Happiness…All the Way by Atul Seghal, Published by Pustak Mahal, Pp-159, Rs 150.00, Pustakmahal Publishers, J3/16 (Opp. Happy School), Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110 002
We are living in an era of apparently great scientific progress as we can see all kinds of technological applications making our life more comfortable. As a result, material progress has come, but its fruits do not seem to be equitably distributed amongst all. In a way, progress has brought us prosperity alongside poverty, order along with chaos and peace with war all over the world. Hence, despite all the materialistic facilities, mankind has not been able to find the elusive happiness, in quest of which he has been striving since the dawn of human history. Great adventures have been undertaken, battles fought, business ventures launched, spiritual penance performed and crimes committed, simply for the attainment of peace and happiness, which seem to be nowhere within reach.
A reading of this self-help book, written by an author, who is an Arya Samaji and keen proponent of the Vedic ideology, shows how real peace and happiness can be achieved while keeping apace with scientific and technological advancements. The author expresses his sorrow at the tendency among many literate and educated people who believe that science is the panacea to all the ills that afflict mankind, little realising that it is not so. Despite the improved state of life, people suffer, maybe from depression due to failures or setbacks in life. For instance, you may decide to set up an ambitious target, employ your resources and work hard at a project but you discover one day that success eludes you. As a result, you are unable to withstand failure and fall into a state of mental depression.
Now science tells us a lot about the human body and its physical ailments, but it has not been able to fathom the mental and spiritual phenomena that are at work in man. Fortunately, says the author, knowledge pertaining to “the mind and the spirit is available in the divine, primordial scriptures – the Vedas and the Upanishads.” But the irony is that despite the fund of knowledge available in our ancient scriptures, we tend to forget the divine law of karma, as enunciated in the Bhagavad Gita. This law “extols that as you sow, so shall you reap. Every action has equal but opposite reaction,” says the author, who firmly believes that if you do your work conscientiously, you are bound to get your reward sooner or later. He affirms, “Rest assured that reward will accrue to you for your efforts and shall be commensurate with the efforts.” Once you focus your energies on the tasks on hand and on proper accomplishment of the same, your attachment with reward or obsession with results shall automatically diminish.
Every human being has limited mental ability and knowledge, hence limited faculties for undertaking and analysing. Because of this, man-made rules, codes and systems can never be foolproof. They need to be consistently refined and modified. Here the need arises for adopting ordained systems as stipulated in the Vedas and the Manusmriti.
The author is of the view that peace and happiness in the early civilisation “was a result of adherence to Vedic code of law in human society,” but today it is not so. What is required is that “individual human happiness and systems have to be rational, scientific and above all, based on the Vedas and Manusmriti, which contain the desired code for human existence, to be useful in the true sense.”
The author concludes that each one of us should endeavour to grasp true knowledge and train our mind to work in the direction of progress which is conducive to universal welfare more than the success and happiness of one’s own self.
(The reviewer is former editor National Book Trust)
Media and mitigating terrorism
Aatankwad Aur Media by Dr Anjani Kumar Jha,Rs 400, Pp 192 Alekh Prakashan, B-8, Naveen Shadara, Delhi-110 032
Subodh Kumar Sharma
The two most powerful words that have changed our perception of the world. One stands for the ghastly mayhem that it causes in the name of religion, caste, creed, language, state, country and reform where nothing is spared. On the other hand the other is the interface between those demons and the society. Supposedly, straight-forward and concerned about the safety, ethical and moral values of the society. A socio-watch.
Have you ever wondered about the photographs and interviews of the most elusive anti-social elements that have often appeared in both, the print and electronic media? The very able and competitive forces, be they the police or the army or other intelligence agencies could never apprehend them.
Yet, the photographs of terrorists, their training camps, of internationally banned terror organisations, their commandos, their chiefs, that figure in the list of the most wanted the world over, of armed naxals and so on, have repeatedly made their appearances in the media and thus, reached the masses. The ideologues of such terrorist outfits have given lengthy interviews, issued threats, and fatwas with scant respect to the law and order agencies. The media gave them precious air-time and space in their newspapers as well as magazines.
Well, this always nagged me. If the media personnel were able to reach the hard to pin down scourge of the society, why was it that the law and order agencies were unable to apprehend them and bring them to justice?
So many names rush to the mind. Let us take the example of the mysterious ways of Veerappan of Tamil Nadu in our country. Does it ring a bell? The police forces of three states, combined together, could not get him for decades. How? Why?
This book does not only dwell on these aspects; but explains in detail the way the terrorist outfits throughout the world have come to use the media to further their crazy, inhuman and horrifying causes.
For decades, we have been crying hoarse and calling the attention of the world’s leading nations to acknowledge the existence of cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. No one paid heed and instead, America doled out largesse to the rogue state only to safeguard its own interest.
Was not Osama Bin Laden the darling of the Americans? It was only when Islamic terrorism turned into a Bhasmasura and began to destroy its very creator that the world woke-up to the stark reality of “Terrorism”. The very Pakistan that was bailed out by America time and again was where the dreaded terrorist was holed out.
A renowned name in the Hindi journalism, Dr. Anjani Kumar Jha has over 500 articles, reports and features to his credit. He has been active in the field for the past two decades and held major responsibilities with papers like Dainik Jagaran, Rashtriya Sahara, Dainik Bhaskar and Navabharat. He is also a recipient of Sahitya Academy Award from Madhyapradesh, besides being honoured with prestigious fellowships.
The author minces no words when he states that the United States of America and European countries are responsible for the growth of this demonic monster which like the Greek mythological Hydra, has grown so many heads that it has now become well nigh impossible to destroy it completely.
At the same time, he does not spare the people from his fraternity for the way they handle news dealing with terrorist and terrorism. The media has always highlighted the terrorist activities with an air of fascination; giving the terrorist an image of a hero or a valorous person. Sensationalising such acts only adds to the popularity of these evil forces. Is not the story of Kasab, his trial, his biryani still fresh in our memory?
His observations based on documented proof about the media’s role in inadvertently or intentionally sensationalising the terrorist activities; the stand taken by them in endorsing or opposing the establishment of forces to fight terrorism and their empowerment. The various laws that were enacted in this regard and were either opposed or approved vehemently by the media; make a absorbing yet disturbing reading.
The book is spread over 4 chapters. 1. Living in dread, the first chapter is aptly titled. 2. One act of violence and a thousand spasms. 3. Media’s point of view. 4. Challenges and risks.
The remedial steps espoused by the author are really worthwhile. It clearly shows the way the media can play a positive role in containing the menace called terrorism. In fact, this book could very well prove to be the manual for all media persons to report, edit telecast, air or print news in an unbiased manner with the nation’s interest as the top most priority.
(The reviewer is Consultant, Content Generation and Translation, Sanskrit Promotion Foundation, New Delhi)