Fire translated as Agni is a very important part of the Vedic Hindu life.
Agni Suktam is the first hymn in the oldest of the Vedas, the Rig Veda and is addressed to Agni, the fire-god, who is considered a cosmic power, who protects and guides human beings towards perfection.

1 I glorify Agni, the chosen Priest, God, the divine, minister of sacrifice,
offerer and possessor of wealth.

2 Agni is Worthy to be praised by living as by ancient seers.May Agni brings the Gods here.

3 Man obtains ever increasing wealth,through Agni, also fame and progeny.

4 Oh Agni, the perfect sacrifice which you surround,that certainly reaches to the Gods.

5 May Agni, possessor of immense wisdom Priest, he who is true, most gloriously divine,The God, come here with the Gods.

6 Whatever blessing, oh Agni, you will grant to your worshipper,
That, Aṅgiras, is indeed your essence.{In the Rigveda, Agni is sometimes referred to as Angiras or as a descendant of Angiras (RV 1.1).}

7 Oh Agni, dispeller of the night, we come near to you day by day with prayer,thought
Bringing thee reverence, we come,

8 Oh Agni,Ruler of sacrifices, guard of Law eternal, radiant One,
Increasing in thine own abode we approach near you.

9 Oh Agni please be accessible to us,just as a father to his son:
Agni, be with us for our well being.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where thirteen of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Will. The twelve other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

HR Now.

Among my regular readers, there are some Indian professionals concerned about the Indian HR scene. There are some who have discussed the abysmal situation, particularly in the IT businesses about some of the problems and some others in the Manufacturing sector who are as concerned though for different reasons.

Both however lament the so called professionalisation of the HR function into statistics driven functions, including top management obsession with “Billable Hours” driven styles of management.

In this scenarion, to come across a voice of sanity is refreshing and I recommend that this article, “Nothing Human About HR Now” by K Ramakumar in today’s Economic Times be read and given wide publicity as well.

A New Problem Created By Fanatics.

This news item from the BBC shows the latest problem faced by one section of people from India’s North East.

Mumbai and Pune also had problems with people from the North East of India being targeted by trouble makers.

These assaults are on people who like Bodo tribals of our North East who are battling immigrant Bangladeshis. Some Muslims in India have decided that their co-religionists, despite being illegal immigrants into India, are being assaulted and have gone berserk.

My friend and frequent commentator Nandu has this to say about it.

Shameful & dangerous ! The earlier this rot is stemmed the better before it snowballs into a more ugly situation which could easily spiral out of control . The people from the NE States have felt neglected/excluded/discriminated against for years now and a process of integration had just begun . When I was in Gauhati in 1977/78 and used to visit the other NE States ( Mizoram , Meghalaya , Manipur , Nagaland , Arunachal Pradesh , Tripura – “The Seven Sisters ” ) some of the local people there used to ask ” Have you come from India ? ” . They are simple law abiding folk in search of gainful employment in other parts of India and this ugly development is tragic . They were earlier exploited by traders from the other states in India and secretly resented them . This unrest has spread from the Bodo-Muslim ( illegal immigrant ) clashes in Assam to Mumbai , Pune and Karnataka !

It is all very well to celebrate Mary Kom’s success ( some solace in an otherwise drought of medals – very creditable considering the fraction these folk represent of our huge population ) but the “aam NE admi” needs to be at least protected if not actively encouraged !

The massive illegal immigrant influx ( pre & post 1971 war with Pakistan , which saw the creation of Bangladesh ) into the NE states is a huge problem which has been allowed to fester for far too long and unfortunately the Govt has been dragging its heels ( in some cases deliberately for political mileage ) and political will and co-ordination is woefully lacking ( as usual you might say ! ) ; the usual blame games have started . The favourite bogey of “foreign hand” has been raised ; even if that were true what prevents us from dealing with it : terrorism is also due to “foreign hand” who are now working hand-in-hand with local hands !

Why does India have to make headlines for all the wrong reasons with monotonous regularity ? The so called “India story” is taking a huge bashing of late !

Indian Independence Day.

Today is our 66th Independence day and that set me off thinking about what it has meant to me.

“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment, we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.”
~ Jawaharlal Nehru. Just before India attained independence from Britain on August 15, 1947.

I was all of four years old when that momentous event took place. Unlike my parents, I was therefore not much aware of quite what that waking to life and freedom meant. I have lived all these 69 years and therefore claim that I have had a life, but have I had the freedom that Nehru offered? And what has happened to the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity?
If I were to dwell on the pledge of dedication that those worthies took and which their followers, particularly Nehru’s descendants carried out, I will lead my readers and myself to insanity. I shall therefore refrain and discuss what Freedom has meant for me.

Freedom contains two elements. One, freedom from and two, freedom to. In the current situtation in India, I would rate those as follows.
Freedom from: Hunger, thirst, insecurity, disease, ignorance, coercion, hatred, bigotry, persecution etc.

Freedom to: Live a life of dignity; love, laugh and cry at need; pursue dreams and chase rainbows; produce offspring and provide them with a stable and secure future.

On all these parameters, India has failed to offer freedom to a majority of its people, thanks to inept and mercenary leadership ably supported by a self serving bureaucracy. True, the middle and upper economic classes have done well for themselves, but they still constitute a low minority of the population. In fact they abet the leadership by participating in the mercenary activities of the establishment. And since by a series of accidents and incidents I got thrown into that middle class, I too have had enough freedom from and to most things on that list.

Sir Winston Churchill said 68 years ago about India and today, wherever he is he must be grinning at the accuracy of his forecast.

“Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air and water would be taxed in India .”

Although Sir Winston may be laughing, I doubt very much that things would have been different had India not got independence. All that would have happened is that the middle and upper economic classes would have remained at lower economic levels. While in my own little way I do contribute to giving a better future for a few future Indians, I am not in a position to do much more. I do know some who are and are doing things and I support them. Mind you, these are strictly out of the establishment initiatives and that says something about the situation in India today.