Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Art, Nature and Music are Beautiful Diversions

Sky Kundalini - Digital Art

While news of renewed turmoil in the world continues to pour in through the media , it is good for humans to divert their mind back to love, peace and beauty and away from it from time to time, especially when they cannot contribute or have already contributed more than their fair share to alleviate the distress caused by the turmoil. Indeed it is necessary to do so in order to retain one's calmness and therfeore also effectiveness. For me, aside from meditation, communing with nature, gardening, music and art have always been the diversions of choice. I have a separate blog on art at

Just a little while ago I posted my latest digital art creation there. it is interesting enough to post here too. It is entitled Sky Kundalini and the work is inspired by a yoga of that name. However personally I do not favor Kundalini yoga and prefer the simpler yogic practices as described in some of the earlier posts of this blog. Nevertheless it does make a fascinating subject for art if not yoga.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Singing Children

Over the past few months, moved by distress of large numbers of children in different parts of the world, I have written furiously, more actively towards the cause than ever before from children on the the American borders to most recently those in Gaza, in this blog as well as much elsewhere on Facebook, Twitter and various other places online. The hope has been to win a few hearts and minds to come forward and contribute in any way they can to help relieve the distress of a child or even a few children, or in the very least to stop making it more difficult for them by branding them as illegals, human shields etc and whatever else increases the distress of these sweet innocent yet traumatized children. Many of my communications have been addressed to world leaders, world organizations and to ordinary folks like you and me. In the process it goes without saying that it upsets some vested interests deriving benefits, howsoever misguided, from the situation and one also faces criticism in any such endeavor aside from appreciation by others who share the concern.

Nevertheless, if all the effort has saved the life on even one child, brought laughter and a smile in the lives of a few more, the long hours spent have been worth it, even though it is certain that the impact has been much wider. Therefore readers come forth and join the song that brings joy in the lives of children. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Rose is a thing of Beauty

A white rose bush at home
While our planet has numerous pretty flowers, the rose somehow has a very special place. The sight of a rose never fails to gladden the heart despite the fact that it has thorns underneath, perhaps as a warning to life that beauty must be treated with delicacy and care or it will bite. The home in which I have stayed most in the past quarter century was built by me bit by bit in a rather dry and hot part of the country. As a result rose bushes do not come up as well as in cooler northern parts that I have lived in too from time to time in this quarter century. Nevertheless rose bushes may be grown and they do bloom well for a part of the year with a little care for the plant. 

White roses
My favorites are the yellow and white varieties but these bloom with less profusion here than reds and pinks. Therefore in the first fifteen years or so the yellow and white varieties died off quickly. However a change has taken place in the last seven years and now the other colors have dried off and only white remains. My understanding is that flowering plants, especially the sensitive ones sense the inner emotional state of the owner and choose their locations according to emotional compatibility. The change of colors signifies this. An earlier post in this blog has gone into the meaning of rose colors (see here).

Therefore, when I wrote a novel some years ago that included the creation of a  new town in the Himalayas (see The Babaji Affair and Nude besides the lake) it is not surprising that I made the town into the rose capital of the Himalayas. The story has a nude mystic, something that some eastern mystics do and people of this town are forever trying to garland him with roses to hide his willy for a photo shoot :)

This summer was a hot one and the rose bushes had stopped blooming but with a good monsoon and cooler temperatures they have burst forth once again.There are enough to make a garland in case a Himalayan Mystic drops in, dressed in nothing but the sky. LOL :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Peace in Iraq and Syria was easily possible

And Gaza too

Dark Clouds over Iraq and Syria - oil on canvas by ashok

While much of the world watches the turmoil in Iraq and Syria with anguish, it is not that easy solutions to the problem were not possible. How tragic it is that the world has seen such tragic scenes in Gaza, Iraq and Syria for so long, especially when far easier, far less violent solutions to the issues have been in the public domain for years now, some as indicated and linked in this post.  These solutions are not just in hindsight but have been in the public domain for years.  An old Facebook note is here verbatim with the latest update as below:

Peace in Iraq - and Syria too

Years ago, I wrote my views on the crisis in Iraq and because of my concern for the country, I even communicated my views to the White House and Downing street, for within my note was a suggestion for a peaceful future for that country. However, my suggestions were disregarded as is often the case for voices from the wilderness or wisdom.  My familiarity with that country arose because I had been a Professor for four years in one of the leading universities of the country, having gone there on a foreign assignment program between the Iraq and Indian government.

As reports of violence continue in Iraq, I revisited that note today. Thanks to Google, old notes can be searched out in seconds. It is copied and repeated here. Perhaps it is too late now to consider the suggestions afresh but in any case it is repeated here for whatever it is worth now, when tragically many lives continue to be lost on a daily basis at the time of writing this note. An old reference on the matter:

A Perspective on Iraq

Added: (Fri Nov 17 2006)
Pressbox (Press Release) - My introduction to Iraq began in 1986 when I joined the University of Mosul as a Professor of Engineering. At that time Saddam Hussein was aggressively recruiting foreign nationals to improve higher education in the country. My stay was comfortable and I continued to stay in Iraq for four years. It was widely believed at the time that criticism of Saddam was not permitted. However, one could debate policies and except for this restriction as well as that on travel for Iraqi nationals there was relative peace and prosperity in Iraq. During this period I learnt the Arabic language and made many close friends from amongst the Iraqis. It was believed by many intellectuals including myself at the time that although a restriction on freedoms was regrettable it was an unavoidable necessity in Iraq because without it there was a strong possibility that Iraqis would begin killing each other. There were very deep historical factors that would lead to disturbance unless controlled by a strict hand. Subsequent events have proved that this assumption was a correct one.

Some years ago, when Saddam was removed as a result of military action by US lead coalition forces I sent emails to the White house as well as 10 Downing Street in the UK explaining my perception of the situation. My suggestion was that if Iraq could be divided along ethnic lines including some smaller communities to create six or seven provinces in a federal set up then the possibility of peace was greater.The occupying forces could have organized such a division in the heat of victory relatively easily. However that was not done at the time. Recently it appears that a federal set up for Iraq is being considered for three communities the Shia Arabs, Sunni Arabs and Kurds. In my view a division into three entities would also spell problems and lead to the break up of Iraq into three separate countries. Two can gang up against one. A better proposition is to include some other ethnic groups as well; three other groups in Iraq are the Assyrians, Yezhidis and Turkman. Two of them are non-Muslim communities and the third is non-Arab. These three extra communities are minorities but have significant populations that too can be allocated small geographical regions within a new Iraq. A rotating president-ship of the federation by rotation or election by the six presidents may then be possible.

My present knowledge of what is happening in Iraq comes from the media but two concepts being tossed around are beyond my comprehension.

The first is that the coalition forces are training Iraqis for security. That to my mind is a totally ridiculous concept. If it was said that Iraqis are training coalition forces for security that would be more understandable, not the reverse. The Iraqis themselves know far better how to handle the security in Iraq then any outsider. They have done so for five thousand years

The second concept that is beyond my understanding is the US refrain that they have to win. What do they want to win? There is nothing to win or loose in Iraq. Is the reference to winning peace and stability? If so, then the only way is for the coalition forces to move out since that appears to be one of the causes of instability. Iraq has never been more deprived and unstable in its five thousand year long history than in recent times, after US interference began. It should be stopped immediately. Iraqi parents and children are just as sweet as American ones and deserve to live just as much.

Submitted by:Ashok Malhotra
Closing thought: Based on the Iraq experience and perhaps also the Afghanistan one  the world is currently showing a great reluctance to intervene in Syria. In the view of this author while the earlier intervention may have been a mistake, the present approach of not intervening in Syria may yet be another one as explained  -

UPDATE August 2014

Whenever a note such as this is written it is based on an assessment of the situation and no one including the author can ever be hundred percent sure if the suggestions are correct. However time does reveal the extent of their validity. The turmoil that has continued in Iraq as well those of communities like Yezidis and Christians would now seem to validate the main thrust of this old note.

One may have disagreed with some of the specifics but even those are being validated now - for example the worthlessness of American security training in the region was mentioned . That too could not have been more clearly validated when the American trained security forces in Iraq deserted Mosul despite their modern American weapons while the locally trained Kurdish Peshmarga fighters held their ground much better even with primitive weapons.

A second point made in this note that not intervening in Syria as suggested could be a big mistake is also coming true. The birth of ISIS is a direct consequence of this non-intervention.

Violence leads its practitioners and supporters to Hell.

The insights of this author about the region arose because he spent four years in the region as a Professor, learning the languages of the region and intermingling closely with that culture in order to acquire an understanding of their inner motivations..
Notes on the ancient origins of Iraqi and Syrian civilisation can be found in another blog by the author at

While this note has been about Iraq and Syria this author has not been unconcerned about the violence in Gaza and written about that too recently, while having written several years ago too with possible solutions to the violence. The misery inflicted particularly on children has been heart breaking. An old note from 2006 - Violence in Gaza is deplorable - here

Love not violence brings peace, security and happiness
UPDATE August 20, 2014

GAP is a new Plan of action to bring about peace in Gaza posted today at

Photo above from