Thinking of Toilets

The famous Bill Gates shared a post recently on LinkedIn that the reinvented toilets are a part of 6 billion dollars annual opportunity for companies that are first to market. And also that they have a potential to save millions of lives. Impressive, huh?

Thinking of toilets:

In recent times, for myriad reasons, toilets have found a huge fan base. They seem to inspire/break love stories and marriages. In India, popular bollywood movies are produced on this topic.

Now Bill Gates is quoting that the new toilets will save humanity. Iam sure Bill is trying to help a good cause here.

In India, talented Vidya Balan(Indian movie actress) has been reminding everyone on TV and movie halls about toilets in Hindi language saying “Jahan Soch, Wahan Souchalay”. 🙂

Toilets seem to have been churning more thoughts inside our brains than they were needed after churning of food in our stomachs.

On a more serious note, I think we need to start differentiating the real needs from the popular sentiments in this issue.

Toilets are a huge price we are already paying as a civilization with “rapid urbanization” in the world.

Solutions for cities and villages got to be different and focused on the specific needs instead of blind copy.

For obvious lifestyle reasons, urban toilets are designed mainly for comfort and hygiene than personal health and ecosystem.

People living in urban cities have no other option than build toilets in each home so that the human waste is not out there on the concrete streets causing inconvenience and spreading diseases.

Urban areas do need proper sewage and drainage systems. Or maybe the new electrical incinerators or some other fancier solutions. Irrespective, we do need to get that shit out of our way because it has no other way to get out.

But we perhaps need to look at villages in a different way.

Human waste is a natural locally available compost useful for the ecosystem in those villages. It may even help reduce use of chemical fertilizers.

Idea of people going to a near by agricultural-field to relieve themselves isn’t necessarily always a bad or shameful thing. It may indeed be a very noble cause in being part of and contributing to the ecosystem.

We can use world’s largest incinerator (Sun) and the earthen outfield if planned properly by village administration. Many varieties of insects and scavengers also ensure this completely biodegradable stuff goes out sooner.

Obviously we need toilets in villages for those who truly need it, like old and infirm. Including, for use at nights or whenever convenience and safety demands that they need to use a toilet.

Obviously these days we hear the added threat for ladies going alone into the fields. The security issues certainly needs to be addressed. Sometimes i feel why this has become a more serious problem only in recent times. One needs to truly understand and rectify the real reasons behind this ethics issue than blaming it on just the toilet.

Villages fortunately are not same as the concrete urban jungles. In villages, the human waste gets used up locally by natural ecosystem and doesn’t spill into pathways unlike the concrete roads in the urban jungles.

As part of my travels, I had variety of experiences. I remember using some insanely advanced toilet. It had a heated seat and remote controlled water jets that are supposed to automatically clean your bottom. I grew up using both Indian and Western style commodes. During some trips, I had to go into wild to relieve myself. Each experience was different with their own benefits, comforts and challenges.

Obviously those of us who adopted the urban toilet lifestyle will find it horrible when nature calls us in a rural area. Believe me I have been there. Imagine the plight of squatting, if one happen to be wearing denims on that day.

So with all empathy, i have a few questions.

Don’t you think we need to look at this toilet problem a little differently based on the actual people needs and lifestyle?

Don’t we need to think before we create solutions like built-in electric incinerators and create long term overheads and newer problems in societies?

Why are we proposing to destroy a eco-friendly compost?

Don’t we need to promote more natural, sustainable solutions at least where possible like villages?

Cities and Rapid urbanization challenges are a different matter. But solutions also need to address a different problem than the reinvention of toilet alone. What do you think?

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Sardar, Operation Polo and My Grandmother

Today Prime Minister of India is unveiling a tall statue of a tall leader, Iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. There are several discussions on his legacy.

Sardar, no doubt, is the architect of modern administratively integrated geographical India and deserves a huge respect from every Indian.

Everytime i read about Sardar, i reminisce my childhood. As a child, i grew up listening to many first hand personal stories of India’s freedom struggle and Operation Polo from my grandmother. Both the happy and dreaded feelings living in the erstwhile Hyderabad state post 1947.

This is my humble blog relating my perspectives connecting Sardar, Operation Polo and my paternal grandmother.

My grandmother’s stories always fascinated me since she had personally lived through those times and had a first hand experience with diverse perspectives. So let me digress for a bit about her life.

Before you start thinking if she was some great public/political leader, let me tell you that she was a simple god-fearing housewife in Wanaparthy samsthanam, a vassal of erstwhile Hyderabad state under Nizam.

She was the daughter and daughter-in-law of orthodox Brahmin landlord families and was also a distant cousin of the freedom fighter and first elected Chief Minister of liberated Hyderabad state, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao. She was married to Kovuru Venkateshwar Rao (my namesake), an english convent educated lawyer (vakalat) turned philosopher with deep spiritual and secular beliefs who translated Bhagavad-Gita into Parsi and Quoran into Telugu for the good of both the communities.

She was a varacious reader. She read numerous books on diverse topics while giving me company and at times competing 😀🙏 while i studied for my exams. I never dared/cared to ask her academic credentials (not very high given the social norms of those days), since as far as I am concerned she was a living University. My best schooling was when i was listening to her.

May be such diverse family background coupled with her interesting story-telling abilities helped her bring unique perspectives and capture the imagination of my young mind.

When talking about India’s Independence movement, she often recalled those anxious moments they spent in post 1947 erstwhile Hyderabad state being concerned not just for the safety of their immediate family but the entire extended families of many villages in that area.

She often described the sigh of relief and happiness from villagers when they were told that “Indian Union” flights are hovering on their heads assuring them of their safety.

She would also talk about how they used to work to prepare India flags with saree and any available cloth material. She proudly described the audacity and the fearlessness inspired by the ideals of leaders in those times.

Then she would go on to joyfully describe the festive atmosphere in their homes when they joined with the rest of India in celebrating the liberation and independence.

Thanks to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the Operation Polo who played a major role in shaping the destiny and uniting it with rest of India. No words will be enough to describe the gratitude of all these citizens.

IMHO, this land of India and its people were always united by its philosophical, spiritual, cultural ethos from time immemorial irrespective of the rulers.

I personally don’t subscribe to the modern historians view that “India” is a British/post 1947 Independence creation. The name may be. But it was always a living cultural entity, perhaps not as an integrated administrative unit owing to the political compulsions and issues of local governance.

I do sometimes think that India should have still used the federal governance structure than the Union model on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s Grama Swaraj model of governance. But i rest that discussion for another day.

In prehistoric/mythological terms, we hear about Bharata Khanda which included Vanga, Kalinga, Dravida, Telungu, Andhra, Tripura, Naga, Dwaraka, Avanti, Kamboja, Parasurama Kshetra and other places including all corners of modern India. Even today, every Hindu ritual starts with people mentioning Bharata Khanda in the beginning (Sankalpam).

In more recent history from 2000+ years ago, northern King Chandragupta Maurya seem to have moved to Karnataka in South where he breathed his last. Again his grandson Asoka pillars exist all across modern day India. We have mostly northern philosophies of Jainism and Buddhism and monasteries in interior parts of South India.

Centuries ago, Adisankara born in Kerala (South) travelled to Kashmir (North) and then crisscrossed the entire Indian landmass and could relate to people across all these areas and vice-versa.

Likewise, Ramanuja(Tamilnadu in South), Chaitanya(Bengal in East), Ramananda/Kabir/ Tulsidas/Ravidas(UP in North).

The list just goes on..

Obviously Sardar(Gujarat in West) helped give administrative integrity as well to this in the modern times and no less considered as our very own here in Hyderabad( Telangana in South).

None of us can ever forget Sardar’s contribution in building current administrative land of India, a successful completion of his Karma in this spiritual land.

*****

This is a spiritual land where the people were taught from their childhood in Gurukul (school) about Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (World as one family). Also every child was taught about Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu (Let All become Happy), Samasta Loka Sukhino Bhavantu (Let All worlds including and beyond Earth become Happy)

They were taught to internalize
सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु
मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत्
शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

which means to say,

May all be happy. May all be free from illness. May all realize what is auspicious. May none be subject to misery. Let there be peace in all three aspects – Inner Self, Physical Environment and Metaphysical realms.

*******

ఆచార్య దినోత్సవ శుభాకాంక్షలు

సనాతన ధర్మాచరణలో ముఖ్యమయినది కర్మానుష్టానము.

ఈ కర్మానుష్టానమునకు ఉపకరణము దశేంద్రియ మనోబుద్ధ్యహంకారచిత్తమైన భౌతికకాయము.

దీనికి సంస్కరణపరులు మాతాపితృలు, ఆచార్యులు, బంధువులు, సన్నిహితులు, అతిథులు.

వీరంతా సదా మాననీయులు.

🙏🙏

తైత్తిరీయ ఉపనిషత్తులో చెప్పినట్లు

మాతృ దేవోభవ పితృ దేవోభవ
ఆచార్య దేవోభవ అతిథి దేవోభవ

భౌతిక ప్రపంచ జ్ఞానమందించిన వారందరూ ఆచార్యులే. అట్టి ఆచార్యులందరూ కూడా ముమ్మాటికీ దేవతా మూర్తులే.

అట్టి ఆచార్యులని గౌరవించటమే ధర్మనిరతి.

🙏🙏

ఇక ఆత్మ జ్ఞానమందించు గురువు త్రిమూర్తి స్వరూపుడైన సాక్షాత్ పరబ్రహ్మమే.

గురు బ్రహ్మ గురు విష్ణుః
గురు దేవో మహేశ్వరః
గురు సాక్షాత్ పరబ్రహ్మ

🙏🙏

ఇది మన సనాతన సంస్కృతి.

ధర్మో రక్షతి రక్షితః👌

Not everything that comes out of science labs is the right thing in the long run.

Specially in case of food and healthcare, which directly impact the human and ecological wellbeing, long term effects have to be understood.

Unfortunately short-term business benefits are driving the introduction of half baked ideas into markets under the guise of “scientific progress”.

Introduction of new chemicals whether for crops or humans without a wholesome study is a fundamental cause of several health and ecological problems in the world today.

Introduction of new food types (like insects under the guise of protein needs) to a population whose genetic makeup may not be suitable (questionable studies of long term effects) is just another example.

https://www-moneycontrol-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/companies/california-verdict-on-monsantos-roundup-could-have-india-implications-2833791.html/amp

Hit Refresh

My in-laws are moving to another home this week. This morning i enquired with my mother-in-law about the progress of the packing. She said it is pretty much done since a lot of junk that got piled up over the years has been discarded now. She was happy that the moving process helped them clear unnecessary junk that got piled up over the years.

It got me thinking. Isn’t it the same with our lives in general as well?

Continue reading “Hit Refresh”

Concept of Age

This last weekend Sharadakka (my cousin sister) and Prahlad bava/mama(story behind two relations for another day😀) visited us.

While chatting on several topics, the discussion moved to the Lord Padmanabha swamy’s picture in our living room.

The picture of Lord Padmanabha is always a blissful sight for me for several reasons. One of it is that it shows all three of the Hindu holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara) in one frame depicting ‘oneness’.

Our discussion steered towards ‘old age’ and related issues. All the while my mind was contemplating on that picture of Vishnu(the omnipresent) in the form of Padmanabha.

The picture was divine with young resplendent Vishnu in a reclining yoganidra(cosmic sleep) posture on adisesha(the snake). Brahma sitting in a lotus that sprang forth from the navel of Vishnu. Maheswara is present in his linga form.

Vishnu is shown as young while his ‘son’ Brahma is shown as an old man. Is it a contradiction?

Continue reading “Concept of Age”

Ah.. Statistics.. Statistics.. and damn Statistics..

This morning i open the newspaper in India only to find another one of those damn statistical reports covering

Continue reading

Automobile

At the time Internal Combustion engine was invented about a century ago, there was a good use of electric cars. It is interesting to note that about 1/3 of all cars (though a small number) sold in USA were supposedly electric.

But Mr. Benz and Mr. Ford shaped the automobile industry with gasoline powered IC engines, and it all changed since then. In the past century automobile has become an essential daily use machine. But now people love to hate its technology because of pollution, choice of fuel among others.

Now a century later, we have come a full circle.

Continue reading “Automobile”

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