Mantra, Mantri, and Gotra

Just as well, that vocabulary from ancient Sanskrit scripts has found an appropriate place in today’s management interactions, whether that be formal, or lay jargon. Language is ever in search for a more appropriate word, as you have from Latin, Greek, French. Coming to some more from Sanskrit, the word “Guru” is more commensurate with today’s management, than “Boss”, more suited to the underworld dons. Thanks to the interaction over years of bright Indian students in Ivy League universities, you have the word “Pandit”, “Boston Brahmins” for the laureate league amongst the professors. The word “Ustad” (the all-knowing coach), may replace the music teacher, as Indian Classical Music is a one-to one relationship between the teacher and the student. One of the four Vedas, “Samaveda” is devoted entirely to music. It brings in discipline, other hints as to modulate the voice and voice exercises based on the notes of the octave.

The context comes in the wake of raging elections in four states in the world’s largest democracy. Visits to temples have increased, other Holy places, or places neutral to all religions that grant your wishes. Chanting verses (Mantras, we’’ll come to that) opposing others’ verses, or to show how your the roots are the same, the trunks leaned either away due to political weather, bur were kept supple, knowing that winds can blow either way in a micro environment, escaping predictions from the Met Office.

Whether this is being done to attract celestial powers, for internal urge before the final Giver for success, does not matter. It is better than money, muscle, and violence. Now that it is considered an essential practice for extra powers to strengthen one’s standing, or ability to influence the masses, the “Mantra” is derived from the word “man” (to think). Almost every religion has these words, syllables, phenomes. You find them in Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Christianity, Japanese Shingon, Sufism, and certain Islamic verses to ward off evil, and wish welfare. The Jews, often suggest recitation or meditation parts of “Torah”, “Nigun of three parts”, for initiators.

The mammoth phenomenon we are seeing is its widespread use for preparedness in an election, considering the largest democracy, and the oldest scriptures and writings in history. Sure, various pandits must be on the job, digging up mantras from un-attended mass of writings, trying to get the best fit for a particular situation. At the same, one would like to know if similar Mantras are invoked in other countries. If not, this might be trend setting. Today being Easter, many would rightly find solace in the teachings of Christ, and prayers in Vatican under the sight of the Pope, by presence, or online. “Forgive them O Lord……” in spirit and action would be a Mantra, though there may be Latin substitutes for it.

The qualitative aspect is that the chanting activities are predominantly practiced by the politicians, or to be Mantris (ministers), as against the masses they have promised to uplift. The religious leanings, faith of the politicians not being denied, their fight to the chair for overall good of the people of India, accepted, such a public display or devotion was never seen before. Wait for more concealed practices to surface, as this month of April marked with hectic political practices, moves on.

The Aadhar card appears somewhat incomplete. First the addition of “other” in the sex column (after SC ruling). Now there is a re-classification, beyond the “caste and communal factor” that was a bane. We now have a dust storm to extricate information to be put in the column “Gotra”. I just contacted a political publicity office, who, politely over a cup of tea, judging my political tendencies (not that I was not aware), gave me my “Gotra”. Thankfully it is a good and an auspicious one. I was given the names of other greats who belong to the same Gotra. Mine is the same as the respected, Behan Mayawati. So, if need be, future political prospects are promising.

Quite rattled about being an ignoramus, on the dangers of fumbling when asked at the airport security about my “Gotra”. Can’t deny the contribution of political heat in giving me another attribute to my profile. Unlike the caste system, which is decided by birth in a family (“Jaat”, Jayatey”, meaning being born). Gotra refers to the concept of being of the lineage of one of the eight primordial seers. There is no high or low in the Gotra system, except “Kulin” (of high family) in Bengal. It is social classification of the intellectual Bengal Kayasthas.( other popular names being, Bose, Mitra, Datta…..)

With so many “Rajesh Kumars” in the North, and “Murthys” in the South, one may add “Gotra” to strengthen one’s identity.

Finally, the Gotra system may be used to bring down caste divisiveness, up lifting a few more.

All this tit for tat aside, the real issue is of development, economy and jobs. No direct source, but the rising prices of gas, showed that revenues needed an instant gush. That was painful, but necessary, as the excise is shared between the Centre and States, and development has to go on. The equation as I see it, is to reach a basic level of development, connectivity, that would stimulate small level production, and micro-economy. That finally would warm up the financial engines. But we are still faced with precarious resources, revenue gaps. The repair job needs to double up. This may be time bound, in case India takes instant loans, with shorter pay-back times, and heavier interests The recent reversal of an order that lowered fixed deposit bank loans, even pension interest, did show some financial desperation. On Easter, one may call it the Biblical “Passover” state. Let it Passover with patience and internal peace.

On the other hand, political parties may desist from much acrimony, because beside hate, community divide, it leaves no time to sell the development agenda.

Personal biases are the essence of democracy. On the other hand, it is of benefit to have a strong centre, no matter what be the faults, less than fulfilled promises, as seen by the people. Whoever takes the chair by turns, shall have a developed base to move forward

A hint for lowering electoral barriers. Announce Celebrations for Worker’s Day, on May Day. Wish for good news on May 2!

“Kafas udaas hai yaaron, saba sey kuch to kaho,
Kahin to beher-e-khuda, aaj zikr-e-yaar chaley” Faiz

(The jail is gloomy, let someone tell the morning breeze,
Somewhere, with mercy of “khuda,” that there be mention of my friend )

The brilliant Faiz, was a communist and non-believer. The martial regime therefore imprisoned him. Here he wishes that may “Khuda” allow some mention of a revolution, poetically named “yaar”.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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