n the midst of effervescent activity of major projects taking shape, International Yoga Day preparations and teacher training in progress, I had to travel as there was a commitment to be at Jodhpur for the Head Injury Foundation. This foundation came into existence as a consequence of calamity that struck Maharaja Gaj Singh II and his family in the form of a serious head injury to their 30 year old son in a polo accident ten years ago. A classic example of how a tragedy can be transformed into a great cause.
Mehrangarh fort is an astounding fort complex and the event truly impressive and classy. Isha will be collaborating to create and offer an event in February 2016 at their other fort at Nagore – look out!
On the way to Jodhpur in Rajasthan, I made a small detour of 3000 km to Guwahati in Assam to address Indian Forest Service officers of North Eastern Region of India. Twenty five percent of India’s forest cover is in this region, rich in biodiversity and wild life. Has an incredibly rich variety of ethnic and tribal cultures. This region is unique and extremely well preserved cultural wealth.
This region instead of going the usual mining and industrial exploit, best if it is developed as nature and culture tourist destination. If world class infrastructure is built for this purpose this region can be developed without destroying the wealth of nature’s bounty and cultural uniqueness.
Now in Delhi for a number of meetings, I came to know of the centennial celebration of Indian participation in World War I. Over a million strong army of Indian troops were taken by the British to various battle fronts across Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and Northern Africa. Indian Political leaders encouraged participation thinking it will achieve their political goals. Seventy four thousand died, nearly hundred thousand with grievous injuries and many went missing. These brave soldiers fought in unfamiliar terrain and weaponry, spent winter months in summer clothing. Lives and limbs lost but the nation is largely unaware of their sacrifice and their families who must have suffered immensely for a salary of Rs. 15/ a month. As if this was not enough, once again nearly two million strong Indian army was forced to participate in World War II which claimed nearly a million and a half lives. Fighting not against the oppressors of that day but fighting alongside.
So much for political wisdom and so much for non-violent way of claiming freedom for the nation. It is with a very heavy heart that I write that we have been ‘Taken’ too many times. It is time that India lives strong and wise.