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By Sagar Sethi
How does remembering a home you can never go back to feel? Not because you ran away from it but because you were forced to. Passang, a Tibetan refugee currently putting up in Majnu ka Tila, says that “China has not only bitten your borders (India), it has eaten away our lives too.” She came to India when she was only eleven and even after so many years she still feels homesick.
In April 1959 the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the leader of Tibet, himself escaped from his home and reached Tezpur in Assam, India on 18 April 1959. The Buddhism that spread from India to Tibet returned to India as a religion in exile, forced from its homeland.
Much like in India, religion is the be all and end all for the people of Tibet. In fact every time Tibet is mentioned our minds jump to ‘Buddhism’ in a matter of seconds. But what was there before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th-8th centuries A.D in Tibet? Before their conversion into Buddhism the people of Tibet were mostly accustomed to barbaric traditions and customs. These barbarians painted their faces red with ochre or vermilion and that’s how they got the name “red faced men.”
Pre-Buddhist barbarianism gradually faded as the influence of Buddhism strengthened. These changes converted the red faced men into more peace loving and civilized people. Their purpose in life shifted to inner peace and wisdom. Interestingly, it was the influence of Buddhism that had made the Indian emperor Ashok the Great change his pro war strategy into a more philanthropic one.
Then why did the People’s Republic of China send an army of forty thousand to liberate the people of Tibet? The question really is liberate them from what – inner peace? Perhaps they feel no need for soft spoken Tibetan Buddhists in a World that can’t stop talking.
The people of Tibet, isolated off the Himalayas with an identity of their own, were robbed of their home just around the time when we Indians gained ours. Less than a week ago, ‘We the people of India’ celebrated sixty eight years of our unity in diversity. This was witnessed by many Tibetan refugees who still long for their independence, their freedom. Their struggle might not concern our status as an independent nation but Tibet does hope that our motto ‘unity in diversity’ turns into a global ethic.
Since the exodus of Tibetian Buddhists from their homes, a lot has been exchanged between Indians and them. We will discuss the character of this cultural symbiosis and the influence it had on Sino-Indian bilateral relations in the series that follow.
Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.
The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.
A complete work of Tamil epic written by hand on leaves Image source: wikimedia commons
The Sillapadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Illango Adigal, and Sattanar, uses the sequel to question Jainism. It is almost a political battle between two new religions competing for a place in a predominantly Hindu society. Parts of Manimegalai even go to the extent of opening ridiculing Jain practices and beliefs.
Critics of Tamil literature have stated that while the Tamil epics have great poetic significance, they are inferior to other world epics when it comes to clearly portraying religious affiliations. In fact, they refer to the newer religions with an infant's perspective. Some scholars have found that Sillapadikaram has more ethical substance than its sequel, but in and of itself, despite being written by a Jain monk, reads like Hindu poetry (Subhramanya Aiyar, 1906).
Keywords: Manimegalai, Sillapadikaram, Tamil Epic, Sattanar, Ilango Adigal, Chola kingdom, Sangam Age, Buddhism
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "With Covid-19 hurting India's 'Household' (HH) and 'Government' sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question."
"On the contrary, with listed companies' financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum." The report prescribed that various economic participants - households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates -- to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. | Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
At present, the listed and unlisted corporate sector accounts for only about half of total investments in India. The 'HH' sector including unincorporated enterprises accounts for 35-40 per cent in India's investments, while the remaining 12-13 per cent is contributed by centre and states governments. Besides, the report cited that demand environment is expected to remain subdued due to weak financial position of 'HH' and government sector.
"Despite household investments picking up strongly in 2HFY21, given that Indian households bore the maximum brunt of Covid-led losses in CY20 (and CY21), we believe household spending would remain subdued over the next few years." It further pointed out that unless 'HH', 'Unlisted Corporate', and government sectors can improve their financial positions -- leading to a demand uptick -- a strong revival in investments seems challenging. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, covid, pandemic, growth, household, government, investment
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that next time the Dragon spacecraft will have food warmer and free WiFi. Taking to Twitter, the crew of Inspiration4 shared a checklist of things they have been enjoying while orbiting safely around the Earth.
"Can't believe we're eating cold pizza in space. It's extraordinary!" Inspiration4 tweeted. In response, Musk apologised for the cold food, saying: "Sorry, it was cold! Dragon will have food warmer and free WiFi next time."
Inspiration4 Crew | Wikimedia Commons
After lifting off for space, SpaceX's Inspiration4, the first all-civilian crew, is healthy, happy and doing well in the orbit, the company said recently. The mission lifted off at 8.02 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday (5.30 am IST on Thursday) aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from the historic Launch Complex 39 in NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It is commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman who has been joined by medical officer Haley Arceneaux, a pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur and trained pilot. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Elon Musk, SpaceX, Inspiration4, Dragon, Wifi, food