All posts by Ribhu Vashishtha

About Ribhu Vashishtha

Indian. Vedantin. Indophile. Organ Donor. Animal Rights Activist. Human Rights Activist.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 42, Chapter 18

Qualities of Brahmin varna (not caste, not hierarchical, not determined by birth)

A simple, modern translation and explanation of the Bhagavad Gita with shloka (verse) meaning

shamo damastapaha shaucham kshaantiraaarjameva cha |
jnyaanam vijnyaanamaastikyam brahmakarma svabhaajavam || 42 ||

Restraint of mind and sense organs, penance, purity, forgiveness, and also, knowledge, wisdom and faith, these are the natural duties of a braahman.
shamaha : mental restraint
damaha : sensual restraint
tapaha : penance
shaucham : purity
kshaantihi : forgiveness
aaarjam : straightforwardness
eva : also
cha : and
jnyaanam : knowledge
vijnyaanam : wisdom
aastikyam : faith
brahmakarma : duties of a braahman
svabhaajavam : natural
Sant Raidas was a cobbler. Sant Tukaram was a farmer. Mirabai was a princess. Sant Namdev came from a family of tailors. Swami Vivekananda was born into an aristocratic family. Sant Chokhamela came from a family that was treated as untouchable. Although all these saints came from different occupations and externally imposed castes, their mental makeup, was that of a braahman. Shri Krishna says that one who…

View original post 212 more words


Moral degradation in Indian society -Kajal Chatterjee

Source :

The suicidal mindset of attaining “modernity” by sporting “bold” dresses and displaying of “assets”, films bordering on pornography, brute culture of lewd dancing and drinking at night clubs are some of the main reasons behind invocation of the beast in man resulting in increasing incidents of rape and violence against women.  With each passing day India is briskly marching towards the unenviable status of being the worst place for women in the world. The society which mercilessly exploits the female body in the commercial mainstream films and also accords social sanction to those dirty pictures in the name of “art”, treats sexually-explicit dialogues in films and every day vocabulary as a matter of attaining “maturity”, glamorises eveteasing and molestation in the name of “romance” or “wooing” the lady love, religiously uses barely clothed female figures to advertise even a gent’s shoe or shaving cream, projects shedding of clothes as harbinger of “women empowerment”, encourages and glamorises pre-marital sex, extra-marital relationships and one-night stands and certifies those individuals as “progressive” who regularly watch pornography — all in the name of “modernity”; are bound to get morally corrupted to the worst extent possible, thereby endangering the security and dignity of women who have been relegated to nothing but mere  “sex objects”. No civilized person can dare to go through the “mainstream” and “enlightened” newspapers and magazines in front of their children or senior members, thanks to the deluge of semi-clad heroines, party animals and models in almost all pages. During the commercial breaks between cartoon programmes or cricket matches, innocent children are made to view the sexually-titillating advertisements, including that of condoms also! Inboxes of mobile to personal website are continuously being bombarded with offers and pictures of “fun” and “hot” women! Are we marching towards “progress” or retarding towards the dark age! Are the vested interests aware of the fact that the development of the knowledge of making and wearing clothes, to get rid of nakedness, marked one of the essential features of the dawn of civilization? And now the unscrupulous lot, “inspired” by commercial interests, are trying to brainwash the masses to disrobe themselves and retreat to the early ages so as attain “progress”! In such a hypocrite, crude and pseudo-progressive environment, sexual atrocities on fairer sex are bound to erupt.
Thanks to the lumpenisation of Indian society by large section of the media, Bollywood and advertising agencies; the whole country has got fully degraded morally. Suburbs to city centres, urban to rural, New Delhi to Bangalore, Mumbai to Guwahati — the whole country is equally dangerous for women as all parts are equally being administered “shock therapy” through overdose of all things sex and female body.
And all norms of double standards should also be immediately made to an end. India protests only when a para-medical student or a photojournalist of middle class educated background gets sexually assaulted in New Delhi or Mumbai! The “collective conscience” of the nation also gets “shakened” only when girls of upper-middle class and elite vintage get mass molested in Bangalore night club on New Year eve. But when the same crime gets committed on a villager, illiterate, tribal possessing no “social status” or on a resident of other parts of India just like in Williamnagar(Meghalaya) or Barasat(West Bengal); urban Indians, far from protesting, remain engaged in blatant consumerism, Bollywood, Kohli, IPL and philistine culture of night clubs, pubs and discos! The politicians, Bollywood superstars, intellectuals and common  citizens of  India simply don’t care to protest or feel ashamed unless the incident of rape or molestation happens in “glamorous” cities and the victim happens to be of privileged background ! Thus protests which occur by taking into account the class or geographical status of the victims possess no moral strength and sincerity.
Instead of engaging in “fashion parades” by organising candle-light vigils, common people should learn to protest against all raped  or molested victims irrespective of their social status, economic strength or geographical location. The citizens, specially women, should unitedly protest against the “rapists” who continue to “rape” women 24×365 hours annually through sexually denigrating them in films, TV reality shows, fashion parades and advertisements. And the Government of India and that of the states, apart from taking administrative measures to render security to women and nab the rapists or molesters promptly; should not only ban the films and advertisements promoting voyeurism, but also punish its producers, directors and sponsors for commercialising the female bodies and morally corrupting the society as a whole.  Else brutalities on women would continue to occur again and again.
Also life imprisonment should necessarily be implemented in the case of rape as well as molestation. And if she is also murdered or the victim succumbs to injuries, death penalty is the only answer. Else it would get proved that only if a poor caretaker of rural background gets accused of raping and murdering an upper-middle-class girl, does the society find merit in hanging the culprit! This blatant hypocrisy should immediately be brought to an end and all culprits of rape and murder should be hanged till death so as to deter the potential violators of future. The sanctity of the lives of the rapists are certainly not more than that of the hapless victims of rape and murder!

Dark and dairy: The sorry tale of the milch animals

Source : The Hindu

Beef and milk are two sides of the same coin, especially in India where cattle and buffaloes are farmed primarily for milk.

India has been making national and international headlines for its soaring beef exports.

However, while there is ambivalence about India’s place in the beef market, there is more or less unquestioned pride about the nation’s status as the world’s largest producer of milk. We have riots over rumours of cow slaughter. But the consumption of milk and milk products is a near-universal habit in India, probably more so among vegetarians than others. We revere cows as mothers because we use their milk. But if our dairy practices are any indication, we don’t treat our mothers well.

It’s clear that meat comes from slaughtered animals. It’s less obvious that dairy production is as traumatic and lethal to animals. Beef and milk are two sides of the same coin, especially in India where cattle and buffaloes are farmed primarily for milk. There are no ‘beef’ animals in India. Yet, bovine meat constitutes 62 per cent of India’s total meat production. Beef, in India, is sourced from the dairy industry, which is economically sustainable only because it is supported by the meat and meat by-products industries (such as leather). Therefore, if we care about cattle, we should first look into the lives of milch animals.

The dairy system inflicts suffering at every stage, starting with the calving process, for milk comes from a cow or a buffalo that has calved recently. For dairy farming to be financially viable, animals are made to calve at least once a year (for cows) and once in 15 months (for buffaloes). Calves, male and female, are separated or significantly restricted from accessing their mothers three to four days after birth. This separation is traumatic for both mother and calf, but leads to a 15-30 per cent increase in milk availability for humans. Following separation, calves are mainly fed on milk substitutes and are allowed only limited suckling. The mother’s milk is instead diverted for human consumption.

Most male calves are either sent for slaughter or let loose to starve. A limited number are used for breeding. Some are used as draught animals where they are subject to castration without anaesthesia, nose-roping, whipping and hard labour until they are old and weak. At that point, they are sent for slaughter or abandoned. The economic undesirability of male cattle is evident in the gender imbalance — 64.42 per cent female and 35.57 per cent male in cattle, and 85.18 per cent female and 14.8 per cent male in buffalo. The slaughter of male calves — whether intentional or incidental — is integral to milk production.

Healthy females are kept alive for use in the dairy industry, which means a repeated cycle of impregnation, separation, painful milking, oxytocin shots and mastitis. To keep dairy animals productive, animal husbandry manuals recommend re-impregnation around 60 days after calving — a longer calving interval is uneconomical and a shorter interval reduces milk production.

Impregnation is increasingly being carried out through artificial insemination. India’s National Dairy Plan aims to use artificial insemination on at least 35 per cent of all fertile animals by the end of 2017. Artificial insemination involves extracting semen from selected bulls and forcibly placing it in restrained cows. This technology is popular because it is efficient, allows for selective breeding of high-yielding animals and reduces the need for males.

Dairy farming involves the killing of unproductive, infertile and ‘spent’ cows and buffaloes. Milk production starts to decline after three to four lactations (pregnancies). At this stage, cows and buffaloes are sold for slaughter through middlemen, or to a smaller farmer who will use them for an additional two to three lactations before selling them for slaughter or abandoning them. An infertile or unproductive animal shares the same fate, only much earlier. India’s world-beating output of 132.4 million tonnes of milk in 2012-13 would not have been possible if cattle and buffalo were taken care of for the entirety of their natural life-spans.

Dairy cattle have a terrible choice: life can be nasty, brutish and short, if you are male; or nasty, brutish and longer, if you are female. Beef is an inevitable consequence of dairy. The data bear out this hypothesis. Figures provided by the National Dairy Development Board show that the monetary value of milk production almost tripled between 2004-05 and 2011-12. So did the monetary value of beef production. There was a 98.6 per cent match between milk and beef production over this period.

Both qualitatively and quantitatively, a milch cow or buffalo has a worse life than an animal bred solely for meat. Why, then, do we believe dairy to be better than beef?

Part of the explanation lies in psychology. Meat is obviously linked to the death of a fellow- creature. The impacts of dairy are easily veiled in narratives about ‘surplus milk’ and the Indian veneration of the cow. Of course, buffaloes that provide more than half the milk we consume as a nation don’t figure in these debates.

Neither do the environmental consequences of dairy farming, whether pollution caused by runoffs, greenhouse gas emissions, or high water footprints.

Ultimately, Indian vegetarianism is about us rather than the vulnerable creatures we claim to care for. We may prefer to turn our eyes away from the connection between our individual acts of drinking our filter coffee or morning chai, and the cow or buffalo that produced the milk.

The logic, however, is clear: drinking milk causes as much suffering as eating meat, if not more. Indeed, milk involves more cruelty than meat does.

First You Eat Meat, Then Meat Eats You: Maneka Gandhi

Source : NDTV

The women and child development minister was speaking at the launch of a film ‘The Evidence-Meat Kills’, directed by Mayank Jain, that scientifically explores the effects of meat consumption on human body.

Maneka Gandhi said that studies have shown that meat is bad for human body.

NEW DELHI:  Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today made a pitch for vegetarianism, saying humans are natural vegetarians and meat consumption harms them.

The women and child development minister was speaking at the launch of a film ‘The Evidence-Meat Kills’, directed by Mayank Jain, that scientifically explores the effects of meat consumption on human body.

Studies done over the last three decades have shown, with empirical data, that meat is bad for human body, Maneka said.

“Everything about every part and organ of the human body is vegetarian. When we put an alien substance like meat into the human body, we become prone to diseases,” she said.

“If you do this on a daily basis,” she added, “Your body will weaken. You will not die of eating meat, but it will certainly weaken your body, making it more vulnerable to diseases.”

Maneka emphasised, more than once, that the purpose of making or promoting the film was not to persuade people to give up eating meat, but to make them aware of its pros and cons and help make an informed choice.

“All in all, first you eat meat, then meat eats you,” she quipped, during the programme at the Press club.

She said the movie has been made by the doctors so that people make an informed choice.

The Union minister also lamented that dietetics — the study of diet and its effects on health — was not given due time or attention during medical education.

“I feel that in the 5-6 years during which they teach you to become a doctor, they teach you dietetics for not more than one or two hours. What I feel is, if you do not teach them about food and their effect on the body, then what is the point of teaching them about the medicines?” she said.

Dr Ramesh Bijlani, former HoD, Department of Physiology, AIIMS, who features in the film — along with a few other doctors — lends a professional voice to Maneka’s assertions.

“Use of antibiotics and hormones has become almost routine in not only poultry but also in the meat industry in general, and the types of antibiotics that are used are very often those which are not fit for human consumption. They are not approved for human use but these are given to these animals, but indirectly, the same antibiotics get into human beings when we consume meat,” he says at one point during the movie.

The film goes on to examine the health of butchers who are exposed to an overdose of violence in slaughterhouses.