Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The last say........

Let me have the last say on this topic of fake healers and pastors since this is my blog.

Frankly speaking, I never expected such aggressiveness from some of the readers. But I let them rant and rave to the point of throwing insults (from people who claim to have come closer to God) to expose the so called “Believers” who seems to have discovered “something” which the rest of us have do not have. These are the followers of the so called “Healers” and “Pastors” who are on a direct mission from God. The comments made one our friends say that it has made him hate the so called “born agains” even more, while others (specially my Hubby) thought that I was too mild in answering them or some felt that I should not have published the comments at all. While I thank each for their concern, I feel I had to do what I did.

I believe faith starts from home and I am thankful that my parents handed over to me solid faith to carry me through this life. While I don’t deny completely the role of the traditional churches in this, on landing in Gulf soon after my marriage I had only my Hubby to lean upon and on facing many difficulties and hurdles, I did not have to run to anyone but God. The prayers of mine and of those who loved me carried me on. The support system of family, friends and church doesn’t work here in Gulf for most of us and we are left on our own during the initial years. But God was there at every difficult moment of my life. And yes, I faced many difficulties since I had left a “comfort zone” for a life that was completely different. I can call some of them "miracles" too. But I still have a long way to go and I am still learning but I am thankful that God has given me the intelligence to discern.

Let the Government,the Traditional Churches and the public do what they should do....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In Denial Mode...

Just like Santhosh Madhavan and other’s even Thanku Brother is in the denial mode at present. As for his followers like Thomas, they are either too shocked to digest the news or they knew all along. Was amused to see that none of the major print and TV media picked up the news earlier, specially the ones popular among the Christians. They had to wait until the youth wing of the BJP marched to the “Heavenly” premises.

Never knew that Thanku had gone a step ahead and recruited even a District Medical Officer. A raid is going on today to unearth further evidence.

Miracles do happen and God works through people. A doctor is an instrument in God’s hands. Your prayer can lead you to the right doctor and the right medicines. But I was shocked to watch this DMO say on TV that there is no need of any medicines. This brought to my mind about the death of a boy who was my younger sister’s class mate in school. Though he was a bright student he was often sick since he was suffering from a heart disease. The problem was that the parents refused to continue medicines since they became a part of a Christian sect who believed that God alone will cure him without any medical treatments. His death in class 9th affected his classmates a lot. When they went to the funeral they were even more shocked to see the Pastor busy preaching while the Parents seemed to not mind about the death.

People like Thomas feels that moving away from the traditional churches solves all their problems without realizing that they would be at the mercy of the so called Pastors and Gurus. Even the Church cannot solve your problems until you yourself have faith.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our faith is so fickle; it requires tickling...

And finally the day has dawn......

The last 2 weeks we were forced to switch from one channel to the other (Kerala has almost 14 regional channels!) hoping to catch the latest update on the various “kalla” Swamis. The scenes were better than any reality shows with a gun wielding swami shooting rampantly and then even screaming with pain. Of course, one will never know the political connections behind them since both the major parties are involved.

All along, Hubby and I were wondering when more religious “gurus” will be unearthed. It is common knowledge that world over, religion is now the most commercialised and every religious text and its leaders has been sold many times over. And being a Christian myself, I am not aware of the Hindu Swamis but am aware of many Christian spiritual gurus. We have Malayalam channels dedicated exclusively for these “gurus” and each episode of 30 minutes or more can cost IRS 8000 to IRS 35,000 or even more. Besides the daily appearance in these channels, these “gurus” find precious time to visit other countries too. As everyone knows, visiting US would yield dollars and visiting Kuwait yields dinars.

Now today, we have heard the news that we were waiting to hear since some time. A raid is being conducted at the place of the famed “Thanku Pastor” of the “Heavenly Feast Church”. He seems to have no answer to the source of his income.



Kuwait was "blessed" to have Thanku Pastor not once but many times. Today while checking his website I came upon an interesting “miracle”. It is under the section “Sow your seeds and pick your gift” where audio and video messages are given away.

By the way, it is not sold like in others and their FAQ section cleverly says so...

Q: “How can I get the resources (media releases) of Heavenly Feast?

A: There are no products from Heavenly Feast. But for those who support us in the missions will be given a ACD,VCD or DVD as per request. LOL!

Now for the miracle!

This is one of the latest releases from Heavenly Feast Media Ministry which features the testimony of our dear Grandma Ammini who died on her way to new york,went to heaven,met Jesus and returned back to life.
Watch this amazing video!


This poor Ammachi must be now wishing she had never boarded that plane to New York, if she ever did!

And while in Kuwait, I was told that people witnessed much healing and miracles. (one poor supporter did die on stage and the healer could do nothing since he had to board the plane to the next destination - Singapore)

I asked one of my friends, a staunch supporter of Thanku to give me the phone number of these witnesses so that I can have a chat. Alas.. no phone numbers! I was also told that he raised many to life in his home town Kottayam! Are the Kottayam residents sleeping? I mean, isn’t it time they demolished those hospitals and gave that beautiful town some breathing space? And at the rate these miracle healing and healing minsters are multiplying, we should soon have the profession of doctors scrapped away.

To think that there are educated people from all Christian denominations and other religions who flock to such gatherings!

I am in no way saying that miracles do not happen. It can happen depending upon ones faith and we already have it in the Bible. “If one has faith as small as a mustard seed, one can ask the mountain to move away and it will”. If each one of us had even a miniscule of this faith in us, we wouldn’t be flocking to these so called healers and preachers. We would have prayed for it to happen and then watched the result. And that is what keeps these “Fake” gurus ticking. Our faith is so fickle that it requires tickling.

And they are not just ticking, they are growing by leaps and bounds. Reliable sources said earlier and now being confirmed that he has built a mansion costing 2 crore in his home town of Kottayam. Like a smart businessman he has also diversified his business. I believe those working closely with him benefits greatly from him while the money keeps pouring from the thousands of believers spread across the globe. Even a penny from the listening believers can add to the coffers. He could also have other source of income which the police should unearth.

He has a shady background which is well known but unfortunately even this has added to his popularity! He used his past to “witness” on his spiritual enlightenment. Ahh.. the tricks of the trade! Who wouldn’t want to sympathise and relate with the lost sheep now come home to the Shepherd. Earlier the text of his “witnessing” was to be seen on his website but now I cannot find it.

Hubby was always greeted with stern faces if he ever mentioned about these so called “Healers” and priests who gathered income beyond their means. The common line being “We have no right to judge others but only God can judge”. Trick no 2.


The coming days are going to be exciting. We will soon see many “gurus” going into hiding. I only hope the public will cooperate and show restraint. I also hope that those who are honestly serving the poor and needy are spared.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The lure of money

SEEKING JUSTICE:
CHENNAI: For the third consecutive day on Tuesday, people came in large numbers to the office of the Commissioner of Police in Egmore and lodged criminal complaints against the Gold Quest and its directors.

Additional police personnel were deployed at the entrance of the Commissionerate to regulate the crowd.Thorough examination Commissioner of Police G. Nanchil Kumaran told The Hindu that the police would thoroughly examine all petitions and take stern action against the accused, if they were found to have cheated the public.

So far, they had received about 900 complaints, the Commissioner said.
Last week, the police had sealed the company’s premises near the Chetpet police station.

Agents and some staff of the company who had information about the functioning of the company are being investigated.


When will we ever learn that making money is not easy? One cannot make hard money by quick means and expect it to be legal too.

Don’t we all see this bare truth around us: among our friends, our colleagues, those who work in high or low positions and even in business? Unless of course he gets a lottery.

The recent scam.. or the age old scam is the “Gold Quest” or re-christened Quest International (QI) pyramid style chain business.

Even me and hubby were approached as early as 1998 to take part in this scheme and kept on receiving further invitations’. One of Hubby’s friend and colleague came home and gave a presentation stating the merits of the scheme. The bottom line was making extra bucks during the free time. All one had to do was give around 175 KD (almost 30,000 IRS), whereby one gets either a “unique” wrist watch or a NUMISMATIC gold coin and then lure others to join the scheme. If your “Left” and “Right” prospers so do you! But Hubby was dead against such schemes, reminding me of the various schemes that had left many cheated and few rich. Thankfully I was too busy trying to bring up the little ones to bother about the "left" and "right". I did wonder how this scheme can work since the purchase is made only once and there was no other means of income. People who lose money in scams like Goldquest are encouraged to blame themselves for that. They are told that they did not work hard enough. And they have a disclaimer at their website that beats them all..

And upon reading more about “Gold Quest”, I came to know that this company was already facing ban from Nepal as early as 2003 and in Srilanka, Philipines and Iran in year 2004-7 And there were arrests in Chennai in year 2003 where the company’s Indian head quarters is located. They say Mrs. Chidambaram was appointed as the legal advisor to this company. I think people still refuses to believe that the company is cheating since many high ranking politicians and cine stars are its patron. The company has also ventured into other business using the money collected from millions.

Here in Kuwait many of my ex-colleagues and friends are a part of this scheme. One left his job and started an office in India to continue the business. I am not sure how many of them made money and I am not even sure if they are all aware that this company is cheating. Our neighbour is still busy recruiting fresh candidates from company camps. These unsuspecting candidates must have given all what they saved from their meagre salary. I am sure some have made money on the expense of others.


GoldQuest International – 2000

About Us
• GoldQuest is a company retailing gold products.
• GoldQuest finds its customers through word-of-mouth advertising otherwise known as interactive marketing.
• GoldQuest pays commissions to its customers for introducing other customers, who purchase products from GoldQuest..
• GoldQuest utilizes the strength of the best network structure available today for the distribution of its commissions.

Company Background

GoldQuest International Ltd. was formed by diverse but formidable entities: an investment group from the EU and Asean as well as an Asian team of industry leaders with extensive networking experience called the V-TEAM. This powerful fusion of corporate and networking expertise has laid a strong foundation for the stable existence of the company that is dedicated to building opportunities not just for itself but for all of its customers.

GoldQuest is led by the honorable corporate chairman, Mr. Aulis Juhana Makitalo, who worked for many years with internationally respected agencies such as the United Nations Development Fund and the Asian Development Bank. Assisting him are various international directors whose special fields of expertise propel the company into a new millennium of dynamic expansion and growth.


http://bahrainidrivel.com/?p=195

http://questnet.homebusinesspros.com/


http://www.mouthshut.com/comment/readcomment.php?rid=54567&r=1&com=0

And to top it Dato’ Vijay was invited by the Indian government to speak at Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas.. now we just have to wait for the government to give him a Padma Shri

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gender.. cont

Let me continue my previous post on Gender Equality since KK thinks I have been unfair in my opinion. But before that let me state that I am not an FCP and I do enjoy being a mother, a wife and whatever role this world has bestowed upon the female population. It is just that sometimes it is a thankless job and then where else but my blog can I rumble.

As for the mention of religion, your observation is correct but I was under the impression that at least Hinduism with numerous female Goddesses is not thus. But upon reading about Female Foeticide and exploring further: thanks to links provided by and gathered through my blog friends, every religion including Hinduism does play a role in gender discrimination. Now I have no idea about the Hindu scriptures although I did try to read Bhagawad Gita but couldn’t continue for some reasons. I personally have not taken my religion very seriously and hate to be tied down to religious orders and rituals. I may do so just to appease those whom I care for. But I do hope I will be given a fair chance to work this one out with the Almighty when I meet him (?) personally!

The Indian Homemaker writes thus under Simple Patriarchy or Religion in Unchaahi. I love reading her since she makes every subject interesting.

Our dislike of daughters is deep rooted. It's in our culture. Next time you attend a traditional kua poojana (ceremony on birth of a baby boy); see someone fasting for their son's long life; next time you see a woman being blessed to 'doodho nahao, pooto phalo';..Next time you read/watch in our popular epics, how all powerful women are mothers' of sons (anywhere from one to about a hundred sons); next time you read/hear bhajans of baby hood of our popular male gods ask yourself; when did we ever, EVER want daughters? It's in our roots. Women in India had just one purpose, to give birth to sons! Many of them think they still have just that one use.

Check this article out on Female Foeticide in India

Our society is a complex of thousands of years of religious, cultural and circumstantial history. The freedom and respect for women in the vedic and post vedic periods has been eroded by successive waves of invasion and occupation, when victors treated the women of India as spoils of victory. The reaction was to put women behind ‘purdah’ by creating social norms which took away their freedom, rights and liberties, thus putting them at the mercy of men. Their visibility as intellectuals, artists, leaders and fighters disappeared. Thus, while Hindu men continued with their Devi or Goddess worship, the living devi was buried deep by these very same men.

Then here is a link provided by my blog friend Maddy:

Religion, Literacy, and the Female-to-Male Ratio in India
Vani K. Borooah and Sriya Iyer*

Against this background, the purpose of this paper is to propose a new idea: to show that, far from being independent of each other, the sex ratio and family size by
religion are highly related. At its plainest, girls in India may be least at risk with Muslim parents and most at risk with parents who are caste Hindus.


We can brush all these ideas away but as Maddy commented, gender bias is here to stay for a long time and we can continue analysing the reasons for the same. It could be because of various cultural invasions or religious orders and we cannot blame a particular religion for what is happening within that religion too.

Oh.. it is a very complex subject but we need a change.

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.

Charles Kettering

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's day and Gender unpacked





The other day our daughter studying in Class 7, asked me the following question. “Traditionally a girl child is preferred over a boy”. She was answering the True or False questions at the end of her Social Studies Lesson and she did not know the answer. She also may have been shocked to know that such issues existed in her world.

I was curious to know more about the lesson and the way it was taught. It is called “Unpacking Gender – Social Aspects” and there are two chapters devoted to this subject. This book approved by the NCERT Syllabus 2005 is one from “Milestones” which is a series of Social Studies text books for Classes 6, 7 & 8 It is by an author named Joyita Chakrabharti, Social Science Coordinator, Delhi Public School – Noida.

So finally we do have a mention of Gender inequality in our text books. At least there are attempts to bring this issue to light and create awareness. It also talks about female foeticide.

The following are some excerpts:






It concludes by saying that there is a solution with the following text:

The Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to men and women. The Direct Principles of State Policies are aiming in ensuring equal pay for men as well as women for equal work. The new Inheritance law ensures that sons, daughters and their mother get an equal share in the property. The right to Education ensures education for every boy and girl below the age of 14 years. Government is making efforts to promote education among girls so that they are aware of their rights and are given equal opportunities for progress.

I asked my daughter how this lesson was taught and she said that the male teacher just read it through and his explanation for that was that it is a general subject! Of course it is a tricky subject to be taught by a male from a male oriented society that is in India. He sure must be thinking like the rest of his counter parts:
What is wrong if women are treated second to the men? Haven’t we done it since ages? Doesn’t our religion teach us to do so? He must be also remembering his female colleagues who are teaching alongside him and wondering why they should be complaining. I think for most this subject is totally out of context and doesn’t need to be given much thought. Mainly because he is not seeing the effects personally. The same holds for a part of the female population too.

This also reminds me that today is Mother’s day and I read this article from “The Times of India” that India is a bad place to be a mum.

According to a global survey that looked at where mothers fare best and where they face the greatest hardships, India is ranked a dismal 66th among 71 "less developed countries" — only slightly better than countries like Swaziland, Papua New Guinea and Nigeria.

Is this really true or is it another of those reports to be brushed away?

And a reader comments thus: Madhavi , U.S.A , says: Indian mother is the epitome of love and sacrifice! No mother anywhere in the world can beat the love of an Indian mother. She gives and gives and expects nothing in return. She will forgo food to feed her young. She will go to any length to educate her child even if she is an illiterate. LONG LIVE INDIAN MOTHER!

Isnt this true and isnt this what the majority of Indian mothers are doing. Although I do believe Mother’s all around the globe are no different. They do a lot of sacrifice in these difficult times.

Talking about Indian mothers, she may be educated or uneducated, she may be working or not working, but she has always given the first priority to her family.

With priority comes a sacrifice too. And for working women, it becomes even more difficult since she is expected to work inside her house too. Compared to the mothers working from home (even if she is doing housework she is working since if you had hired a maid you would be paying her), those working outside may have more freedom since she is also earning. But the burden each carries is the same. I can speak for the working since I am working too. Cooking and caring for the children is expected of the mothers since most men don’t know it otherwise. Every women does it, so it why is one person complaining and getting a good maid to help around is not easy for all. But when this burden becomes too high it can lead to serious problems within the family for some.

I am not implying that all men are cruel and offer no help. There are Fathers especially in the Gulf who shares equal or more burden with the mother if the working hours of the wife are erratic. But generally speaking, I would like to agree with the Times of India report.

I guess it would take a while to get things in the right track and for a mother to be truly appreciated in this mad world of ours.

And to end this, I am sure there are many like our own son, who while reading with me the topic on Gender equality, commented thus “Umph – I think the girls are treated better than the boys in the classes” and he gave me examples too. So I should say that things are changing for the better!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mynamar

What is happening in Mynamar or old Burma is sad. International aid agencies have been stopped at the borders while the country desperately needs help. The present military junta is wary of any foreign intervention. I pray that this event changes the hardened heart of the authorities and there is a change for the better.

The following main site was last updated on May 2.




Reading about Mynamar brought to my mind its similarities to India. Burma was also under the British rule. On 4 January 1948, the nation became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first President and U Nu as its first Prime Minister. Democratic rule ended in 1962 when General Ne Win led a military coup d'├ętat. He ruled for nearly 26 years and pursued policies under the rubric of the Burmese Way to Socialism. Fight for democracy is still being suppressed and has been very violent too.

I wonder how India withstood similar problems while most of her neighbours are yet to reach stability.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sriram Savarkar getting a few facts right

I dont know who Sriram Savarkar is.. but I have been getting many forwarded emails and I have found them to be balanced and appropriate. Today I wanted to post this in reply to a comment on my blog. I believe Bush and Rice have not been fair in their judgements.

With thanks to Sriram Savarkar..


George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice are not exactly renowned for their understanding and knowledge of economics.

They do not also have a reputation of being overly sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the world's two most populous countries that together account for 40 per cent of the planet's population.

In terms of sheer crassness, however, the recent pronouncements of the two most powerful individuals in the economically most powerful nation on why food prices are rising all over the world, are difficult to beat. Bush has achieved what would seem impossible to many — he has united India's fractious political class that has, with one voice, condemned what he and his deputy have claimed.

Irrefutable facts from a wide range of sources convincingly contradict the argument that high demand for food in China and India is responsible for the recent surge in international prices of wheat, rice, corn and a range of other foods.

Data released by the Food and Agricultural Organization indicate that consumption of cereals in India and China has grown by an average of between 1.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent each year over the last two years whereas the corresponding proportion for the US is nearly 12 per cent.

There is no dearth of information to indicate that huge swathes of cultivable land in America that grows cereals — eaten by animals if not by human beings — have been diverted to produce bio-fuels.

The rise in demand for biofuels is a direct result of the rise in world prices of crude oil that are (at least, in part) a consequence of the US intervention in Iraq and before that, in Afghanistan.
Who remembers that the world price of crude oil was less than $ 25 a barrel in March 2003 when US troops entered Baghdad, against $ 115 a barrel today?

Never before in the history of mankind has the planet's energy security been so closely linked with its food security.

Inequalities in consumption levels are stark.

Pets in America receive more nutrition than a sixth of humankind.
Each cow in Europe receives more government subsidy than what at least a billion people each live on.
The difference between the US and India is that while in India one out of four people don't get enough to eat, in America, two out of three are overweight.

Bush's views could have been not just dismissed contemptuously but ignored altogether — if only he was not the President of the US.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Insolence or Indolence? but lessons to be learned.....




The comments of Bush or Rice on the increased food consumption of developing world deserves no further comments. It is not worth it. America still remains locked within its four walls but a little shocked though. It is only slowly emerging from its insolence.

When a country is progressing it is only natural that the food consumption increases and there is no way we can ask its citizens to stop or curb their craving for food so that developed nations can continue to indulge and find new means to tackle obesity. But if developed nations are using their precious grains to create fuel to maintain their SUV’s then it needs to be checked immediately. There is no use turning a blind eye to obvious facts. It is time the world leaders told their citizens in plain language to take care. Yet the fact is that developed nations still stand to gain from exports of their food grains.

As for India, it is time we took our bread more seriously. We are lacking in basic infrastructure, food being the main one. The farmers need to be treated more kindly.
Even India needs bio-fuels to meet the ever increasing price of oil but the government needs to bring strict measures so that no cultivable land meant for food grains are converted for bio-fuel needs.



In India we have the best candidate, the Jatropha tree. Goldman Sachs recently cited Jatropha curcas as one of the best candidates for future biodiesel production. I believe the best way would be to continue using the vast stretch of land by the side of our railway lines and also our national highways. I am sure this would be enough to meet a part of our energy demands. But the cultivation of such bio-fuel sources should be under the strict government supervision that will ensure that no agricultural land is converted.

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