Phas gaye re NGT – #TruthWillPrevail

Please bear and read through this Maxi post (it has a lot of links for supplementary reading)

Each time I resolve not to react to anything that appears against the Art of Living hosted, now well known, World Culture Festival held on the banks of River Yamuna (or whatever was left of it), a motley bunch who called themselves “Committee of Experts” (click on the link to read about the so called experts) don’t let me do it at all.

The committee chaired by Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar & assisted by Prof AK Gosain of IIT-Delhi, Prof CR Babu and Prof Brij Gopal, in its report submitted to the green panel on 21 February 2016, had stated (Quoting relevant part from the report)

The area has been cleared of all natural vegetation and the event would leave a “permanent footprint” on the floodplains of the Yamuna.

The site has been cleared of all natural vegetation and consolidated with machinery. It appears that the site has been raised with the help of JCBs (mechanical excavators). A gigantic stage made of steel rods is under preparation. A huge amount of debris and construction waste has been dumped into the Yamuna main channel.

It would require at least Rs 120 crore for restoration of the Yamuna flood plains and there is a irreversible damage, leaving a “permanent footprinton the floodplains of the Yamuna. It’s destruction and not damage of the floodplains, because there’s nothing left on the floodplains to revive. The wetland has been compacted that has killed organisms, vegetation, biodiversity and the ecological system. It takes hundreds of years and even more for a biodiversity to develop, and one can’t revive in a few years period. So, it’s total destruction

(Mark those important phrases in red – that formed part of their report on which basis the entire case is premised – I will revisit this later in this piece)

And backed by the every obliging Foreign controlled Paid Media and Liberals (PALs) – you can find some information on my two part pieces here (Part 1 and Part 2). This gives you the reason why PALs, as I refer to them in the pieces, launched an incessant attack on the founder of Art of Living, Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji and Art of Living – whether they perform their morning ablutions or not, multiple attacks a day on this world recognized event was their prescription.

And Lo!!! Something suddenly erupts to disturb the cosy comfort activists were reposing in. An usually wary and not so outspoken Water Resource Secretary and Chairman of the Expert Committee Mr Shashi Shekar blurted in an unguarded moment that Rs 120 crore fine was not based on any scientific assessment. In his letter to NGT, he said (quoting from it),

The estimate that Rs 120 crore would be needed to repair the likely damage as “tentative” and a “spontaneous suggestion”, which got elevated as a “recommendation” because of an “inadvertent mistake. This inadvertent mistake was largely due to the fact that I was running high fever and could not see the entire report prepared by the experts,”

Oh yes! Mr Shashi Shekhar wrote this letter to the NGT on March 3, eight days before the AOL event got under way. But even during the hearings on the even and the day preceding it, the Tribunal and the activists who had made it their mission to sabotage this Event never refered to this letter from no less than Chairman of the Expert Committee (Manoj Misra, Vimlendu et al cannot claim they did not know about it – but they did throw a gauntlet at me at the gates of NGT office – Swechha guy’s words “You can defeat us in court but not the fury of the nature” bandying the weather forecast. It is a different matter that he had a carton of Gelusil when nature held back just for the event to get to a magnificent start and also witness to the now famous WCF Rainbow – click this link to see WCF Rainbow & a Post Event report). Coming back to the point, a totally unscientific, tentative spontaneous suggestion got elevated as a recommendation (yes it is the language of the Expert supposedly handling some legally critical issue)

I even presented, with my friend Rajaque Rehman a far more Scientific, evidence based report “Pictures & Facts Don’t Lie – #WCF2016” which had As-is pictures, photographs of spectral records, Pre and post Event Pictures, Temporal Satellite imageries. But then we were just factual not “experts”

Partial list of work done by Art of Living for Environment protection is chronicled in this Two part article Part 1 that includes work done for Yamuna, yes yes you heard it right – Yamuna maayi was also taken care by AOL much before the event in 2010. And then Part 2 where I chronicle various river rejuvenation and enviroment related work that Art of Living has done. As clear these form far more than whatever these activists, experts and NGT put together has done for the environment and rivers. By the way! I have just listed very few of them and those done in India alone.

Now that the premise is set, let us come back to the present. A so called Expert and so called report from them was leaked to the public (press – obviously first broken on pliable Hindustan Times – known hitjob contractor against AOL and Sri Sri). Read this part of the report

The seven-member committee, headed by the water resources ministry secretary Mr Shashi Shekhar, said in the report released on Wednesday that the ecological rehabilitation of the Yamuna’s floodplains will cost Rs.13.29 crore and take almost 10 years.

Compare the Red colored block words of what NGT experts had asked for. Permanent Damage & Total destruction now becomes ecological rehabilitation would take almost 10 years and Rs 120 Crores becomes Rs 13.29 Crores. Coming from such a learned bunch of experts 😛 a poor stupid me is left wondering why we Tax Payers even have these kind of rehabilitation forum, for retired Judges and Professors and Good Boys of the establishment, called NGT and Expert committee. The report is a litany of comical errors. Chairman and another Expert doesn’t sign the report!!!

A few questions

  1. Why this selective leak of Expert Report?
    • What were the Compulsions: Desire for Media Glare (unlikely) or Pressure from a Particular Foreign funded NGO to fix AOL?
  2. Why did Chairman of the Committee and another Expert not sign the document?
  3. How did the Rs 120 Crore suddenly drop to Rs 13.29 Crores + recurring cost for 10 years)
  4. How did Permanent damage, recoup itself to getting rehabiliated within 10 years?

Here is the Press Release from the Art of Living:

Even more caustic and harsh was Water Minister, Government of Delhi Mr Kapil Mishra’s reaction to the Expert committee report. He went to the extent of mocking them saying Dolphins were swimming in Yamuna before WCF and also sought Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to repeat this festival again and again.

Here is the DNA report shared in the tweet from Art of Living which has English version of this reaction. That was a slap bit too hard. Salutes Sir. I have ideological differences with you, but tipping my hat for being on the side of Truth.

Does whatever happened remind you of the scene from a 2010 movie “Phas Gaye re Obama” Rings a Bell? NGT bargaining is something like this. I sincerely hope and pray that Art of Living stands up to this Obstructionist bully called National Green Tribunal, not surprisingly a creation of the Indian National Congres & machiavellian designs

|Jai Gurudev|

|Jai Yamuna Mayi|

Satyameva Jayate (TruthWillTriumph) 


Illuminating our Path – Happy Birthday Divya

I never got why people always equate something precious and dear to the “Eye” like Apple of my Eye, Kanmani,  etc. Well! it was true until recently when I realized that I had something dearer than that decorating our lives.

She has magic in her eyes and more than anything she has the ultimate love & trust for the world. If you cannot accept that this is a beautiful world, see it through her eyes to realize it.

From the time when she was presented before us for the first time after her birth – I vividly remember the glance she gave and looked around. From the one who required care then, to someone who cares, this young lady has come a very long way in these 24 years.

Proud of those moments when she worked with disadvantaged children, differently abled children and her tremendous efforts at mainstreaming them through dance. An epitome of Nishkama Karma – never did anything for laurels, but it came by nevertheless.

Thank you Divine, for this wonderful gift – Akhila a.k.a. Divya – who has been more a friend than a daughter. Don’t go by her frail (but healthy) looks – she has a strong shoulder that many of us can really lean on for strength.  There was a time when I had to explain whatever you meant to us and wish on your Birthday. Gladly you have turned into a young lady and it is only appropriate that I write to you directly now.

Dearest Di

Me and Amma were go through the pictures of you growing up and realized how the time just flew past.  What is admirable is the persistence and never say die attitude. Learnt to take the punches that life threw at you on the chin and move on (after taking it head on). Whether you had these recognition coming your way or not… I would love you no less and you would continue to mean as much – but the icing on the cake is when glory came your way. A proud father’s tears of joy reliving those moments is inexplicable.

Knowing that the world is amazing but a challenging playground,  going by the journey so far, I am very confident that you would savor, steer, enjoy and live every moment. You also have taught many of us to live each day with a sense of gratitude due to which Life has honored us back. While you may not need it anymore than how much I need yours, rest assured that we will walk along with you all the way.

This would be incomplete if I don’t share some glorious moments when you brought everyone cheers and happiness – Proud moments so far and I am sure this is just the beginning. I am sure there are many more to be picked up on the way.

As I always told everyone, there is something special about you, and no parents could be no less prouder than us with whatever you ARE! I know you have a lot more to offer to this world. And as you do that, like a torch bearer in any procession, let me tell you “You illuminate our paths”. That is a huge huge thing for someone your age to do.

I still remember your conviction when you said, we will continue to help people in need notwithstanding whatever trouble some people create – If we back down, it is a victory for them. This world cannot be defeated by a few naysayers!

You are very true there, darling. Go and conquer the world, make it yours and spread the fragrance of happiness. In your little ways, you have touched not just the immediate family but so many countless number of underprivileged children and elders too. A speed breaker of life did not deter from pursuing what you thought was the right thing to do.

Loads and loads of love

Not sure if it is required anymore! But go ahead and aim for the skies in the firm belief that you will not be afraid to fall. Not just us, all those whose lives has been touched by you will be there, not to let you fall.

Have a great birthday and wish you countless more to come! Stay blessed and Keep smiling!


Working to make it Work!

As we complete 26 years of this blissful journey of togetherness – a journey that we began as 23 year olds, with joy in our heart and hopes in our minds, someone asked me why I write (by now the customary) blogs acknowledging her gracious (for me grateful) presence. I have so many reasons to do that.

Definitely not for this!!!

Firstly, I got to acknowledge that she deserves much more than whatever even the best of my words and language that I possess can ever express and secondly, considering the alternative – a Card – Sorry! that would be a pathetic replacement to what I want to really say (also there is not enough space on it to write these or for photographs). This is also done to let the world know that this journey is possible even in these days. Finally, I also write to remind some folks who would have forgotten that it is a special day for us, to wish and bless us to continue this journey into eternity.

“Only spiritual elevation can take away loneliness, not soul mates” said, Founder of Art of Living and our Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji. Yet He blessed us all along to make it easy for me to elevate myself spiritually taking away my loneliness but also ensured that soul mate made it even more easier.

Those who know us would congratulate me, but they would agree and credit Aparna for this wonderful journey – that could well be an example of what & how it is supposed to be – Woman who is fixed, robust and capable of restoring any fallen ones around her. Someone who with lot of sacrifice, unknown to all of us, ensured that “Life is a celebration” not just for the immediately family but to the extended family (Let me assure you that it is definitely not a small one). This was evident just 2 days ago, on the Ugadi day – Painstakingly prepared fares, everything home made with a touch of love (that can never come when eating out) – egging us to do this or do that to ensure that guests simply feel WOW and want more! This has been the feature everyday of the 26 years that Aparna has embellished my life.

I am sure children wouldn’t disagree that life, without her constant but extremely caring and loving nagging, would never been the same. How much ever they are grown, they are still the 1-5 year olds in her eyes and thoughts. Without being overbearing, her care is simply overpowering. Same with her colleagues at work. I am yet to hear someone saying anything “not good” about this wonderful soul, who took up the huge challenge to live with me for 26 long years, bearing all my idiosyncracies (especially when it comes to food) and still working to continue this journey into eternity.

Then we have the extended family – Sindhu, Swathi, Iti, Asha, Meghana, Arun, Raghu, Yathin, Vidya, Giri, Binoy, Nagesh, Leela, Parinith, Rijina and this list goes on… who also bear the brunt of her love and care.

Sindhu, Vishnu, Aparna, Swati, Me, Iti and Divya On Ugadi Day
Vidya, Vishnu, Aparna, Me, Yathin, Giri and Divya On Ugadi Day

For those who want to know how it works! This journey comes with lots of ups and downs. My confession upfront! It is definitely she who goes more than half way to make it work. It is more “up” for her than me. It is more down for me than her. So all credits to her there! There are many things that we may not see eye to eye, that keeps cropping up again and again. We chose to work around those differences, accept those differences and lived with them. After a couple of years, we both gave up our attempts to change the other (though we haven’t stopped trying, we don’t insist that the other person changes to meet our expectations). This concept of marriage is what amazed our friends from Germany (Ulrich, Steffen, Tobias and many others) who worked in our office (Crompton Greaves Limited) as interns, during the initial years of our marriage. I had only one thing to tell them – In India, we don’t change our spouses – we change ourselves. Not so easy but we grow up seeing our parents making extreme degree of surrender of one’s compromisable principles, mindset and also beliefs to keep a marriage going and keep it blissful. I added, “We got to work to make it Work

A few months later in a contemplative mood, she asked how is it that our relationship of absolute opposite working – we only looked at each other, grinned and then picked up another argument to keep this relationship firing. It got to be a miracle. Did we believe in miracle? No! We don’t just believe, we rely on it (as Sri Sri spoke during one of His discourse). Our journey is a living example. And I would be claiming false credit if I say it is because of me. Thanks my Dear! For making all those philosophy work in our case.

Happy Anniversary, dearest Aparna. You are simply the best. As I wrote in one of the earlier pieces, “You Complete Me”

Loads and Loads of love!

Decided to gift ourselves a Pilgrimage Trip to Tirupati to express our gratitude to the Lord for this amazing present. Sharing some pictures of the journey so far

A friend whom we met exactly 2 months ago in same place
Lady of the Day!
Kanipakkam Vinayaka Temple
Kanipakkam Vinayaka Temple
Kanipakkam Vinayaka Temple
Kanipakkam Vinayaka Temple
Kanipakkam Vinayaka Temple
Our Meal 🙂

Srinivasa Mangapuram
Srinivasa Mangapuram
Kapaleshwara Temple, Tirupati

Signing of as always with a song chosen just for you