Monthly Archives: June 2017

GST and the Indian nation-state

Ribhu Vashishtha

Surendranath Banerjee’s newspaper the Bengalee made the point on 18th January, 1902:

“The agitation for political rights may bind the various nationalities of India together for a time. The community of interests may cease when these rights are achieved. But the commercial union of the various Indian nationalities, once established, will never cease to exist. Commercial and industrial activity is, therefore, a mighty factor in the formation of a great Indian union.”

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The Gopis of Vrindavan

Source : Faith - The Hindu

Attaining oneness with Brahman is the ultimate goal of human existence and scriptures discuss the difficulties in this spiritual path. First of all, they say, Brahman is beyond their grasp, and they openly accept their inability to define this ineffable presence which nevertheless abides without any reservations in all aspects of creation. That is why it is said that trying to reach Brahman through sastras is difficult and confusing, while the path of love to Krishna can lead to the same realisation, pointed out Srimati Prema Pandurang in a discourse.

Gopi is a bhava not bound by any personality or gender. It is a concept of pure and selfless love for Krishna where karma, jnana and bhakti blend seamlessly. What greater fortune for them than being lured towards salvation by the child in Brindavan who comes to steal their hearts in the guise of stealing butter? Their very way of life that is centered on Krishna is constituted of that “yagna, dhana and tapas” — strictures laid down in the scriptures for all beings, which the Gita states are the only means by which the atma can be purified.

Though engaged in their household duties and commitments, their hearts and minds are one with Krishna. Worldly attachments and pulls are set aside when they rush to experience the call of the flute. In the realm of bhakti, all differences between individual bhaktas are dissolved and only friendliness prevails. All are conscious of the Supreme Lord and His munificence and compassion alone. There is a desire to celebrate His glory rather than be bogged down with the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ that are difficult hurdles in the spiritual path. The love of the Gopis towards Krishna and their experience of Krishna are seen to be synonymous with the state of “Brahmanubhavam,” the highest state of realisation that all aspire for.

How Isro is safeguarding India’s space assets in orbit

Source : Times of India

NEW DELHI: With Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) set to launch another bunch of satellites — Cartosat along with 30 nano satellites — from the Sriharikota launchpad on Friday, the number of spacecraft missions launched by the space agency till now will go up to 90. However, not all these spacecrafts are operational now but are still in space.

Though Isro’s main objective is to make satellites functional once placed in orbit, protecting them from space debris is also the top priority of the agency.

Space debris is the collection of defunct man-made objects in space — old satellites, spent rocket stages and fragments from disintegration and collisions.

These space debris can really be dangerous as they travel at a speed of up to 30,000 km an hour, which turns even tiny pieces of junk into deadly shrapnel that can damage satellites, space shuttles and even space stations.

However, Isro relies on a slew of methods to safeguard its assets in space. The agency is a member of Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee(IADC), which makes global efforts to reduce man-made and natural space debris. The primary objective of IADC is to exchange information on space debris among member space agencies, to facilitate opportunities for cooperation in space debris research and identify debris mitigation options.

Tapan Misra, director of Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC), said, “IADC alerts a respective space agency when any satellite of that space agency is in danger due to space debris.”

Isro also banks on its sophisticated Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR), operational since 2015, to track space debris. Tapan Misra said, “The state-of-the-art radar, developed at our centre, can track 10 objects simultaneously of size 30cm by 30cm at a distance of 800km. In case of objects of 50cm by 50cm size, the radar can track at a range of 1,000km.”

The space agency is also making efforts to reduce space debris by going for mass satellite launches. After the successful launch of a record 104 satellites in one go on February 15, Isro is gearing up to launch 31 satellites, all packed in PSLV-C38, from Sriharikota on Friday.

The SAC director said, “With use of one rocket for multiple satellites, Isro is actually helping reduce space debris”, as each rocket spent in space adds to space junk.

Explaining the process of rockets becoming space debris, Dr K Sivan, director of Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, said, “The fourth stage of rocket once launches a satellite into its respective orbit becomes useless. This fourth stage, which contains some propellant, could be dangerous as it could explode and add to space debris. But we ensure this stage doesn’t explode as we have fitted a mechanism whereby this stage automatically deactivates and de-pressurises itself after it places a satellite in its orbit and completes its mission.”

As of July 5, 2016, the United States Strategic Command had tracked a total of 17,852 artificial objects in orbit, including 1,419 operational satellites. As of July 2013, over 170 million debris smaller than 1 cm, about 670,000 debris 1-10 cm, and around 29,000 larger debris were estimated to be in orbit.
Isro has been tracking its spacecrafts 24×7 to eliminate the danger of space debris hitting them.

Be Kind on social media

I decided to write this post after witnessing a barrage of abusive comments on social media over politics and ideologies :

All of us are unique. Each is God’s own child.

We all have a different bouquet of beliefs, political inclinations, languages, values, attitudes and norms shaped by our own unique life experiences, upbringing, etc. Moreover these keep on fluctuating with time.

Often I have seen people hurling abuses towards each other and creating anger, hate, frustration on social media mainly over politics. There is no group which enagages in this harmful activity more or less than others. Fanatical supporters of every political group do this.

All this does harm to both the individual and the society. A person who routinely engages in abuse and slander can never be peaceful himself/herself. That such comments create rift in society is another obvious repercussion.

“Violence is not physical alone. It is also what we think and what we speak.” -Mahavir Jain

Let us all learn to be a little kinder towards each other regardless of our differences. Because the one fact that remains despite our myriad of differences is our strongest uniting factor – that we are all particles of the same universe, the same life/soul animates us, the same God creates us. Any amount of differences cannot surmount this greatest of truths in this world. No “us vs them” mentality can break this great unifying factor/bond! Learn from the teachings of great men like Buddha, Mahavir Jain, Adi Shankaracharya, Guru Nanak, Rumi, Zoroaster, Christ, etc.

So be kinder, be peaceful, love every creature of God regardless of his/her bouquet coz who knows if you were in his/her shoes, maybe you would also have been like that. So be a little more empathetic from today.

-Ribhu V.

❤ 🙂

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