It was the day of the 'Silent Moonless Night' when my friend Keshav and I walked and walked on a road of sand and footprints and many bridges. Perhaps a distance of six kilometres. We walked bare-feet with about a million other feet. Strangers, whose paths we may have only touched tangentially at say a traffic stop or a train station, became fellow-travellers and confidants in this walk over sand, footprints and bridges.
Pic by Keshav C
Back-stories were shared. Of how ordinary men who had committed acts of sizzling cruelty had changed after becoming sadhus. One young man told me how he had became a 'bhagoda' (a man on the run) after he'd rammed his jeep into a cop because he had beaten him up for no reason. "After that I never looked back… just drove on and on and on… when I reached home I was new person. Ready to leave everything I had known in my earlier life," he explained. After his admission to the akhara he got a new name and a new life as a sadhu. Another, Captain Baba, a veteran of three wars, too dropped everything to enter the akhara. He said the memories of the wars were driving him mad.

We walked with the sadhus. On a road especially barricaded for them. To separate them from the common devotees. And on this road they danced and sang and performed their peculiar acrobatics. It was also a show of strength and fervour. To the birds above we may have seemed like a giant snake. Blackish and sprinkled with saffron, lazily slithering towards the river. Or rivers. We were headed to where three rivers--two visible and one imagined--meet. At the water's edge our snake split into its human parts--like a powder explosion--and entered the rivers' meeting point.

"We're actually ghosts," our guide had told us the night before, "because we perform our own last rites before we become sadhus." Our guide left his home at 18 and never went back. Today he's doubled those years without any visible regrets. It's as if he's found his people in the sadhu samaj. "For us," he explained, "the past and the future both are dead. What we occupy is a strange country where the 'nowness' never ends. And this is your time to experience it... here in this 'momentary heaven'."

The dip is a ritual, that happens every 12 years. It's smaller version happens every six and is called the Ardh Kumbh or the 'Half Urn'. The story goes that drops from the celestial urn fell at a few places during a grabfest between the gods and the demons. There are four places in India that host the Kumbh and the Ardh Kumbh in their 12 and 6-year cycles. This year the Ardh Kumbh was in Allahabad. And we were there for the big dip on January 19th, the day of the Silent Moonless Night or Mauni Amavasya.

The day when a million sins are washed away by a single dip.

a.k.a. Club 144, Lounge 144, 144, Club Nine, Club of Niners, Where Else? and the house of our remote control-freak friend Sanjoganand Shastri, in more peaceful times...

This is where we meet to dwell upon the world and its problems while tapping foot to African Experience on VH1's Internet radio and drinking a 22-year old sake straight from the bottle over glasses broken by the force of arguments alone with friends from Barcelona, Tehran, Tel Aviv and a remote village in Chad as the college kids outside dance to the music of a film called Dhoom and Bitti in the other room chants Om Namo Ringye for world peace.


I have always been fascinated with eyes. Actually the single eye! Have been drawing them since I was old enough to hold a pencil. And yet strangely I don't like to be looked at. The eye, on paper or any other material, gives a living dimension to it. It's almost as if consciousness has been breathed into a non-living thing.
This one's made in microsoft PAINT. And it's called PhospHorus because it glows and looks like a falcon about to sweep down on you...

Boo!
(Pic by Sahar Z)

About 75 years ago the National Socialists in Germany set up a unique 'organisation' called the Forschungs-und Lehrgemeinschaft das Ahnenerbe (or the Ancestral Heritage Research and Teaching Society). Presided over by SS chief Heinrich Himmler, the Ahnenerbe's brief was to establish the superiority of the Aryan race through an "education offensive". It was also to seek historical and spiritual justification for the inconceivable horrors that were to follow in the name of racial superiority. On hindsight the Ahnenerbe's claims of a near-mythic 'Aryan race' may seem laughable. But the German nation under the Third Reich had suspended disbelief. All thanks to a powerful propaganda machinery that mixed facts and fantasy so immaculately and at such breakneck speeds that even the best minds were left wondering.

The Ahnenerbe insisted that Germanic Aryans, a superior race of 'blue-eyed and blond' people, were humanity's cat's whiskers. The Ahnenerbe's white supermen most resembled the dazzlingly gifted 'Thule-Hyperboreans' or as some versions put it: the god-men of the now-lost island of Atlantis. In other words these people had unlimited rights to consumption and rulership, especially in the racial wasteland that the world had become because of the 'Jewish vermin'.

These distinguished supermen--Himmler and his team of 'scholars' were trying to prove through various unorthodox means, which also included the use of calipers to measure noses--were the rightful rulers of a world civilization. The Ahnenerbe's role was not merely to serve as a research organisation but to be a precursor to a new religion of the Third Reich. A religion based on extreme exclusivism (broadly excluding not only the world's Jewry but a large part of humanity itself). The Ahnenerbe was to 'replace' traditional Christianity's deference to the Jews as the 'chosen people' with a new twist.

The Ahnenerbe was to leave no stone unturned in its effort to achieve this. And its vast charter encompassed such diversities as Tibetan Buddhism, runic divination, the Samurai code of honour, Lutheran discipline and Darwinian eugenics. The Ahnenerbe also sought to anoint Hitler as some sort of an elite world messiah, whose coming was prophesied in the scriptures of various religions. An expedition to Tibet in 1938-39 was in effect to achieve a sort of occultic approval of Hitler's regime and its grand plan of a Nazi world domination.

Now let's cut to the present. While Bush & Co have no 'stated' agenda of world domination yet. Their mechanisms are quite similar to that of the Ahnenerbe, a role into which the mainstream media in America has slipped quite effortlessly. Yes, the reality of the 1930s is much different from what we have now. But so is the manipulation of public opinion. What is passed on to the American public as incontrovertible fact is in fact 'customised truth' or truth selectively bleeped to highlight only the good and the beautiful.

This present dispensation has put FEAR in the minds of the American public. It has put America in a position of defense and hostility towards the rest of the world. This is exactly how the National Socialists made their foothold firm in the German psyche. The Ahnenerbe was also used to weed out dissent and doubters among the German intelligentsia.

George W. Bush is telling his people that the world is a very unsafe place. 'You never know where a terrorist may be lurking. Don't believe anyone who tells you that terrorists are human. Because they are not. They are just the scum of the earth. Don't ask what they're fighting against? Or why? Or who made them terrorists in the first place?'

Just smoke 'em out!

9/11 has been compared to the Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the comparison is not too far-fetched. Because it gave Bush & Co a larger-than-life enemy in whose name they could bomb any and everyone they didn't like. We are living in times very similar to the Germany of the 1930s. We are also living in very dangerous times. Because most of us don't even know who the real bad guys are.

America has begun a process of sinister Ahnenerbification. First create ghetto nations, using a fast and effective public opinion machinery. Then use your vast and unlimited powers to bomb the hell out of these ghettos.

So till yesterday if you thought Somalia was a poor country tottering on the edge of survival, today you stand corrected. It's a country of terrorists. How long before the world's Muslims have to wear star and crescent armbands!

I am with the Vatican on this one: you cannot right one crime with another.

And I am getting more and more convinced of America's fear and loathing of Great Beards or leaders with any sort of facial hair. Especially this past century, where most of America's bogeymen sported either a beard or a moustache, even if it was as meagre as Hitler's. Perhaps it has something to do with being 'clean-cut' and 'American'. Or perhaps there is some sort of a deep Oedipal Complex at work here: America distrusts any kind of patriarchy, which the beard sort of symbolizes, especially if you've grown up on The Ten Commandments and Samson and Delilah.

America is suspicious of leaders who do not have a written mandate as seen through the ballot box but who have arrived with the mandate of the heart: felt by the people but largely unwritten and therefore not quantifiable in numbers (which if the Bush re-election is any evidence is not above board either). And American notions of Democracy certainly do not extend beyond its borders as was evident in the presidential "with us or against us" call to war of 2001.

I also see the informed globe steeped in an idiotic frenzy. Especially if you see the headlines since America's latest bogeyman went to the gallows. There is talk of investigating the filming of his last moments… how anal is that! What about investigating the 'investigations' that went on in the name of the trial and the summary sentence and execution of the man. How about investigating the man who sent 3000 of his troops to die in an alien country just because he wanted to avenge an assassination attempt on his father? The numbers are certainly more than those Saddam was executed for. News reports since the execution are being adjectified with words like 'ruthless', 'most hated' and 'anti-western' when in truth all of them are nothing but propagandistic exaggerations. If Saddam was ruthless, so were Alexander (whom western historians called 'the Great'), Caesar, Elizabeth I and Catherine (also 'the Great') and more recently George W Bush who rubbished reports of civilian deaths and casualties as "collateral damage" for the great war. 'Most hated'? I don't know, perhaps an opinion poll of the Iraqi people would say more clearly. He was certainly not anti-western as he headed the only state in the Persian Gulf not run by the Sharia and which had a western-style legal system.

News channels (most of the English ones being either American or British) are tireless in showing file pictures of Saddam's statues being pulled down and people celebrating with fire from AK47s, while quietly forgetting the anger and resentment evident in daily bomb attacks by armed Iraqi militias. Why are the people attacking American troops if they are so happy with the 'liberation' that they have brought about? The intent for future mischief is also evident in America installing a Shi'ite government in a Sunni dominated country. Divide and rule has been the defining credo of 20th century colonialists and it continues with America and its Allies.

Today, after four days of reflection over the way Saddam walked to his death I see America as a country with the heart and morals of a street whore. She's cheap. She sticks by none. Loves none. And she will lie through her teeth to save her skin.

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As an art practitioner I work in a variety of mediums, what you see here are glimpses of my many creative projects. If you like or feel strongly something here please don't forget to comment

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