Books about Gandhi

I wrote to a former student of mine who is on the way to India and wanted books on Gandhi.  Off the cuff, I thought of these books that I have read.  Including one on Tagore.  The great bapuji and the sentinel were inextricably linked in India’s fight for independence.

1. His autobiography – this is free on the internet.http://d3vilsheaven.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/My-experiments-with-truth.pdf

2. A very comprehensive story about Gandhi and his political and spiritual life. http://www.amazon.com/Life-Mahatma-Gandhi-Louis-Fischer/dp/0006388876

3. The salt march was one of the most important event he organized that really got the colonialists shaking. England had a tax on salt and no one in India could make salt. So Gandhi organized a long walk to Dandi and took a handful of salt in his hand in his civil disobedience towards the British Empire http://www.amazon.com/On-Salt-March-Historiography-Gandhis/dp/8172232632/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330746006&sr=1-1

4. Once you start reading about Gandhi, you might also want to read Rabindranath Tagore. He was Asia’s first nobel laureate
http://www.amazon.com/Rabindranath-Tagore-An-Anthology/dp/031220079X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330746246&sr=1-1

Finally, I think you might want to buy these books when you are in India. Books in India are damn cheap… sometimes paper quality might be bad but you will find the bookshops have a better range that in Singapore.

Advertisements

Avaaz – Save the saddest dolpins

Now the campaign to save the dolphins has gone global and by reputable group Avaaz at Save the saddest dolphin online petition. What a nice phenomenon and finally I feel the dolphins might have a chance of being free and perhaps we have a chance to redeem ourselves here in Singapore. I really admire the efforts by ACRES in their “Save the Saddest Dolphins” campaign.

What was RWS thinking? Anway, how can they use excuse that the dolphins can be used for “Interactive SPA” to heal the sick and disabled children. (I have no doubt dolphins make anyone feel better but it would be so wrong if the dolphins are captive). If RWS is really sincere about this, they should donate their earnings to hospitals, hospices and other organizations who are in a better position than an integrated resort whose main expertise is food, entertainment – namely gambling, to do these things.

If you want to know how many people are signing up go look at the window on the “recent signers highlighted in the screen capture below at their website for

Post-marathon reflections – running for the captive dolpins.

I ran the Sundown full marathon on saturday evening at 10pm. Prior to that Otterman called me to wish me good luck and we started to talk about the dolphins that were being held captive and at some point would be brought to Resorts World Singapore for human entertainment. I immediately thought that I should then dedicate the run to the captive dolphins at least to put it on facebook to tell my friends and help raise awareness. And so I did, and posted on facebook that each km goes in against keeping the dolphins captive.

So when I started the race, it was really a different deal from the normal races I do where I basically go with the flow. My thoughts were of the dolphins and trust me, 42 km is a lot of time and distance to think about it. I ran with a running kaki and for the first 10 km we were chatting and telling each other how stupid we were not to train yet again.

By the 21 km mark I was alone and made the u-turn along the PCN at East Coast Parkway. I was alone with my thoughts and my pace was good, dedicating each km to the dolphins made the run a purposeful one. And as I ran close to the beach, I imagined dolphins porpoising (alternately rising above the water and submerging) freely in the sea nearby. I kept my pace and was in for a sub-6 hour timing; I had everything covered – gobbled enough power gels to keep glycogen stores up and checked my heart rate and running pace. My previous marathon was done in 6hrs 55 mins, not very good by any standards.

Then it happened yet again at the 35km, the “Wall”. I had stopped at a hydration station and took in two cups of 100-plus and wiping my face with a dry towel I had kept in a ziploc. After wiping my face, I felt instantly dizzy and had that bitter taste in my mouth. Very.. bad.. feeling. I struggled to even to stand up and walk so I laid down on the road for 10 mins. There were nice runners who saw me in trouble and ask: “Bro, you ok?”

At the 39km mark, I was barely making it, constantly spitting out the bitter taste developing in my mouth and walking very wearily. All thoughts of dolphins now disappeared and I thought how terrible for me not to finish a race I had dedicated to them. Even the thoughts of the dolpins couldn’t keep me going.

What kept me going and not fainting were thoughts of my little kids running beside me, laughing and skipping as they always do and me walking alongside my wife – as we do when we walk in the park. I had to visualise that to keep myself from giving up and that mental picture and the sounds of my kids laughter kept me going. Such is the strength of family ties, what we treasure most, our closest and dearest. It keeps us going no matter what. I finished the marathon in 6 hrs 15 mins, shaving off 40 mins from my previous timing.

What goes through a dolpin’s head when it is separated from its closest? I know as a biologist, that dolphins are highly social. If our family ties give us so much, then won’t it be the same for social and intelligent creatures? Especially sentient and highly intelligent ones like dolphins?

What bothers me about the RWS issue is that in the past we were battling ignorance of what people knew about dolpins. These days in a highly educated society like ours, what is it that we are battling to free the dolpins?

From now on, I am dedicating all the mileage I clock for the release of the dolphins and in support of the campaign by ACRES called the World’s Saddest Dolphins

We could have done better

I am in a funny melancholic and reflective mood today… in a good way. After the ride this morning, I went for a friend’s father’s wake. All throughout the time there, I couldn’t help but think of my own parents and how I should do more for them. Then I read in the news papers about Dying well which brought me to Shin Na’s blog. Jen and I had watched a documentary about her life called “In the face of death” and teared along with the family.

Then I read the post by Deadpoet’s Cave “Goodbye Angsana ” and felt this sense that we could do better. Better for our family, creatures that are alive and well now. Jen pointed out to me this article in Shape July 08, pg 38, “The simpler life” A city clicker finds contentment where she’d least expected”. There’s a quote there ” Because whether we’re being counted successful or mediocre, we’re all headed six-feet under and I think I’d rather have a smile like Khushi’s as I make the journey there.” Khushi is the kid who was rescued by nuns, left for dead by the roadside.

So, I reflect on the moment I saw the squirrel, it was a mere 2 seconds that I had glanced at it and the image is fresh in my head still, the tail twitching and the paws to its mouth. That’s life, we need to be in the moment and appreciate this existence; its much shorter than the eternity we are going to.

The Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi

I finished this book about a week ago. One of the nicest literature written by the great Bapu. I guess its because his life revolved around it or should I say the teachings of the Gita revolved around his life. I have read lots of things written by him and true to his writing style, you almost feel that he is talking directly to you and that you are sitting there somewhere in his Ashram as he weaves his homespun, the whirring of the spinning wheel the paper onto which his voice is woven.

The following words by the Great Soul in the last few pages sums up part of the important teachings of the Gita.

“The central teaching of the Gita is detachment – abandonment of the fruit of action. And there would be no room for this abandonment if one were to prefer another’s duty to one’s own. Therefore one’s own duty is said to be better than another’s. It is the spirit in which duty is done that matters, and its unattached performance is its own reward.”

An uplifting song

I used to have a Praise and Worship band and we played together for about 2-3 years together. It was very much a part of Jen and my life as youth. Those were very exciting and engaging times with the youth groups in the church and we’d be called to play gigs for quite a few events. This video captures the feel of those P&W sessions really nicely.