Monthly Archives: March 2014

Happy Ugadi

From all of us at ACP, in this Sri Jaya Nama Samvatsara we wish you a happy and prosperous (Telugu) New Year.  Ugadi Subakaankshalu!

Ugadi comes from the Sanskrit term Yuga Adi, or new era.

Typical greetings include: Nutana Samvatsara Subakaankshalu or Ugadi Subakaankshalu.

While the Gujarati calendar celebrates New Year on/around Deepavali, and the Solar Tamil Calendar a few weeks after us, the Telugu (and Kannada/Marathi) New Year is based on the sidereal calendar (combination of Lunar, Solar and Stellar positions), and begins on this day.

Today we celebrate the arrival of the year 5116 (Kali Yuga reckoning), which is named Sri Jaya (last year was Vijaya Nama Samvatsara), in this 27th Chaturyuga of the 7th Manvantara (Vaivasvata) in Sveta Varaha Kalpa.

Traditions:

Mamidi-Toranaalu: Mango leaf arch (main entrance)

The Mamidi Thoranam, or Mango Arch, is a welcome and festive sign of auspiciousness.

Muggulu (Rangoli)

File:Rangoli at Hyderabad 01.jpgFile:Rangoli.jpg

Muggu, or Rangoli, is the traditional art of rice flower designing.  It is a colorful technique that is frequently raised to high levels of visual splendor.

Kotha battalu (New Clothes)

It is customary on this day for parents to provide children new clothes in observance of the New Year. Young couples in particular are called to the house and given these and other such gifts.

Ugaadi Pacchadi (an amuse bouche consisting of the 6 flavors):

Every family has its own special recipe for Ugaadi Pacchadi (a savoury chutney), but the primary components are the same. The Shadruchulu (theepi (sweet), pulupu(sour), chhedu (bitter), uppu (salt), kaaram (spice), gaatu (tang) are used to represent the various emotions (or flavors of life) that we feel over the course of the year. The traditional view is that whatever flavor we first taste signifies the nature of the year ahead. Some families like to game the system and pour an inordinate amount of sweet into theirs!

Typically, the following ingredients are used: Banana (for sweet, representing happiness), Neem (bitter, representing sadness),  Salt (saltiness, signifying fear),  Chilli powder (spice, signifying anger),  Tamarind (sour, representing disgust), & Mango (tang, representing surprise).

Traditional delicacies Ugadi Pachadi and Pulihora

Ingredients

  • Raw mango with skin, finely chopped:1 cup
  • Neem flowers: 1 tsp
  • Grated Jaggery: 1 cup
  • Coconut pieces, finely chopped: 1 tsp
  • Tamarind pulp: 4 tsp
  • Red chilli powder as required
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Mix all ingredients together with little water and serve.
  • Small pieces of sugarcane, piece of ripe banana, roasted gram dal can also be added.

Reference: “Relish a festive fare”. The Hindu. April 7, 2008

Temple

It is customary for Andhra families to go to the Temple on Ugadi day to get Divine blessings for the year. Panchanga Sravanam is also done after darsana.

Panchanga Sravanam (Raasee Phalaalu)

 Panchanga Sravana is the recitation of astrological charts for the year. The charts (Raasee Phalaalu) are used to help guide people in making their decisions based on the influence of cosmic energy in the Universe. Whether you believe in astrology or not, it has nevertheless become a tradition.

Food:

As always, we Andhras specialize in eating, before other aspects of celebration. Here are the main items in a standard Ugadi Festival Menu:

  • Ugadi Pacchadi
  • Mamidikaaya Pulihora
  • Garelu
  • Payasam
  • Bhoorelu
  • Laddoo
  • Kajjikaaya

 

We wish you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year (and a pacchadi full of jaggery! ).

KondaBulletin on Kondabolu

Many of you may recall our previous post on Andhra’s own Hari Kondabolu–American stand up comedian extraordinaire.

We just wanted to give you an update on his professional success, since the FX show Unbiased ended.

Hari has been touring the country quite a bit, doing stand up. He also just launched his first comedy Album Waiting for 2042. He will be appearing on David Letterman’s TV program tomorrow. Tune into CBS this Wednesday to see him on the Late Show and buy his new album here.

You can also follow him on twitter.

Hari is not your average run-of-the-mill comedian. He doesn’t just go for cheap laughs based on his background–in fact, he explicitly argues against them–even parodies them. His no-holds-barred take on race and socio-economic injustice may not be your brand of politics, it may even make you squirm on occasion, but one thing we can all agree on, it will definitely make you consider a fresh perspective, and laugh while you’re at it. In the great tradition of George Carlin, he uses humor to draw you in, but his stand-up act to make you think.

Good luck, Mr. Kondabolu. We’re all eagerly Waiting for 2015 to see how your career grows.

 

Vivaha Bhojanambu (Non-Veg Edition)

Click to See Video

Hi everybody.  I know it has been a rough few weeks to all true lovers of Undivided Andhra. Therefore, I thought I would lighten the mood with something that always makes people happy…FOOD !!!

 On special request from Nripathi himself my previous veg Vivaha Bhojanambu post –and despite my own family’s vegetarianism –I have composed an authentic Andhra non-veg menu 😯 . Recipes were given to me by friends and are original.

Per site motto (and our own correct history and literature), “Andhra cuisine” applies for all three regions of historical Andhra rashtra (Telangana, Kosta, and Rayalaseema). Perhaps when tempers have cooled, I will start doing regional variations again…. 😉

Menu:

Appetizer

  • Palakura Vadalu
  • Royyala Vepadu

Entree

  • Chintapandu Rasam w/ Basmati Rice
  • Gongura Mamsam
  • Royyalu Koora
  • Chaapala Pulusu
  • Kodi Koora
  • Kodi Vepadu
  • Chappala Vepadu
  • Palakura Pappu
  • Cabbage Koora
  • Perugu Annam w/ Uragayya

Beverage

  • Theeya Nimma Rasam
  • Majjiga w/ Allam

Dessert

  • Kakinada Kaaja
  • Kova Kajjikayya

 

Andhra Nonveg Thaali

Appetizer

Palakura Garelu(Spinach Vadas)

Recipe:

  • 1 cup Urad dal
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Spinach
  • 1 tsp grated Ginger
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 2 finely chopped Green Chillies

Method:

Soak urad dal for 2 hours and then blend. It has to be thick not watery (you should be able to make balls with the paste). Place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and salt to taste. Then add 1 cup oil in a frying pan. When the oil is heated then take make and place vada balls (with hole in middle) and flatten on moistened wax paper. Then gently side into heated oil. Cook on medium heat. When golden brown, then strain vadas out and place on paper towel to soak out oil. Serve with tomato chutney–ideal for 4.

 

Royyala Vepadu (Shrimp fritters)

indian shrimp recipe

 

Recipe:

  • 10 Large Tiger Shrimp
  • 2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 1 cup chopped Onions
  • 2 chopped Green Chillies
  • 1/2 tsp Dhania (Coriander) powder
  • 1 tbsp Rice Flour
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Clean the Shrimp thoroughly and salt to preserve. Apply turmeric. Then add ginger-garlic paste and red chilli powder. Then place in a vessel, pour  water and then boil until it is well cooked. Then take a separate pan add oil and fry onions until Golden Brown. Then add dhania powder.

Then add cooked Shrimp to the frying pan. Fry for a while until it turns golden brown. Sprinkle rice flour. Sprinkle coriander.

 

Entree  

Chintapandu Rasam (Tamarind Rasam) w/ Basmati Rice

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup Tamarind pulp
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp Oil
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Red Chillies (dried)
  • Cilantro

 

Method:

Take pulp and set aside in a cup. Then in a vessel, add oil , then mustard seeds, urad dal,  methi (fenugreek) and fry all. When it starts to crackle then pour tamarind pulp and add 1 cup water. Then add crushed garlic 2 pods. Then add 2 red chillies. Then boil. Salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

Gongura Mamsam (Roselle Leaf Mutton)

Recipe:

  • 1/4 kilo Mutton
  • 2 cups Gongura/Roselle Leaves
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 3 Green Chillies
  • 2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 3 tsp Cooking Oil

Method:

Clean and cut the Mutton into cubes. Pressure cook mutton with ginger-garlic paste and turmeric powder. After 2nd whistle, turn cooker off. Finely chop Gongura leaves. Add chopped onions into frying pan with oil. Slit green chillies and place in pan with Gongura. Fry until de-colorization. Add water and to the pan and close the lid for 5 minutes.

Then add pressure cooked mutton to frying pan with garam masala and red chilli powder. Mix and add salt. Close the lid again and ensure that mutton is cooked and sauce congeals. Garnish with kothimeera (cilantro). Serves 4.

 

Royyalu Koora (Andhra Shrimp Curry) prawn-fry

Recipe:

  • 1 lb Shrimp
  • 1 chopped Onion
  • 2 large Bay Leaves
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 4 large Garlic Pods
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 small Green Chillies
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder (Dhania)
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala

Method:

Grate Ginger and Garlic and blend into a paste. Place it and remaining ingredients in large stir fry vat.  Cook until shrimp and gravy are deep brown. Serves 6.

Kodi Koora (Andhra Chicken Curry)

Recipe:

  • 4 Chicken drumsticks
  • 1/2 lb Boneless chicken
  • 2 tsp Dhania powder
  • 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 cup sliced Onions
  • 4 Green Chillies sliced
  • 1/4 chopped Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 Bay leaf

Method:

Clean the chicken and cut as needed. Place  oil and bay leaf and fry. Then add ginger-garlic paste and turmeric–continue to fry. Then add red chilli powder. Finally, place chicken and fry. Then add water and stir well and place the lid on for 5 min. Then add dhania powder and garam masala and fry for a while again. Then cover lid again and cook for 3-5 min. Then add salt to taste. Check if chicken is cooked well, then garnish with cilantro.

Nellore Chaapala pulusu (Fish in Andhra Tamarind Sauce)

http://anushabarrela.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/nell_fp-e1335090274156.jpg

While Chaapala vepadu (fish fry) is considered a delicacy in and of itself, I have selected pulusu for this menu as it is a unique Andhra specialty that uses a Tamarind sauce–which will pair well with the Tamarind Rasam.

Recipe:

  • 1 lb your choice of fish (i.e. Korameen, Catfish, Salmon)
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 4 Green Chillies
  • 5 tbp chopped Cilantro
  • 4 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 Thick Tamarind Pulp
  • 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Rice flour
  • 1 tbsp oil to fry
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Clean the fish and place in a bowl. Take a separate vessel and place the oil in it, as well as chopped onions and slit green chillies and fry all. Then place ginger-garlic paste, and fry that as well. Add fish pieces and lightly fry.  Pour Tamarind (chintapandu) pulp, and add 1/2 cup water. Then add turmeric and red chilli powder. Add salt to taste and curry leaves.

When it all starts boiling, gently add fish pieces. Boil on slow fire for 5 minutes, and cover with lid. Make a rice flour paste in a separate cup.  Add to fish pulusu and stir it gently. You will see pulusu thicken and ready to eat.  Garnish with cilantro.Serves 4.

 

Kodi Vepadu (Andhra Chicken Fry)

Recipe:

  • 1 lb Chicken (preferably boneless)
  • 1 Large Bay leaf
  • 2 chopped Onions
  • 5 cloves Garlic + I inch grated ginger (make paste)
  • 1/2 ssp Cumin
  • 3/4 ssp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 ssp Turmeric
  • 1 ssp Chilli Powder

Method:

First fry bay leaf, onions, and ginger-garlic paste. After few minutes, add cumin through turmeric. Finally add Chicken and fry for at least 10 minutes. Serves 5.

 

Chaapala Vepadu (Andhra Fish Fry)

Recipe:

  • 1 lb Catfish fillets
  • 5 cloves Garlic + 1 Onion (Blend)
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 clove Cardamom
  • 1 ssp Turmeric
  • 1 and 1/2 ssp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala

 

Method:

Clean and salt fish fillets and place in corning ware bowl. After blending onion and garlic in one paste, and ginger, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and turmeric in another paste pour over fish fillets. Marinate in fridge for several hours (3-6 hours at least) with aluminium sheet covering. After marinating, place in over with sheet cover still on. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove sheet during last 5 minutes so gravy will congeal. Mint stalk optional. Serves 5.

(Phew, that was a LOT of meat items–especially for a vegetarian!  surprised. Here are some Veg entrees to balance out the rajas with some sattva smile )

 

Palakura Pappu (Spinach Dal)

 Spinach-Garlic Dal with Rice

Recipe:

  • 1 cup Toor Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Urad dal
  • 5 Curry leaves
  • 3 Green Chillies
  • 1 pinch Turmeric
  • 1/2 cup Water
  •  Cooking Oil

Method:

Cook Toor dal in pressure cooker and then mash well. Cook spinach in a separate vessel (moistened with oil) with  mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin, curry leaves, and green chillies. Fry well and then add chopped spinach. Add a pinch of turmeric and fry again. Add water (or as much for preferred consistency). When the spinach changes from dark green to a lighter shade, then add cook Toor dal.  Stir well then add salt to taste. Serves 4.

 

Cabbage Koora

 

Recipe:

  • 2 cup finely chopped Cabbage
  • 3 tbsp Coconut powder
  • 1 tbsp Channa dal
  • 4 Green Chillies
  • 5 tbsp chopped Onion
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp Urad
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 4 pods of Garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Oil

Method:

Pour oil in a vessel. Add mustard, urad, channa dal, and cumin, and fry well. Then add green chillies, crushed garlic, and onions. Then add curry leaves and cabbage. Then fry on a slow fire. No water. When it is well cooked. Sprinkle with coconut powder. Serves 6.

Chikkudu Kayya koora (Green Beans Curry)

Recipe:

  •  1 pkg Green Beans
  • 1 ssp Turmeric
  • 1/2 ssp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 ssp Cumin + 4 Cloves Garlic (Crush together w/ Mortar & Pestle)
  • 1/2 ssp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 ssp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 Chopped Onion
  • Salt to Taste
  • Grated Coconut for Presentation

Method:

Sautee for 10-15 minutes. Serves 5.

Perugu Annam (Yogurt Rice)

No Andhra meal is complete without a required (some would write “medically” before that…hee hee) serving of yogurt, to cool the stomach. Yogurt rice is a standard offering at the end of a meal. Recommended with Gongura pickle.

Daddojanam, Thair Sadam, Dahi Chawal or Curd Rice

Recipe:

  • 2 cups Yogurt
  • 1 cup cooked Rice
  •  1 tsp Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Urad dal
  •  pinch of Asafoetida
  • 2 green Chillis chopped
  • 1 dried Red chili
  • 5 Curry leaves

Method:

Cook rice and slightly mash it. Heat oil and fry mustard seeds until they crack, then add dal and remaining ingredients. When dal becomes brown—garnish mix with mixed yogurt rice. Salt to taste. Add coriander to garnish.

Side Dishes

Vadeeyaalu

Find In store!

 

Beverage

Lemon drink with Honey (Theeya Nimma Rasam)

Nothing complements a hot, meat heavy meal better than some lemon juice. This Andhra style lemonade is the ideal side drink for your Andhra Mamsa Vindu.

Recipe:

  • 4 Lemons
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups Cold Water

Method:

Squeeze the lemons into a cup. Stir and even beat honey with lemon juice. Then mix with water. Serves 4.

Majjiga Allam (Buttermilk w/ Ginger) and Karave Paaku (curry leaves)

Indian Yogurt, Ginger and Kavvam

After all that rajasic food, digestion is very important. Nothing cools the stomach while making it healthier than some buttermilk with ginger. Have this wonderful drink at the end of the meal.

Dessert

Kakinada Kaaja

 

Recipe:

  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Maida (all purpose flour)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 and 1/2 cup Water for Syrup (paakam)
  • 5 tbsp of Melted Ghee
  • 5 pods Cardamom
  • 1 cup Oil

Method:

Prepare dough by adding ghee and water to flour. Once dough is made, keep it aside for 35 minutes. Prepare syrup by boiling sugar for few minutes. When it has reached a boil then remove it and add crushed cardamom powder. Then keep it aside.

Kneed the dough well and divide into even balls (the size of small limes). Then flatten like a puri and apply ghee. Roll the puri and then press each piece to create layers of varying depth. Then heat the oil. When it is ready, drop the dough pieces gently. Cook on medium. When it is golden brown, then drop them in sugar syrup. Repeat with each batch. Then leave in syrup for 15 minutes and place on clean plate to dry.

 

Kova Kajjikayya

Recipe:

Filling (poornam):

  •  1 and ½ cup powdered Jaggery
  • 2 cups powdered Coconut
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • 2 pods Elatchi (cardamom) powder

Mix powdered Coconut with  powdered Jaggery or Brown Sugar. Add Milk to wet this. Place on non-stick pan until it thickens. Then add elatchi  powder, no shells.

Shell:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp Rosewater
  • 1 and ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk powder

Method:

Make balls of desired size. Keep aside in a plate.Put shell ingredients in a vessel and stir in slow fire until it becomes thick. It should congeal. Then turn off and let it cool. Take kova ball and press it on wax paper to make puri. Then put a ball of coconut filling. It should cover whole filling, but can be oval or spherical. I prefer oval. If shell starts to crack or harden, use milk to soften.

 

And there we have it ladies and gents–a true Telugu Nonveg Thaali–that’s “thaali” not “Thalli”   biggrin. With all those varieties, it is an Authentic Andhra Vindu for Mamsaharis.  I hope Nripathi appreciates me putting aside my veggie sensibilities to put this together    cool. Enjoy!–or as we say in acchu Telugu:

Kadupaara Bhujinchandi!

 

Knowledge vs Wisdom

This is my first full fledged post for Andhra Cultural Portal, and I thank Pathi gaaru for giving me this opportunity. This would be a rather short post, not a very long one, just wanted to share some thoughts of mine.  This has to do with a rather interesting story from the Panchatantra. Now personally, I felt the Panchatantra had a lot to offer regarding wisdom or insights into the human mind. Those seemingly simple morality tales in the Panchatantra, carried a lot more meaning and wisdom, than any bulky text.

Once upon a time, there was a Rishi, who had 5 disciples, 4 of them were very intelligent, while the 5th was just about average. The 4 intelligent disciples, often looked down upon the 5th one, calling him a fool. The Rishi taught them the Sanjeevani mantra, which they could use to bring a dead living being back to life.

When their education was over, the 5 of them decided to move out to the world and make their living. As they passed through a thick forest, they saw the skeleton of a lion. The 4 intelligent disciples, felt it would be a good idea to test their knowledge of the Sanjeevani, on the lion’s carcass. The 5th not so intelligent disciple, was however aghast at the idea, warning them that it was a lion and would attack them. The 4 intelligent disciples, however ridiculed him, saying he was a fool, he would never understand what they are doing. So the disciples went about their task, one of them put together the bones, another put back the skin, the 3rd managed to get the body.

By now the 5th “foolish” disciple, knowing very well the danger, asked them to wait, and he clambered up a tree for safety. As expected, when the lion was bought to life, it turned on the 4 intelligent disciples, and killed them one by one. The 5th disciple, who managed to survive, could only bemoan the foolishness of his friends.

Quite often, like the 4 intelligent disciples, we often mistake knowledge for wisdom.  The 4 disciples had the intelligence to bring a dead lion back to life, but alas they lacked the wisdom and foresight to realize that it was  a risk to their own lives.  We are often so caught up with our “knowledge” , but we fail to realize that unless, we have the capability to discern, to make a wise choice, that knowledge is ultimately useless and can often turn out to be fatal too. Knowledge is like a knife, you could use it cut vegetables, or you could use it to take some one’s life too.  When we fail to think about the effect of what we are doing,  that knowledge really has no value. Knowledge only tells you the what and how, wisdom gives us the ability to discern, to make the right decision.  A scientist can use his intelligence to save humanity, he can also use it to destroy humanity, by working on deadly weapons.

We at times, are so blinded with arrogance about our knowledge, that when some one like the 5th disciple in that story warns us of the dangers, we dismiss them as fools.  But sometimes these so called “fools”  have much more sense and sensibility than the intelligent ones.  And this I feel is a failing of our education too, it only teaches us to cram facts, gain knowledge, but it never helps us to gain the capacity to discern and make the right choice. Our education, only teaches us to memorize blindly, but it does not help us to think or actually “learn”.  When you lose the ability to think, and analyze, we are no different in that sense from robots, who just blindly, follow and obey orders.

Are We a Serious People?

Outsiders play Indians like pawns..They know how easily Indians can be taken in through deception and praise.

Chhatrapati Shivaji is reputed to have said that the British are the most dangerous of enemies because they “kill by tickling”, i.e flattery. After flattering or deceiving their way to victory, other parties then kick and disrespect Indians. What follows is this and this and this

That is the price of our naïve self-involvement (and foolishness in thinking outsiders can save us from ourselves and solve our problems—“white man’s [woman’s] burden?”). And yet still we have not learnt our lesson. Evenings are spent with idiotic, low grade pop culture trash that are poor knock offs of deracinated shows in the North. Ah hah oh ho ani aaduthu paaduthu jeevitham gadipesthaamu. Why? Because “I work hard all day”. Arey baba, just working hard all day doesn’t cut it. You have responsibilities beyond work, to your immediate family, your country (whichever one you are a citizen of), your culture, and mankind itself.

People obsess about keeping up with the Jones’ and living the good life—not understanding what the good life really is. It is one thing to enjoy a good party once in a while and appreciate the finer things in life; however, this must be balanced with the notion of being a good and informed citizen. But how many of us are?  Aadedhi Paadedhi, shatruvu vachinaapudu “geee bhaa” ani aricheydhi. Andukey alochana, buddhi mukhyam.

It is not enough to make a last minute stand at Panipat or Karnal. Unplanned, emotional or last minute action is a surefire way to defeat.

People and leaders must be aware of the enemies’ designs and defeat their strategy even before they set foot on our land or traitors take power. This is the cost of not paying attention..of not being serious.

There is a difference between buddhi and vidyaOur people think the mere gaining of knowledge means they’re great—without having accomplished anything. Accomplishment is derived from wisdom which tells us how to use knowledge for the benefit of ourselves and society-at-large. Indians freely give away their knowledge not realizing that that same knowledge will be used against them.

Instead of trying to be lamer versions of others and also-rans being contemptuously treated  or mocked behind backs by those they imitate, Andhras (and Indians in general) should strive for originality, dignified culture, and virtuous living–then only will we be taken seriously.

Even the Greek thinker Aristotle recognized that the key to happiness is virtuous living. Virtue, or more properly Dharma, is the foundation of our civilization. Indeed, it is the most appropriate name for it, our religion, and our way of life.

To be a serious people, we must recognize that we are affected by and influence more than just our immediate household. We have responsibilities and obligations that transcend our immediate selfish interests. But whom today can even be mentioned in the same breath as Krishna Nayaka or Maharana Pratap? No, rather than sacrificing their wealth and blood for their nation, we have people sacrificing their nation for their wealth and blood.

To be a serious people, we must conduct ourselves with honor and dignity. No system of government–no matter how perfect and democratic– can fulfill its obligations to the people if the governing people themselves become corrupt. In a democracy, the people themselves provide the governing elite and thus must operate with or at least aspire towards these values. As Arun Shourie said, though historically our kings would lead by example, Yatha Raja Tatha Praja, in a democracy it is Yatha Praja Tatha Raja. 

Instead today we have politicians masquerading as honest to mask their incompetence–while smirking all the way to the bank.

Click to see how “honest” minister is new V.K. Menon

In reality, they’ve presided over the single-most corrupt administration in independent India’s history–and have put India at grave risk in the face of two front threats. Merely branding them “honest” doesn’t make them so. Especially when defense scams and tragedies continue unabated.

Instead today we have people  who insult their betters to advance their own delusional ambitions. We have younger brothers (Duryodhanas) who wrongfully feel  entitled to property of their elder brothers (Yudhisthiras), and what’s more, we have Dhritarashtras and Gandharis who instead of correcting or punishing Duryodhana either play Bhishma and cave in  or actively egg on these delusions of grandeur—putting aside or twisting all question of worthiness, competence, and dharma. Thus, parents and grandparents must first correct themselves, then correct the younger generation—that’s what stops internecine and fratricidal warfare that weakens peoples, nations, and civilizations.

To be a serious people, we must understand the difference between Rajniti (politics) and Rajdharma (statecraft). Politics may get you elected or protect your position, but Rajdharma protects the nation and people.

To be a serious people, we must understand who we are, what we face, what we did right, and what we did wrong. This is done through the study of history, high culture (literature & cinema rather than filmi gilmi nonsense),  science, current events, and Dharma. That is the purpose of this site .

Here is an excellent talk by Arun Shourie gaaru discussing what India faces:

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You can buy his book here.

 

Caveat: there are no filmi song and dance sequences—so only serious minds may have the aptitude to listen and understand from start to finish…(for our busy professionals though, it makes for humorous and informative bedtime listening)