have been maintained. Calcuttian’s never believed in changing history. Well names of the roads have been changed but still Royd Street, Park Street, Elliot Road are there. Again, the abbreviations are working here Dalhousie was renamed to pay tribute to freedom fighters Binoy, Badal, Dinesh it is being called as B.B.D. Bag. Tell me how many people remember these names and their patriotism if you are going with the abbreviations only then why to have big names I can’t really digest this concept but you can’t help it since it’s the same everywhere whether it is Bombay, Delhi or Calcutta too where words have got meaning. I remember the old saying that “words have got no meaning of their own it is we, who give meanings to the words.”

            Calcuttian’s care for heritage buildings, the roads are having historical significance you may change the names of the roads but it never effects VIP Road is renamed as Kaji Nazrul Islam Sarani now keep this question to be answered for general knowledge. See the entire VIP Road having a stretch of 5 kms. or more and read the boards you will find everywhere VIP Road only. Ultadanga, Kakurgachi, Phoolbagan, Manicktala these are all in the memory of Calcuttians nobody feels the necessity for having a change in these names after all names are there to identify a thing as  I said  in the beginning mover over, these names are having a great basis that too a logical one.

            Now I will tell you a very surprising thing near the Airport you will find the names of the places as Gate No.1, Gate No.2 and Gate No. 2 1/2 , Gate No.3, Gate No.4 and so on upto Gate No.8. People are very comfortable with these names. Don’t you feel it is unique in itself? Come to Salt Lake nobody changed its name the place is quite lucky in that sense. Now people call the intersection, roundabouts as island and still they never get confused these are in fact landmarks. Now, your address in Salt Lake as near Tank No.8, Tank No.1 and Tank No.2 etc.

            Calcutta is having the oldest International Airport of the Country which was known as Dum Dum Airport now don’t ask me how this Dum Dum name came into existence since the entire area even the metro station is known as Dum Dum. It was a great tribute     to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that this Airport was named after him but, what is the use since you still apply the abbreviation NSCBI Airport creating a new general knowledge question.
            I think it is enough on naming re-naming and what not. Let me take another dimension of this old business. Think about the consequences in terms of the financial loss, time involved in the process of changing names, new sign boards, new stationery, notices, advertisements and above all stone laying ceremonies, functions and just calculate gains to the people especially when they still prefer to use the old names in letter and spirit.

            After all let us have some realization, let us be creative and innovative for naming new places, buildings when we don’t require naming people because their works give their names as mentioned earlier and great lives make their names with the good deeds.

            This article can never be complete in the present scenario in the country a day will come when it will become a matter of research when somebody will go deep into the genesis of this concept. Any takers for doing research to have a doctorate?


                                 Singapore Calling

My recent visit with family to Singapore and Malaysia I  mean  Kuala Lumpur  gave unique exposure to us in every walk of life. It is not that you can’t know about foreign countries, their culture, places, environment  and the people through internet but it is something different when you visit a place and communicate with the people there. Large number of people visit these places for different purposes everyday from India, but their perceptions are different, it is natural because two people can’t be the same. For me it was a weeks’ holiday with family on the strength of hard earned savings. Now, since the children have grown up their interests have also changed. My son is doing B.Tech in Computer Science so he was more interested towards education field for doing MBA there. The daughter being in Class Eleven medical group of course showed interest as a tourist to see different places.

It was no denying that though the Singapore is a new country which has undergone many changes during last 5-6 decades and  impressions of Chinese , British and Malaysian rule are still visible. The country is so small as an island that area wise we can compare it with Delhi. There is no big industrial or agricultural base for this small country but still the economic condition is superb. Modernisation in every field whether it is for the cleanliness, High rise buildings, greenery, Metro Rail, Road transport, shopping malls, picnic spots or other public utility services and what not.

As an Indian it was but natural for me to compare each and everything with India. I do not know why everything there was looking artificial. Things were too costly especially eatables. For a vegetarian it was a difficult task. Well for a person interested in Thai food or in sea food it is heavens. You will find the touch of fish everywhere. When my wife insisted on a vegetarian dish it was non-veg chowmein covered with some pieces of cabbage. Water was not scarce but it costed  2$s a bottle of one litre so it is better to have cold drink for 1 $.

Since Singapore is basically surviving on tourism therefore, the picnic spots were really worth seeing. Especially the management of every activity was superb.  When you name Sentosa Island, Underwater World and Pink Dolphins, Night Safari and the Malls of Suntech City, Harbour front and viva, you will find nothing new as compared to our malls in Gurgaon and Noida. Night Safari is having the animals which are quite common rather Hindi thing is there when you name the animal “Barasingha”. Again and again this question was coming to my mind why we can’t have 10 places like Singapore in India especially when we do have much better flora, fauna and natural beauty. The places of Singapore cannot match with our Kovalam Beach, Changu lake at Nathula, Kalimpong, Port Blair, Garhwal and Kumaun regions and ofcourse Kashmir valley and Leh. The whole of North-East India, Meghalaya, Arunachal are beyond comparison with regard to their natural beauty. Then why we are so much amazed with Singapore and Malaysia. This question was haunting my mind. Our metro rail in Delhi is much better than Singapore Metro (may be because it is new) the only difference is that they do not have any driver. The safety measures are far better than us.

The most important aspect of Singapore was the culture of honesty prevailing in all spheres of life. When I analysed various activities I observed that really this is the basic component which has made the difference between India and Singapore. You can’t afford to be dishonest. Just see a MRT card for 10$s which can be used for Metro and buses too. You need to be quite religious while using it. While entering the bus or train you swap it and while coming out you need to again swap it to see that money is debited. And if you try to be tricky by escaping the swapping while coming out from the bus they have the system that the fare upto the last destination of MRT will be deducted automatically from your card. You cannot afford to throw Cigarette or smoke Cigarette freely anywhere you like as a matter of fact you do not feel like throwing also on public places because the city is so clean and dry. Well, there is penalty also which stops you in doing so and you do not find people chewing tobacco, pan, littering here and there. The roads are so clean that it is difficult to find dust particles. They must be cleaning roads during night hours. On the construction sites it is ensured that the vehicle is on the road only after proper cleaning. The dead leaves falling from the trees are removed regularly. The taxi drivers are too honest. They cannot afford to cheat you, it is all computerized. Not only the fare, the places traveled by taxi are displayed with proper announcements. You get a receipt for the money paid . Even 5 cents are returned by the driver.

We Indians are having horrifying experience in our Metros especially due to bad law and order situation. A girl cannot afford to walk alone on the roads when it is dark in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida because you never know when a van with some gundas may come and grab her to be raped and later thrown on the road side. This problem of law and order is so grave in our country that solution appears to be quite difficult because you cannot provide police for everybody. Moreover, when police personnel themselves involve in the crime than who is going to save the public. Now, see in Singapore we never observed police control or traffic personnel. But still there was no problem. Why it was so? while interacting with the people we came to know that they have very harsh punishment for certain crimes say 5-7 koras, i.e. strokes for eve teasing. Death penalty for drug trafficking. 100 to 1000 $s fine for littering, throwing cigarettes,  buds or making the places dirty. When I say stroke it is kora what we learnt in stories of mughal period. It is still there. Let me tell you a very interesting incident narrated to me by a person there. A foreigner was caught at Changi Airport with large quantity of unknown medicine which appeared to be some sort of drug. He was a transit passenger and in Singapore you don’t have the provision for transit visa like Britain. This man being caught was awarded punishment of 3 koras but he could not sustain the first one and was badly injured with bleeding. He pleaded that he may be released due to the fact that he cannot stay in Singapore without visa but the authorities granted him a transit  visa and treated him well at their own cost so as to sustain second kora which followed by treatment of one more week to have the final third kora meaning thereby the man remained there for 3 weeks at the cost of Government so as to have the full punishment. Look at the judicial system it is so quick and fast that there is no choice of any delay or appeals. You have hidden cameras at most of the places which generate evidence and the panel of judges are there to make their judgement on the Laptop for immediate implementation. You have no other way except to admit the crime and have punishment. You cannot speak against the government publically. The press is controlled. You get a bulky newspaper free of cost at your door step everyday. Well democracy is there for name sake.
Nobody is grumbling. People are satisfied because they do not have time for gossip. It is work, work and work. The doors of your house are open. You remove your shoes, leave umbrella outside the house unattended. There is no incidence of theft because again the punishment may go up to 3 koras. I need not tell you as to what I mean by kora. Just that about Arabian koras. Even the floating population of the city mainly due to tourist are so much afraid of these laws that they cannot think of committing any crime and it is all spread with  word of mouth except the posters which says that drug trafficking attracts death penalty. You do not find any stray dogs or cattles on the roads. You have guava, mango, apple, nicely cut into pieces, vegetables in plastic sealed boxes but let me be very frank that the Indian taste was not there because we are in the habit of eating things in natural way. Nobody asked me for the tips there. There are no beggars  , the prices of most of the things are fixed except in China Town, Little India where you can bargain. Cigarettes are damn costlier so as the beer and liquor.

Since our visit was personal tour, i.e. why we were quite conscious about the money spent since we wanted to be within our budget. Though we never compromised for our comforts and site seeing etc. but for purchasing we went to Mustafa  and Niranjan at Race Course road. Mustafa is multi storeyed large market where you can find each and everything you want. There is nobody to check you what things you are keeping in your basket but a very good alarm system is there. A person can be caught very easily if he is taking out anything without making payment. There is a system of inventory and deinventory. When the things are scanned with bar code. Any item which has not been deleted from the inventory on the basis of bar code reading is considered as a stolen article and the computerized system detects it by making an alarm. The punishment for this theft is also very quick and harsh again koras or heavy fine. Who will dare to do ? Tell me. They have removed all possibilities of crime by making stringent punishment that too with very quick process of law

Now a poet, writer, professor and a beaurocrat in me was feeling restless unless I interact with the literary circle and students in the educational institute of Singapore. That made my visit to National Univeristy of Singapore and a few places which were connected with the art and literature. It was really a proud moment for me when I could find my book “Living a stressful life with joy” in the bookshops at Singapore and Malaysia too. It was quite astonishing that a writer gets so much respect in Singapore also. It gave me with pleasant surprise and I could tell about my other books. The interaction with the students in NUS made me to realize that they are much focused than Indian Management students. I  was happy  to  see  the  respect  beimg  given  to  Indian  management  experts   it  was  really  a  matter  of  great  priviledge  and  proud when    head  of    management  studies  appreciated  my  profile  and  showed  willingness  to  consider  me   as a guest  faculty    let  me  see  if  I  get  the opportunity  to  share  my  experience  with    us. 

There was a very interesting case of honesty witnessed by me at NUS library which is all computerized and a student goes to a machine to pay the fine for late deposit of books by using his credit card. After that he goes to another counter with lot of books to be returned. The books are again put into the box  and the receipt comes out instantly. Acknowledging the fine received. The student again goes for browsing the books on computer. It was all systematic even the reading rooms, waiting hall, almirahs etc. The bookshop on the ground floor also gave unique impression of books display. Outside the central library lot of benches were there where students were busy interacting and doing their projects. You get nice tea, coffee, cold drinks and wafers just by putting the coins into the machine and the things come out with the balance change. For a trial when my children and wife took cold drinks and wafers, it was my turn to have hot tea for 40 cents. 1$ coin in the machine gave me a nice hot tea and the balance 60 cents also came out. The things were quite cheap in NUS may be because students are there and they might have subsidized things. In the class-rooms, reading rooms, auditorium, the university campus was  really very big. It reminded me of IIT Bombay and Delhi. But there was a difference in the activities of IITs and NUSs. The approach is different, the work culture is different and the meaning of education is also different. The students too have different attitude and aptitude for their mission. It was a mixture of students from different countries. Some Indians were also there. The faculty was mainly from USA, UK and China barring a few Indians. The salary structure is very high for a full time management faculty. Unconfirmed sources revealed that it is to the tune of 25 to 35 thousands $S per month.

You must be interested in knowing about the property prices there. Seeing the property market in India especially at Bombay and Delhi I can comfortably say that if you are planning to have a house in the posh locality of Bombay and Delhi you can also have a house in Singapore at the same cost. Rent wise also it is not that costly. Well you need to check as to whether you can own property there because now a days they are quite strict in giving you citizenship. Though the visa process is quite liberal and you can easily get a multiple entry visa of two years on a nominal fee of Rs. 500/-.

This article cannot be concluded unless I talk about Changi Airport which is considered to be world’s best Airport, infact it is. Remotly I cannot compare with Indian Airports. The things are so systematic that you do not require an enquiry counter there. There is no rush. All activities are running quite smoothly. There is no multi-layer checking you carry your boarding passes and there are so many bays and aero bridges. The airport looks like a big mall. You can purchase anything. You need not walk since oculators.   are  there . A beautifull sky train connecting terminals is there. While leaving Singapore do not forget to take refund for your used MRT cards. It goes for refund of 3$s per card. For the goods purchased from Mustafa you get refund of 5% GST though from Niranjan it is not there. But you do not mind it because things are quite cheap. A big bargain on computers for 800$s you get Dell laptop and for a little amount of 135$s a flat screen 21 inches TV is available. During my visit the cost of Singapore $s was Rs. 27.50. It is there in Singapore but at Delhi Airport you need to shell out Rs. 30/- for purchasing a single Singapore $.

Well I do not feel like talking more about Malaysia since  we were there hardly for two days in a package tour.  That  too  was  only  for  kualalumpur   The journey was by bus from Singapore to Malaysia and back. Beautiful roads, sight seeing, high rise buildings and excellent coach with massage facility for the whole body on every seat and small TV too with different channels was available. The food again was sea food which a vegetarian cannot eat. Thanks to some laddoo’s and mathari carried by my wife which later on made a problem for Singapore customs to identify these items since my bag was made to open and it was difficult for them to recognize our food stuff. You cannot carry cigarettes from Malaysia to Singapore. Since I could not afford to smoke even a single cigarette in Singapore I purchased a packet of Dun Hill cigarettes for 6$s in Malaysia. The bus driver gave me very clear instructions to open the packet and smoke at least 2-3 cigarettes otherwise there was a danger of having fine or a kora at Singapore customs. They do not encourage you to bring cigarettes and liquor in Singapore.  in. Malaysia, Times square and twins towers were unique things. Unfortunately we could not afford to go to the highest floors of twin tower and our visit was confined to 6th  floor only where malls are there. You can easily have good bargaining in Malaysia even for taxis. It was like India when we went to little India market. The quality of things was quite poor. The taxi drivers were mostly Pakistanis or Indians. The law and order situation is worst because in our hotel itself they prominently displayed warning not to venture after 10 p.m. because there is danger of eve teasing, chain snatching and pickpocketing. So we were really having a tight schedule to visit the places there. The twin tower momento was purchased for 25 ringette equivalent to 12 Rs per ringette and changing markets it came down to 10 ringettes per piece. So much bargaining is there. The food is cheap and you get Indian food also. We were quite happy to see the travel agents systematic arrangements and tie up in Malaysia with the hotel. The hotels are beautiful, well organized. They have been built in such a manner that from every room you can view twin-towers. It was raining in Malaysia we could feel but in Singapore we never felt it because the drainage system was superb. The water scarcity is not there in Malaysia rather they export water to Singapore. There is recycling of every drop of water even from the waste in Singapore. We were surprised that how the drainage system works in Singapore because inspite of having 1 hour heavy rainfall soon after the roads became dry.  The Malaysia is far behind Singapore in every way. Though once upon a time Singapore was a part of Malaysia.

In Malaysia I was amazed to see the Muslim ladies in every walk of life even in hotels and highly sophisticated IT industry. They were wearing western outfit in the hotels and no where you can say that muslim women are not modern there. It looks that in our country only the muslim women education is poor, otherwise seeing the condition in Malaysia, I can say that they are quite advanced, educated and intelligent lot who can beat the women of any other religion. This impression has come to me only after talking to them and seeing their high knowledge level.

I really wonder why we cannot make a Dubai, Singapore or Hongkong in India. Look at the pictures of Dubai in 1990 and today. Same is the case of 60s today for Hong Kong and Singapore. Something or the other is going on in Singapore whether it is flyover or building construction or opening of a new mall. The city is moving and we are there as tourist to see that it moves on. They depend on us but still they are competent to teach us. We are not being able to follow them why a big question? I am still trying to find the answers. Good bye till I make my next visit to Dubai and Hong Kong.


Why to name the religions? Our country is having second largest population in the world but if we count the number of religi...