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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Minister without Portfolio

I am a social worker. I used to do a lot of social work in the remote areas among the poor rural people. The people for whom I worked were very happy with my activities. They said their lives changed for the better due to my help. I felt very happy for them. And they used to entreat me not to leave them.

Then one day I received a call from the Chief Minister (CM) offering me a berth in his ministry! I knew the CM was planning to expand his cabinet. The news was there all over the media. But how come I am invited? I was happy doing social work among these poor people. The CM said he wanted my services in the cabinet. I felt hugely elevated. There are several able and experienced MLAs, and yet he chose to invite me! I reminded him that I was not even an MLA. But he said I need not worry, he could get me elected in the next by-election.

I was convinced my elevation to the Ministry will enhance my status and I shall be able to do a lot more than I have been able to do till now. I prepared myself for the big event. I read a lot on what a legislator and a minister were supposed to do, how to behave among the public, with the press, and among one’s own people. 

The swearing-in ceremony was to take place in a week. I prepared a special set of dress befitting the occasion. For my status and habit, any ordinary dress would have been enough, but it is not my status that I should consider here, but the elite status of other ministers and would-be colleagues. My family members were quite enthusiastic and they all felt gratified that my selfless services among the poor have been noticed by the CM.

My wife even asked me, “They are all very highly experienced, elite, and high class society people there in the cabinet. I wonder how you fit in there.”

I replied, “Look at the Moon. It is so beautiful and subject of fascination of poets for centuries. And yet, there is a black spot on it, right? You consider me as that black spot among the others in the cabinet.”

As the day for the swearing-in neared, I was increasingly tense. Is it really happening? Or did the CM make a mistake?  I read his letter again. Yes, he has clearly written that he was impressed with my activities and that he would like to include me in his cabinet. I wondered, ‘Will they send me a car to pick me up?’ I then laughed at the thought. 'Dreaming of a government car before even becoming a minister!' Remember, I was not even an MLA.

The swearing in was scheduled for 11.30 in the morning. It was a six hour drive from my home to the state capital. I arranged for a car to pick us up in early morning. My wife and children accompanied me as well. It was like a festival in the capital. The whole city had been spruced up for the big occasion.

When I was entering the Secretariat, the uniformed guard looked at me and asked politely, “Sir, do you have an invitation?”

I told him, “I have come for the swearing-in. I have been invited by the CM to be a minister.”

The guard was not very convinced. He had seen most of the MLAs during the last several months and probably could not remember me being among them. He allowed us in when I showed him the CM’s letter, which I had carried with me. Once inside I was lost. I saw several ministers, whom I have only seen on the TV. They were all busy talking among themselves. All of them were very senior and have been ministers for several years.

I went and sat in a corner. I tried to catch the attention of the CM, just to apprise him that I have arrived. But he was too busy with all his senior cabinet colleagues that he did not notice me. I waited patiently. I had a couple of glasses of water. I realized I was perspiring due to tension. All these ‘big’ people … and I, without any elite background, or high connections! What should I do to let the CM know that I have arrived? If he did not see me, he would get worried. I was about to go and inform him that I have arrived, when it was announced that the swearing-in would start soon.

The governor arrived and took his seat. The ministers, including the CM, came down and occupied seats in the centre. I was sitting at a distance and nobody had noticed me. I clutched the letter tightly in my hand. In case anybody asked, I should be able to show it to him.

Then the proceedings began.

The Secretary announced the names of each nominee, he or she went to the dais, took oath, signed in the register, came down and shook hands with the CM. The first group was that of cabinet ministers. After each name, I thought next could be mine. I wondered how people will react seeing me, who has never been in the limelight and who has not even been an MLA, taking oath as a minister! Four cabinet ministers had taken oath. I had heard that there were only five new cabinet ministers. Therefore, the next name could be mine. I cleared my throat, straightened my shirt, and was ready to get up from my chair when the name of another MLA was announced. I was confused and disappointed. I was told by the CM’s office on phone that I would be made a cabinet minister. But my name has not been announced. Maybe there are more cabinet ministers. 

I waited.

Next, the Secretary started to announce the names of ministers of state. I was aghast. I wanted to tell the Secretary that he was probably making a mistake and he missed out my name. I looked eagerly at the CM who I thought would stand up and tell the Secretary that my name had not been announced. But it seemed that he had not even noticed it!

I thought may be the CM’s office must have made a mistake. Maybe I am to be sworn in as a minister of state. I was slightly disappointed that I had not been made a cabinet minister. I reprimanded myself, “Hey you, you have been content serving the poor rural people in that remote village for many years without anybody noticing! And now you are disappointed at not being made a cabinet minister! How arrogant are you!”

The names of the ministers of state were being announced. I concentrated on the function. I didn’t want to miss out my name. There were seven ministers of state. And my name was not among them. There were four deputy ministers. My name did not appear in that list too.

I was stunned. I was devastated. I wanted to ask CM why he made a fool of me. I was content doing social service among the poor people and it was he who invited me to become a minister in his cabinet. Why should he have done that? Once the function was over I returned home with my family. I did not partake in the reception. I never wanted to be anywhere where I was not welcome.

Nobody said anything during the return journey. My wife mumbled to herself, “I had an intuition that something like this would happen”. I wanted an answer from the CM as to why he did this to me. I, however, chose to remain silent.

A week later I got a letter from the CM which read, “I owe you a personal apology for having omitted your name from the list of prospective ministers. I had requested for your inclusion. Last minute decisions to include more experienced and elite and high status ministers meant that there was no space for a couple of ministers, including you. And the decision was taken without consulting me.”

I wanted to ask him several questions. If it is not him, then who takes decisions? Didn’t he know about the other high society members before inviting me? Why did he deliberately pull me into the midst of a feast and then tell that no food was left? If it were some elite ministers who took the decision, why did he invite me without consulting them?

Maybe he believes in the proverb, ‘Poor people’s lives and feelings are things to be played with for the entertainment of elites.’

I started involving myself more vigorously in activities for the betterment of the poor people’s lives in the villages and in a few weeks forgot the incident as a bad dream. Or so I thought. But is it really possible to forget such deliberate humiliation so easily?

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

An Unusual Gift ... which devastated their life


Venue: Labour (delivery) room in a deluxe hospital. A woman is about to give birth to a child. The labour room has, however, been converted into a studio. There are more film technicians and items of equipment, including several video cameras, than doctors and hospital equipment.

As soon as the woman starts to have labour pain, the cameras start rolling. Audio and video recording of every painful movement, every painful groan was done in as much detail as possible, using close-up scenes and from different angles. As the time for delivery neared, more cameras were focused on the point from where the child is supposed to come into this world, head first.

And then the moment they all have been waiting for nearly ten months arrived – the child was born. The whole process was shot by several movie cameras with a number of close-up scenes and from various angles.

The scene ends with the doctors looking at the child and telling to the woman excitedly, “Congratulations, it is a girl”.  One camera was still focused on the woman’s face recording every moment of her relief and relaxation, every drop of her sweat, every movement of her eyelashes.

Sreeta’s father is a businessman, a very successful one at that, and mother, a film actress. They were considerably rich and Sreeta didn’t have any unfulfilled wants or wishes. She always got what she wished. She was a pampered girl, too, being the only child of her parents. She was studious and intelligent and topped in all classes. She wanted to study medicine.

There was, however, one question which she did not know whom to ask. Right from her early school days, her teachers took special care of her. She thought it was because her mother was a famous actress. But when she grew up and became more mature, she thought there was something more to their peculiar behaviour. She also thought there was some hidden meaning and some kind of sarcasm in their pampering her and in their meaningful smiles. Initially she did not give much importance to it.  But when she found it increasingly disturbing, she thought she would tell her mother and seek her advice.

Her mother, however, tried to brush away the problem as silly and asked her to ignore them as those were probably only her imagination and immaturity of her thoughts. She tried to do that, but could not. Sometimes she even felt humiliated. But she dared not ask her teachers about that.

The occasion was Sreeta’s 18th birthday. She invited all her friends from both school and college. They partied well into the night. After all, she has grown up and become an adult that day! She got a lot of gifts. She was wondering why her parents had not given her a present on this very important occasion. She used to receive presents from them on every birthday. She had hoped that they would give her some expensive gift and she was eager to know what it was. But they didn’t give her anything. At last she impatiently asked her mother, “Mom, what are you and Dad going to present me today?”

With a peculiar and meaningful smile her mother told her that their present was very special which she would cherish for the whole of her life and feel proud of herself. She was curious but didn’t press her mother to reveal the secret. Maybe it could be a car for herself, which she had very much wanted. Her curiosity increased with each passing moment.

When the last of the guests left, which was past midnight, Sreeta’s mother told her, “Okay, it is time for us to give you our very special present”. She looked at her husband and smiled. He too was smiling. There was some kind of an expectation in their smiles.

Her mother said, “Come on, let us go to the theatre.” They had a small theatre in the basement of their home where they used to watch movies.

Sreeta’s father brought out a CD kept very securely in the locker and played it. She was aghast when she found that she was watching the video recording of a delivery. And she was terribly stunned to realize that the woman was none other than her mother. She did not know how to react. This was totally unexpected. It was like a bombshell. This was something which she could not digest at all. Suddenly some kind of fear or panic or nausea struck her as if she was watching a violent horror movie. She didn’t want to watch it, nor did she want to hear the groans of her mother. She closed her eyes and put both her hands over her ears. She started screaming.

Her parents were worried. They had hoped that she would be proud to realize that she was probably the first girl at least in this part of the world, to be born in front of video cameras. The delivery had been shot as part of a film. But they had kept an unedited version of the CD. They had been waiting for the past 18 years to surprise their daughter with this ‘special’ gift.

Sreeta was very upset. She ran to her room and locked herself in. The realization now hit her like a thunderbolt why her teachers treated her specially and what the meaning of their hidden smiles were. Probably they have all seen the film and watched her birth. She felt like her world had turned upside down. She wondered how she would face her friends and teachers now. Earlier she didn’t know the reasons for their secret smiles or the sarcasm. But now she knows. She knows the meaning of their smiles, their sarcastic comments and the peculiar looks that they gave her.

She didn’t open the door despite her parents’ best efforts to persuade her to. And then, slowly she fell asleep when it was nearly morning.

It was late in the afternoon when Sreeta emerged from her room. Though she had had enough sleep her face had a small swelling. It was clear that she had wept for a long time the previous night. She wanted to believe that last night’s events were a dream and tried to forget it. But her teachers’ sarcastic smiles and meaningful comments came back to her stronger than ever. How, then, can she forget the ‘film’ she saw of her own birth?

Sreeta didn’t go to college that day. Her parents were worried. They have never seen her in such a mood, as she displayed the previous night, even when she was young. They thought probably it was wrong to show her the documentary. Maybe she was not mature enough yet. They decided to give her time to recover from what they thought was a shock to her.

After the daily chores and her lunch, during which she did not utter even a single word, Sreeta sat in the drawing room and was carelessly turning the pages of a film magazine. She looked very composed and carefree. When her mother came into the room and sat on the sofa opposite to her, she didn’t even look up. Her mother was slightly relieved to see her daughter behaving somewhat normally.

Slowly, without looking up from the magazine, she asked, “Mom, may I ask you something?”

“Yes, darling”, her mother was eager to bring her daughter back to normal life. She had cancelled all her shoots for the day to be with her daughter. Sreeta’s father too stayed back home that day. He too joined them. He sat with his wife, facing his daughter.

“Er … that CD which you showed me yesterday … um … that was me taking birth, right?”

“Yes, of course, darling. It was you. You know I have no other child.” The mother said eagerly quite happy to get the conversation going.

“Thank you. So … I am your child. The proof is there on the CD”, Sreeta continued, very composed, while she leafed carelessly through the pages of the film magazine. Till now she hadn’t looked at her mother or father.

“Now … Er … who is my father?” She did not display any emotion while shooting this terrible question in the most matter-of-fact manner to her mother.

“What??!! What the heck are you asking, Sreeta?”, her mother shouted and suddenly got up as if to strike her daughter.

Sreeta’s father tried to calm her down and forced her to resume her seat. There was a long silence. Sreeta did not lift her eyes from the magazine. Looking at her, they felt that their daughter had suddenly grown up. She had become a stranger to them. The girl sitting opposite to them was somebody else in the body of their daughter.

Her father said in a controlled voice, “Sreeta, do you realize what you are asking?”

“I asked mother, and I want her to respond”, Sreeta turned another page and looked at the picture of a new hero.

Her mother began to tremble with anger at the way their daughter was behaving today. Till yesterday she was the most nice, the most obedient, the most loving and lovable girl. And today …! She clutched the sofa seat with both her hands as if trying to calm herself down. Then she said as calmly as such a situation would allow her, “This is your father … as if I needed to tell you.”

“Oh, yeah? Where is the proof?”, Sreeta turned another page.

“What??!!”, mother flared up again. This time even her father thought Sreeta was going too far.

“Sreeta, there is a limit to everything”, it was now her father’s turn to reprimand her.

For the first time since the conversation began, Sreeta lifted her eyes from the magazine and looked straight into her father’s eyes.

She said, “If you can videotape my birth and show it to the whole world in the name of artistic freedom, I have the right to get an answer to my question.”

Both of them fell silent. It was terrible. For the first time they doubted if it had been wrong to do what they thought was a revolution in the world of art. They never ever imagined that they would have to face such a situation. Both began to perspire despite the air conditioner. Both of them didn’t know how to deal with the situation. They thought they had become so small in front of their daughter.

Her mother began to cry, partly from the tension and anger, and partly from fear. Where is this discussion leading to? With trembling voice she asked, “Sreeta, darling, this is your father. How can I prove it? What proof can I show to you?”

Sreeta calmly said, “A CD.”

Her mother asked, “A CD? What kind of CD are you talking about, baby?”

Sreeta answered as if she was casually asking for a glass of water, “A CD with a video of your intercourse.”

This time it was her father’s turn to suddenly flare up. “You, … you …”, words refused to come out.

Her mother suddenly got up and rushed upstairs to her room crying loudly unable to bear the tension any more. After a few moments the father too followed his wife.

After several minutes, which seemed like hours, Sreeta’s mother told more to herself than to her husband, “It was wrong to record her birth.”

Her husband agreed, “Yes, it was.”

Both of them realized, for the first time, after boasting about their boldness and artistic freedom and after fighting the so-called ‘conservative’ society for long eighteen years, that there was a limit to everything and one should not cross that.
[Recently delivery of an actress from Kerala was videotaped to become part of a film.] 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Is our Criminal Law Faulty?

Is our criminal law faulty and discriminatory? I think it is.


Let’s consider the following situations.

If a grown up man with medically sound mind commits a crime, say for example, one or more murders, with prior intention to kill, he gets life imprisonment, which is 14 years in India. If the cruelty committed goes beyond common man’s, or more importantly, the judge’s, imagination, it is considered as the ‘rarest of rare’ cases and the culprit is awarded the death sentence. It is, however, left to the judge to decide if it was one of the ‘rarest of rare’ cases or just a ‘rarer than normal’, ‘rare’, or ‘normal’ case. 

If, however, the crime had been an accident or from sudden provocation, then the punishment awarded is less. So, sudden provocation or immediate flare-up is taken as less serious and criminal than a pre-planned and intentional crime.

If, however, the culprit can produce a medical certificate proving that he was of unsound mind, he is even let off. This rule is also applicable if the culprit is able to prove that he was of unsound state of mind at the time of committing the crime, or that he was unable to control his mind at the particular moment when he shot or stabbed somebody repeatedly or when he inserted an iron road into the body of a woman!

So, in all the situations mentioned above, it is the momentary, temporary or permanent state of the culprit’s mind that is taken as the basis for acquitting or punishing him, and deciding on the quantum of punishment. The intention or provocation to commit the crime, or the manner in which it was committed is considered after he was proved to be of sound mind at the time of committing the crime. His age or social, economic or cultural status is not taken into account. His mental state is the basis. [I am talking of the most ideal situation and not of situations where those with high political and/or bureaucratic influence manage to get away, regardless of the nature of their crime. That is a separate story altogether.]

But if a man below the age of 18 years commits even the most heinous of crimes in the cruelest manner and with intention and pre-planning, suddenly his physical age comes into play. His mental soundness, his mental growth, or his intention or pre-plan to commit the crime, or the manner in which it was committed, are not given any consideration at all. Everything hides behind his ‘tender’ age!


If in the first situation the culprit’s state of mind, and not age, is considered as the basis for punishment, or the quantum of it, why is the same yardstick not applied in the second case? If he is a juvenile, he is let off with a ‘warning’ not to commit such crimes again. And this happens even though he commits crimes repeatedly while being a juvenile.

This is meaningless and dangerous.

Our elders, who framed our laws, must have taken such matters into consideration and must have discussed those in the deepest and broadest manner possible before finalizing the laws. But one thing they might not have anticipated could be the drastic changes that might influence our society in the coming years. They might not have foreseen the influence that the infiltration of the Western culture by way of advancement in information technology would have on the minds of our people, especially the younger generation. They may not have had any idea about the impending infiltration of hundreds of TV channels with all kinds of programmes, and the invincible Internet, with unlimited access to pornographic and violent material. Both have good and bad influence on people of all walks of life, less of the former and more of the latter.

And think of what is going to come in future when the Internet is going to be replaced soon by a technology that is several hundred times more powerful and faster! Such kind of technological advances, once introduced, can never be discontinued or even slowed down. These are high speed one-way passages with no return or even turn. And with the achievement of each milestone it will zoom ahead faster and faster without anyone or anything challenging it.

They probably could not have thought of juveniles committing even ghastlier crimes than adults. For them, crimes by juveniles would have been very few and far between and committed either unknowingly or unwittingly. So they naturally thought it was enough to strictly warn or reprimand them or award a very small punishment and they would then be the most ideal citizens ever after. But we now realize that they have been proved wrong. There have been a large number of juvenile criminals in our society and they constitute a considerable proportion of total criminals.

What is the solution?

Well, the most ideal solution would be to educate our young generation and enable them to distinguish between good and bad things and adapt only good things from the vast universe of knowledge. [I admit ‘good’ and ‘bad’, like every other quality, are merely comparative and not absolute terms. ‘Good’ for one person may be ‘bad’ for another.] But these things are easier said or written than done. 

The immediate practical solution would be to consider the intensity and nature of the crime committed by juveniles using the same yardstick as that of adults – the state and growth of mind of the offender rather than physical age. Laws need to be amended and drastically changed immediately considering the increase in the number of crimes and their manner and intensity. This will also help to do away with discrimination of the basis of consideration between adults and juveniles.

We need to do this immediately.

Friday, 11 January 2013

A Centipede in the Rice Pudding

I was a small boy. I was at ammathu (mother’s house) for some occasion. I don’t remember what the occasion was. It was, however, a huge one. Several people including relatives, friends, and neighbours, had gathered. A stupendous feast was being served. People sat in line cross-legged on the floor to take part in the feast. The food was served on plantain leaves. We children used to serve small and light items such as chips, salt, pickles, etc. while adults served heavy items such as rice, sambar, etc. I also took part in serving several items along with other children.  

I was serving paayasam (rice pudding) (with rice, jaggery and coconut milk as ingredients). It was less solid and more liquid. The moment you pour it onto the plantain leaf, it starts spreading to all sides and the person has to immediately use his hand to move it to the centre and also to consume it with hand at the same time. Actually what you do is, when you move your hands on the paayasam it comes into your hand and you immediately pour it into your mouth. (It is not very easy, one needs to learn it by practice. These days, nobody wants to take the trouble. Small plastic bowls are used instead, so that you can just drink it like tea or coffee. Also, nobody wants to sit on the floor, everywhere chairs and tables are used. A consequence of modernization and people turning away from tradition! I am a victim of this, too!)

My best friend Balan’s (C.G. Balakrishnan) father Govindan was among the people who were enjoying the feast. (He was popularly known as vallyasan, literally meaning the elder teacher. The family traditionally ran a kalari – a tiny school where small children learned the three R’s, something like the modern pre-nursery. When his son Raman [Balan’s elder brother, who was called kochasan, literally the younger teacher] took over the kalari, vallyasan retired, but the title stuck.) He was quite old at that time with failing eye sight. I was serving paayasam from a steel bucket using a ladle. As everybody does, and as everybody should do lest the paayasam spreads and flows out of the leaf, the moment I poured it onto the leaf, he started consuming it using his hand. When I served the second ladle, I immediately found that there was a dead pazhuthara (a poisonous centipede) in the paayasam which had also been served. I was stunned and shocked. I didn’t know what to do. Before I could tell or even think of what to do, he took it in his hand along with paayasam and poured into his mouth. I was terrified. I ran back to the kitchen. I was terribly shivering from fright. I put the vessel in the kitchen and ran to a distant corner and sat there terribly upset and panting.

I started crying due to fear. I knew the insect was poisonous, very poisonous indeed. I thought he would die immediately and I would be held responsible, since I had served the dish. I was profusely sweating, too. Seeing the commotion and my unnatural behaviour, ammayi (maternal aunt) rushed to me.

She asked, “What has happened? Why are you sitting here? Are you ill?”

She felt my forehead to see if I had fever. I didn’t. I was so much agitated that I could not tell her anything for some time. She started getting more worried.

She assured me, “Don’t worry, whatever is the matter, tell me. We shall find a solution.”

After some moments I told her. “There was a pazhuthara in the paayasam that I served to vallyasan.”

Ammayi was shocked and terrified too. She too was at a loss to say anything. After a few moments she said, “Don’t worry, I will immediately go and tell him not to take it.”

I told her, “But he has already swallowed it along with paayasam.”

She was more quite this time. She began to get panicked, too.

After several moments she told me, “All right. You don’t worry. Nothing will happen to him. Okay? But do not tell this to anybody. Otherwise there will be panic and lot of problems.”

She asked me to go the other room, so that others didn’t notice me sitting in the corner and sobbing which would have attracted more questions.

For the next several days I feared that any moment the news could be heard that vallysasan had passed away. For two or three days I didn’t even go to ammathu for fear of hearing the unfortunate news. But nothing happened and vallyasan lived for several more years.

I will, however, never forget the panic that struck me that day and the consolation that ammayi gave me despite being panicked herself.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Prof. Arithottam Parameswaran

The news of the passing away of Prof. Arithottam Parameswaran in the early hours of Thursday, 3 January 2013 came as a shock to me, as it should have been to many others. Though we know that everyone born has to die one day, when it happens quite unexpectedly, it takes us unawares. But the very peaceful end that happened to him in sleep was very fitting to the always calm and gentle Arithottam. Only very pious and pure souls get such a blessing.

Whatever interactions I had with Arithottam, which were not many, are all sweet and fond. He was like a father figure, and a respected guru, to me. And I am sure, to many others who came in contact with him. I don’t remember when I first met him. But the earliest memory is when I met him at Dr Akavoor Narayanan’s home. I had gone there to discuss my plans to study Malayalam from Delhi University. I was proposing to join the evening classes in Dayal Singh College in Lodhi Road, since I was working in TERI, also in Lodhi Road.

Arithottam was also present there and took part in the discussions. When I put my proposal before him, Akavoor told Arithottam half jokingly and half seriously, “So, your position is safe for another session.” In Delhi University the rule then was that if there is at least one student in a particular course, the course will be conducted. Arithottam was teaching Malayalam in Dayal Singh College. Therefore, if I joined the course, his job would have been safe till I completed my studies. But unfortunately, I never got a chance to be his formal student, for the simple reason that I didn’t join the course. But he always had the revered position of a teacher in my mind.

Later on I had occasions to work with him very closely in Gayathri. When he shifted his base to Kerala after his retirement from Delhi University I became a member of the editorial board of Pranavam. When it was suggested in a meeting held at Mr K.V. Kumar’s home, that I should fill the place vacated by Arithottam in the editorial board of Pranavam, I protested. I was (and still am) nothing and Arithottam’s shoes would in no way have fitted me. But in Gayathri such protests don’t cut the ice. Arithottam himself later on (or was it in that meeting itself?) told me that I would be able to handle the work.

Arithottam’s whole family was quite active in several fields. Ms Radha Arithottam, his wife, used to be the leader of the thiruvathira (a Kerala dance form, also known as kaikottikkali [literally, hands-clapping dance]) group in NOIDA those days. She used to be a permanent presence (which nobody could miss) in any programme organised by Gayathri. She is an actor, singer and dancer, all woven into one. One occasion I would like to highlight is her taking part in the dance drama “Poothappattu” (the song of pootham [an evil spirit]) where she acted as the woman whose son is snatched away by the pootham. Her son Mahesh acted as the son. The pootham is compelled to return the son to the mother due to the sheer perseverance and extremely strong love of the mother to her son.

Arithottam was extremely gentle, mild, silent, loving, and lovable who always preferred to remain in the background. He had tremendous knowledge of our culture as well as of ancient books. Even after he left Delhi, for many years he used to contribute to Pranavam regularly. He was a God-loving person. (Somehow I hate the usage God-fearing because one should not and need not fear God. God only loves us, not frighten.).   

I pray that his soul rest in peace. I also pray that the Almighty gives his family the strength to bear the irreparable loss.