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A true story of an insane, but sane person!

Click here to read in Gujarati
Sanity and insanity are such complicated states of mind which cannot be separated as water tight compartments from each other. In general, we may say that if anybody behaves in such a manner which is socially acceptable, he or she is considered to be sane. Here, we may raise an interesting issue as who would decide socially acceptable behaviors. We find a number of societies in the world and every society would have its own criteria of acceptable behaviors. One more question stands before us waiting for our answer as who would recognize sanity. Can we rely on insane people to define sanity as sane people define insanity? Obviously not! Psychologists have defined ‘sanity’ as soundness of mind that can make best judgments of the situations and authentic opinions about individuals and accordingly they re-act. Similarly, they have defined ‘insanity’ as extreme foolishness or follies of their actions.

My attempt here in this post is to bring a very interesting real story of a person who looked to be insane at the first sight. He not only looked so, but his behaviors, his talks, his life style and many more characteristics were abnormal. He argued in such a way that his words looked to us philosophical. His talks were always very brief, but concrete to convey what he meant to say profoundly. His life styles of particularly for his dress-code and food habits were untidy, dirty and creating disgust in our mind.

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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Article, લેખ, Human behavior

 

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Peeping into an Exemplary Social Life of a Local Chief

Days roll in months and years; and, years in decades. It was a hard day of September 06, 1980 for not only village of Kanodar but for the people vajirkaka11of distant areas who knew the Late with his popular name ‘Vajir-kaka’(kaka=uncle). About three decades have passed to demise of Honorable Mr. Vajirbhai Rajabhai Polra (Dawawala), but the deep wounds of his missing in the hearts of the people are not yet healed. I, the author of this post, have been in close contact with him and I have witnessed many more occasions of his life. I have somewhere written in my previous post that I had always been the friend of old hand people at my very young age and I was lucky enough that they all had, in reciprocate, accepted me as their nearest one in spite of much more age differences among us.

I am here with this post on V-kaka with my only aim to pass on the message of the Late’s missionary life to native young generation that has obviously born after 1980 and might not perhaps be knowing who ‘Vajirkaka’ was. When I am setting my finger tips in motion on keyboard of my computer to write something about V-kaka, it does not mean that nobody else has not contributed to build the image of this village of Kanodar and its community. Like V-kaka, they people have also done their great and their services cannot be evaluated accurately and justly even in number of volumes. Every human being is bound to live a double life. Let me clarify here that I have used the word ‘double’, not ‘dual’ in my statement. My learned Readers will easily understand that I am talking about human’s personal and social life. More a person cares for social life rather than personal one, more he or she advances towards greatness and becomes a local, national or global hero.. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Article, Character, Human behavior, Humanity

 

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Rays of hope in ways of humanity

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I was one of the founder trustees, the framer of Constitution and Chairman of the first Board of the local NGO – “The Guardian Trust, Kanodar”. I worked for first seven years in team spirit with my fellow trustees to achieve the goals of the Trust and now I am retired. Here, I am pleased to disclose one of the objects of the Trust which will be self explanatory to my Readers and particularly those NRIs and PRs of Kanodar residing elsewhere representing young generation to know about this village, its community, its culture and many other aspects of its heritage descending from the ancestors for the last half millennium since the foundation of this village by Kaano (Kanji) Patel whose name reflects in the word ‘KANODAR’.

The text of the above referred object of the Trust is as follows:

”The Mo’mineen (Muslims) of Kanodar have spread all over the world with their own identity that they live with love with others, accept others with their differences and make their contributions in their social lives wherever they live. This Trust will encourage the individuals and various organizations of this peculiar community to continue to set an example to other communities to respect everybody’s dignity and rights and to carry out social responsibilities for the common good of people.”

To build up integrity and reputation of the village, many honorable personalities have contributed in past; and present leadership also is on the same track walking on the footprints of the former devoted Chiefs. This Article is aimed to remind the new generation the culture and traditions of the community, inspire them to preserve the image of this village intact with good behavior and pass on the same heritage to the next generation by providing the live examples to them. During my life span of almost seven decades, I have been the witness of the hundreds of those local heroes who have devoted their most of time to uplift the village to higher summits of its fame. Due to my limitation to the size of the Article, I am unable to highlight the services of all those ever shining stars in detail.

But, I would like to bring out in knowledge some opinions of other people about this village of Kanodar in order to mention in general its integrity, peace and prosperity. Most of the people may be familiar with the name of Swami Sachchidanand. He is a Karmyogi Saint of Gujarat engaged in social, literary and spiritual activities. Some years past, he was invited to the opening ceremony of the local High School for its starting of Science stream. Swamiji had never visited this village but while on his way from Petlad to Kanodar, he was given some briefs and feedbacks about the village. Endowed with sharp intellect, spirituality and own intuition, he knew everything about the village and its people as if he had visited the village previously and lived here. While delivering his speech he said, “If the Lahore Conference for the discussion of partition of India would have been organized at Kanodar, India would have remained united.” These words are the best compliments to the village and at the same time making conscious to the natives of Kanodar to remain firm and deserving for the preservation of conception of integrity of not only our village, bur wherever we live. Generally, Swamiji was being honored with donation to his Ashram wherever he was invited, but here he donated Rs.25,000/- to the High School from the funds of his own Trust.

If we go to some past, the memories of Dr. H. L.Purohit, a Maharashtriyan Brahmin and Dwarkagiri Maharaj, a gymnastic practicing Saint (અખાડા સાધુ) from U.P. (India) will surely revive into our minds. Dr. Purohit as a Physician rendered his services to the local Hospital for about 33 years and Dwatkagiri Maharaj as a worshipper of the local Temple of Shiva; but mainly with his social services, had devoted his whole life for the welfare of the village. Both these personalities had so high opinions as well as feelings for this village that they wished to have their last breaths here and get their funeral services in the earth of this village. Dr. Purohit was not fortunate in this regard as his offspring called him at his native place Baroda after retirement, but Bapji breathed his last here and was buried in the position of Samadhi in the premises of the temple. They both, having their Hindu creed, told emotionally in public that if the God gave them rebirth in any form, they would prefer to be here not only once but again and again. These words are the great rewards to the local Muslim community and also strong enough to bring tears of gratitude into our eyes.

There is no room for remembering the specific contributions of numerous Muslims (both male and female) here in this precise Article; but in general, I may say that they people remained rays of hope in ways of humanity. They people laid a firm foundation of Secularism and Unity in the village. It is a fitting time to recall all these memories in the prevailing situation everywhere in world when violence in various forms has risen high and universal peace is thrown in danger.

As mentioned in my earlier Article “A full circle swallowed 22 years”, the new generation of the village has spread over all continents of the world to meet with their financial needs. We should thank God that He has been kind and merciful to lead the world think broadly for globalization and liberalization and thus windows of settling abroad have opened. As a result, hundreds of youths with their spouse and offspring have migrated elsewhere in the world. This old man (me) thinks by heart that all these youngsters are the representatives of our secular village of Kanodar, Gandhiji’s Gujarat and our great country, India to spread the mission of Universal brotherhood and peace.

I would just remind, to all NRIs and PRs residing elsewhere in world who are natives of Kanodar and in wider sense to say any human wherever it lives, the story of migration of Zoroastrians (Parsis) during 18th century from Iran to harbor of Sanjaanaa in Gujarat (India). They had assured the ruler of Gujarat then that they will mix up with local people as sugar mixes in milk. My brothers and sisters, we know the exemplary role played by these Parsis such as Jamshedji Tata, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, and Homi Jehangir Bhabha in the progress of India. You have to awaken and mobilize the people with whom you happen to come in contact as a neighbor, a co-worker, a businessman or in any other status with mission of secular ideology, feelings of mutual co-operation and motto of ‘Live and Let Live” of ‘Sarvoadaya-ism’ founded by Vinoba Bhave and Jay Prakash Narayana.

While nearing to sum up my Article, I’ll quote somebody’s experience from unknown source in the words as “When I was running in the pouring rain, without an umbrella, wearing a spiffy suit, on my way to a meeting, a kind lady (a stranger) offered me her umbrella, gave me her address, and trusted I would return it when the rain died down.” This is a very little weighing episode, but a heavy and hidden sense lies therein. Here is the importance of mutual trust, not the cost of umbrella. One should take such affordable risks to be helpful to others to make the foundation of trust with human to human strong and I am sure it will not go in vain.

Summing up, we should remember that hate can never be ceased by hate. Let us renew and spread our hope in humanity. If we are going to err, let us err on the positive side of compassion, generosity and tolerance.

Friends, it is time to close now. Bye,

– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.:
August 6, 2008

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2008 in Article, લેખ, Humanity, MB

 

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Once upon a time …

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“Once upon a time, there was a king … a princess … a fairy!” These have remained the introductory lines of the Old Wives’ Tales for children for centuries. But, here is the story of our village – Kanodar, in light of its decades past and centuries old handloom cloth weaving industry. At present also, whenever and wherever our village is introduced, the starting lines, generally, are used as “Once upon a time, Kanodar was Manchester of District of Banaskantha (
Gujarat), India.”

While surfing on I-net, I chanced to find an English poem “Indian weavers” written by Sarojini Naidu who was a well-known figure of her times as the great poetess and was honored also with the title of “The Nightingale of India”. Subsequently while reading the poem, I recalled the memories of those days of Kanodar which I had witnessed since my childhood. Sarojini Naidu had remained the President of Indian National Congress and perhaps she might have visited Kanodar or heard of it while paying her visits to Gujarat, a chief H.Q. of Congress. This is my hypothesis with the instable base that her narration in that poem resembles to the routine lives of the weavers of Kanodar. At the same time, I may be wrong also as the poets create their works by observing living lives of humans and there might have some co-incident in this regard.

First of all, let me give you a quick extract of the above poem just to enter my today’s subject. In the beginning, the poetess asks weavers what they were weaving so gaily at break of day. The reply was as “The robes of a new born child.” Secondly, she asks them, while they were working at fall of night, the same question and their reply was that they were weaving the marriage veils of a queen. Thirdly and lastly, when they were weaving solemnly and quietly something white like a feather or a cloud in the moonlight, she asks what they were weaving. And, there we hear a heart touching reply as “We weave a dead man’s funeral shroud (કફન)!”

Above poem has inspired me to write this Article with a prime motive that the present generation of the natives of Kanodar should know how our forefathers had survived themselves with this industry for about four centuries. Now, let me go further to my aim of this Article very briefly.

Handloom cloth weaving, being a cottage industry, had no any fixed working hours. As in above poem, these poor fellows had to work on their looms from early morning to late at night. My Readers and specially those who have settled abroad will mark the underlined words above and understand that their drudgery of hard labor was not as a part of their greed of earning more, but as a compulsion for their needs to survive against a very poor margin of profit or insufficient wages in this industry they earned.

I have some figures in my mind that during the years of the 1960’s, there were 1200 Handlooms and 100 Power looms in the village. Irrespective of communities, all were engaged with this profession. Some were the Master weavers, but most of them were self employed weavers. They manufactured mainly Malmal/Muslin (Plain gray cloth) and Saris (garments worn by women). The Saris were so cheap that a very poor woman also could afford to purchase it. My Readers won’t believe, but it is the fact that its cost per Sari (Length 5 Yards and width 48”) was INR 2.50 only at that time. The dyeing of yarn for Saris was being done with direct colors and having woven in checkered designs with double boarders (કિનાર) and ends (પાલવ), their landing costs were very low.

Malmal (Muslin) was mainly sold as gray (raw) material to the neighboring State of Rajasthan for dyeing of colorful headdresses (turbans) and print Saris. Before 1947, the present Pakistan was the part of India and there were no enough Textile Mills in the areas of Sindh and other provinces. Kanodari Malmal was in prime demand there and our local Handloom Cloth merchants sometimes occupied small Cargo Flights to forward their goods for quick delivery.

Now, let us have some primary knowledge of this inherited technology of weaving. In simple words it can be said that this process was consisted of interweaving one set of threads of yarn, the warp (તાણો) with another, the weft (વાણો). The warp threads were stretched lengthwise (vertical) on the loom. The weft, the cross threads, were woven into the warp to make the cloth. Out of total four centuries, the first three centuries had passed under very poor technology which was laborious and having very little capacity of production also. During those days, the weaving process was being carried out by knocking the shuttle (નળો) very slowly from one hand to another. Lately, the new system of flying shuttle came into practice which magically increased the weaving speed. There were two shuttle boxes (નળાનીપેટીઓ) on both the sides of the loom and weaver could knock the shuttle back and forth with connected cords using one hand easily. With this new system, a weaver could weave 20 yards of Malmal within 7 to 8 hours. Through my net surfing, I have found out that the shuttle box and flying shuttle system was invented in 1733 by John Kay of Lancashire in North West of England.

Before summing up my Article, I want to take all my Readers to millenniums past to know how the human kind had learnt the art of weaving. Soon after my graduation while facing an interview for the post of a Gujarati News Reader on Radio at Rajkot, I was asked to give an extempore Radio Talk of 5 minutes on Textile Industry. It was my innocent style to bring the interviewer to my favorite subject. When that officer asked me first where I was coming from and there was my reply as ‘from Kanodar, Manchester of Banaskantha district’. It is obvious that the officer had to come to that topic to interview me further.

Now, enjoy some points of the said Radio Talk for having benefit of acquiring some general knowledge in this regard. I exactly remember those points even today and they were as (1) Our primitive man remained naked in jungles like animals and birds. (2) Like other inventions, the human kind had learnt the art of weaving from nature. (3) They might have observed the nests of weaver-birds (સુગરી) knitted with straws of hay or interwoven creepers of climbing plants and branches of trees, etcetera.

Lastly to say, I am proud of being a weaver’s son with the fact that my father had manufactured some specialty Saris which had been sold to the merchants of Ahmedabad for 40 years and we also had continued the same for further more 20 years. This industry has been proved as a boon to our family like other weaver-fellows of our village. In my first page ‘About me’ on this blog, I have already mentioned that our Four Century Old Handloom Cloth Weaving business is like a dream now a days. What it may be, but I expect from my Kanodari Readers that they should also be proud of saying as “We are the sons and daughters of those weavers who have provided a very cheap clothing to the poor for centuries remaining poor themselves. Today what we are is nothing else, but the harvest of their honest, toilsome and poor lives.”

With very sincere and warm regards,

– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: April 12, 2008

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2008 in Article, લેખ, MB

 

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Honesty

Click here to read in Gujarati
Chanakya has quoted, “A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.” My Readers will be surprised to read this quotation, in the beginning of my essay, somewhat contradictory to the title. But, we have to mark the word ‘too’ and it will be clear that Chanakya has not denied the virtue of honesty completely; but, in a profound sense, the honest people have been  counseled and warned to be prepared with the adverse outcomes after showing excessive honesty. Honesty cannot be measured in length, weight or volume. In other words, it cannot be defined under term of any counting and therefore the question does not arise that the honesty should be in this proportion or that proportion. Thus, the word ‘too’ becomes null and void here and honesty remains in the same position as the very important factor of man’s character building.

There are many duals opposite to each other in human life that cannot live together.  In early times, it was said, “Laxmi (goddess of wealth) and Sarswati (goddess of education) cannot live together”. Same way, ‘greed’ and ‘honesty’ are opposites of each other. A greedy man cannot observe the virtue of honesty and an honest man is always far away from greed.  I would quote Mahatma Gandhi here in reference to the word ‘greed’ only as his quotation is not wholly appropriate here. The quotation is – “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” Honest people are always full of satisfaction with what they have and that is why they never come in temptation of any gain for which they have no any lawful right.

William Shakespeare’s dialogue in a play is like this, “Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.” These are the literary quotes and they can be understood in reference to the character’s situation. But, naturally honest people  show their honesty always,  not occasionally. Here below, I would like to mention an honest man. His honesty cannot be valued in money because the amount was in Indian old coins of 2 Annas (presently 12 paise) i.e. INR 0.12. Now, go further to the real story of the Late Nurakaka, the native of Kanodar, a very simple old man of 70, wearing Dhoti (Under waist garment), full sleeved shirt and headdress (turban) made of Handloom Cloth. The year of the episode was 1952 or 1953.

On that particular day, a friend of mine was to travel in the same train from Palanpur to Umardeshi (A flag Rly. Station, 1.75 mile far from Kanodar). Nurakaka asked my friend to buy two tickets for him on his behalf. My friend did so. When the train started, my friend asked him for the other person for whom the ticket was purchased. Nurakaka smiled and said that both the tickets were for him. He explained that while traveling from Umardeshi to Palanpur in the morning, he was late to buy the ticket as the train had already arrived. By reciting the name of Allah, he had traveled without ticket. He further said that it was the grace of the Almighty Allah that he was not caught by the Ticket Checker. He simply said, “Why should we be dishonest to the Raaj (Government)? After all the Railway is ours and it is for us.” What a noble thinking!

My Readers can be witness of the self inspired discipline and honesty of Nurakaka here. Moreover, Nurakaka’s honesty was natural otherwise he would have ignored such a negligible thing and that also when he had successfully completed his journey without ticket. Such are the occasions happening in our routine life also, but  we don’t give any serious thoughts over them.

One more illustration of my own experience is here. I had been to a Bank to encash a bearer cheque valued INR 800 lying idle in my firm’s A/c. The cashier took a bundle of hundred rupee notes. He counted a score and handed me over 80 notes of INR 100. I was watching through the window that he was mistaking. I picked those 80 notes in my hand, counted 8 and I placed the rest 72 notes on his table slightly. This happened like lightening. The poor fellow stood up from his chair and he was so much astonished that he could not speak anything, but his face was telling me too much which I heard lately from him on phone when I returned to my office. In a crying voice, he thanked me and told that the sum of INR 7200 was a great thing for him. In those days co-operative bank employees were paid very little. He further said that his family would have to pass three months like in a starving state or he would have to borrow money on interest.

Above illustrations are related to money matters, but the honesty has some ethical values also. An essayist in Gujarati gives an example of a shoe-maker. While assorting some waste pieces of leather, he picks up one to make the shoes of a child. But, at the very next moment, he throws it away and picks up the soft one. This interchange of the pieces of leather is the result of his honest thinking that he is going to make the shoes of a child; not any particular child, but a human child. He instantly listens to the voice of his inner soul that the shoes to be made from the hard leather are surely to irritate the child’s feet. Here, we can find a simple but very practical and ethical form of honesty. Such people are noble and perhaps the God delays to destruct the earth with some disasters as said in some religions in honor of such people.  Somebody has rightly said that an honest man is the noblest work of God.

Summing up, I cannot restrict myself in quoting Chanakya once again. He said, “God is not in idols. Your feelings are your God and the soul is your temple.” The words ‘Honesty’ and ‘Truth’ are synonymous according to some Philosophers; but, in view of many others, ‘Honesty’ is the practical stage of ‘Truth’. They argue that ‘Truth’ is first established and then stored in mind, but the honesty is the expression of ‘Truth’ resulting in action. In brief, it can be said that ‘Truth’ is the theory and ‘Honesty’ is the practical. Brigham Young says the same thing in these words, “Honest hearts produce honest actions.” The honest person is praised everywhere. He gets honor in the world. The honest man thinks honestly, speaks honestly and works honestly. Some dishonest people wear the face of honesty just to cheat others, but they do not know that they are cheating themselves. They do not hold any honor in the eyes of the people and God also. Socrates has quoted, “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”

That’s all, my friends. See you again,

With best regards,

– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. 7th August, 2007

Note:- My Gujarati Readers may read Gujarati version of this Article on Vijaybhai Shah’s Blog.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2007 in લેખ, Character, MB

 

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