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Archive for July, 2008

As a kid I remember I was fascinated with Westerns, and started using swear words just to sound grown-up. What I got in return was sharp slaps from my parents for using words like “Damn, hell’s a fire, Jesus…” Of course, I mended my manners soon. When I asked my parents why I shouldn’t say Jesus, they said “I was not to use the name of God in vain and especially not as profanity.”

I stopped doing that, but couldn’t stop myself from wondering (as a teen) if it was ok for pastors do so. You see pentecostal church sessions are quite long – about three to four hour in length.

So when they run out of ideas on what to pray or preach, they start the chant: “Halleluah! Halleluah! Praise the Lord! God is Great! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Come down Lord! Come down! Move with us! Ur precious Lord Lesus! Precious Lord Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Save me Lord! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Jesus! Lord above all! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

And for a little fun, try recalling all the Jesus Ministries you’ve heard of

  • Jesus Redeems
  • Jesus Calls
  • Jesus Comes
  • Jesus Cares
  • Jesus Saves
  • Jesus Restores
  • Jesus loves
  • Jesus Works
  • Jesus Youth
  • Jesus Alive
  • Jesus Ministries Trust
  • Love of Jesus Ministry
  • Gift of Jesus Ministries
  • Ministry of Jesus
  • Jesus Driven Ministry
  • Jesus People Ministry

List is too long?

When the Full Gospel Ministry started, a lot of Pentecostals were annoyed.

I remember my grandmother asking in the AG Church Ladies Bible class, “Who do they think we are? We preach half the gospel? Or a half-baked gospel?”

There are also other institutions like the MCC Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chetpet, which actually expands to Madras Christian College Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chetpet.

Even Indian, Christian names are so funny and long, because parents try to strike a balance between Indian and Christian sensibilities. Being Indian, they have to name the kid after some grandparent or some rich guardian so that they don’t risk annoying them. And then they have to give the kid a Christian name or multiple Biblical names.

So my grandfather’s name was Ernest Esudasan Chandran Emmanuel Job.

My grandmother’s name was Mrs Abarahanam Vedavathy Ernest Esudasan Chandran Emmanuel Job. But her name became a misnomer after her marriage. Turning pentecostal soon after her honeymoon, she had to part with all her jewels (Abarahanam in Tamil), as the church patriarchs felt a good Vedavathy (Vedavathy- Tamil for Biblical woman) should not wear abarahanams.

My Dad’s name was pretty long – David Prabhu Dayalan Job. So my Mom, who didn’t feel upto changing her name in her bank accounts and gazette and adding on a string of other names to her already long name, remained – Mrs Sheila Lilian Sundaram. I was supposed to be Rachel Chitra Chinky Job. But since the TN govt and the Matric Board felt all students writing the 10th standard Matric Board Exam should have initials, not sir names, I became Ms D.Rachel Chitra. And being a feminist I have remained Ms D.Rachel Chitra, despite marriage and atheism taking a prominent place in my life.

Also Christian rhyming names are so funny. I remember my friends – Anne, Johnie, Johnny. Their parents had named the three siblings – Anne Gracia, Johnie Patricia and Johnny…(shucks! I forgot)

The other set of rhyming siblings, was my college friend’s melanie’s sisters. The trio was Melanie, Melody and Harmony – a take off on the popular ad jingle for Melody chocolates.

On my mother’s side we have an aunt, who had an ignonimous name and died early in life (I don’t if the two incidents have the relationship of cause and effect). Anyway this trio was named – Violet (the lucky one!), Poilet (Bad enough! worse follows) and Toyilette (Horror of horrors).

There was another Christian friend of ours, who really like the letter R – so in resonance with the rules of alliteration – she named her four daughters – Rebecca, Rachel, Ruth and Rhoda…..the list of all the R-named females in the Bible.

Rachel Chitra

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What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
-William Henry Davies

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Since, I’m both of the above, I was curious to click on this link on google, while checking out Vasanthi Sankaranarayan’s translation of Retelling of the Ramayana.

Apparently, someone had written something on Sita and the Sangh Parivar had to retaliate.

The Jaina and Buddhist hypocrisy is picked up by the selective scholars, researchers, bloggers etc.,
under the guise of feminism, women lib etc., throwing venom on “Sita”.
Really, it is not known why she has been targeted for more than 2500 years, or 3500 years according to different estimates.

I thought feminists were influenced by Virginia Woolf, Mary Wollstonecraft and the likes, but apparently we are influenced by Jains and Buddhists. The same site also states quite definitely that the Ramayana belongs to Treta Yuga and is dated as far back as 880,000 years in the past. Now how did Rama’s wife Sita get herself suddenly transported to 500 or 1,500 BC?

That such importance given to her, however shows her established status of chastity, ideal womanhood and model wife. It is unfortunate that only “Sita” is targeted – Why? Nowadays, certain women are coming out as “feminists”, but exhibiting perplexing characteristics, dispositions and expressions.

Well, patriarchy loves the three words – chastity, ideal womanhood and model wife and feminism has a lot of problem with the suppression, control and suspicion that ensures that women remain chaste, ideal and model wives. And I wonder what strange perplexing characteristics did the feminists he knew exhibit? Did they grow four heads and eight hands and attain feminine divinity?

They have also accused historian Romilla Thapar of falling for this Ramayana-bashing syndrome.

Recently, Paula Richman(editor)’s “Many Ramayanas” has been discussed in some forums, just to tarnish the image of Ramayana. Whenever Ramayana becomes popular, anti-Ramaya campaign would be triggered to counter it. It has to be pointed out that a woman-historian of stature – Romila Thapar has not been exception to this syndrome. This time, it was Karunamnidhi who initiated such activation through his famous questions of “Who is Rama? In which Engineering college he studied? And so on! Romila came out this time also, but only support Karunanidhi ideologically burying all her historical knowledge and expertise

Now if she had the xerox copy of Rama’s engineering college degree or his birth certificate, she wouldn’t have had her academic credentials questioned. And I know its hard to abuse someone coherently when ur angry, but the least they could have done was getting Karunanidhi’s name right.

But the Sangh Parivar does get some things absolutely right. The snide remarks about how our politicians have many binamies to enjoy their aggregated wealth hit the right chord with me. They seem to have taken pretty good pot-shots at the DMK, though they refer to it as the DK (must be a hangover from the last history class they attended in school).

The DK has tried its best, but it failed, because, their own leaders have only “exhibited the character” of “Ravana”. They have / had more than one wife one many wives with or without concubines. So not only Sita, Surpanaka, Mandodhari and other Ramayana or other women had / have to be afraid of them. And ironically, none of the wives or women of Black Parivar want their husbands or would-be’s to be “Ravanas”.

The article goes on to talk about how immoral feminists must feel inferior when thinking about someone as pure as Sita

Psychologically, their inferiority complex works opposite with superiority complex. They have only one agenda – attack, abuse or even blaspheme Ramayana, you get attention of all easily. But, they may or may not realize its seriousness. It is just like calling one’s own mother a prostitute (Though I am very sorry to use such expression, as otherwise, people understand only such language in some cases)

As to why feminists are so bad. They say, its because of

a) Love failure at school, college or neighbourhood levels

b) Pre-marital experiences from touching to sex levels affecting them psychologically after marriage or during intercourse with present husband

Note the word present. Its supposed to mean feminists will naturally have many husbands and they – the family moralists, are talking about the plight of the current one

c) Divorce, second marriage with children with indifference of the second husband

If the husband was indifferent, how did they get the kids in the first place? Our guru of Indian traditions and morality explains…

d) Divorce, second marriage without children, but husband living

e)Inter-caste marriage, clash of thinking, culture, etc

This is really disgusting. What do they mean? That all people are not equal? That some people have blue blood, others have red and yellow-coloured blood in their veins? How snobbish, castiest and disgusting!

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Make merry! Though the day be gray
Forget the clouds and let’s be gay!
How short the days we linger here:
A birth, a breath, and then–the bier!
Make merry, you and I, for when
We part we may not meet again!

What tonic is there in a frown?
You may go up and I go down,
Or I go up and you–who knows
The way that either of us goes?
Make merry! Here’s a laugh, for when
We part we may not meet again!

Make merry! What of frets and fears?
There is no happiness in tears.
You tremble at the cloud and lo!
‘Tis gone–and so ’tis with our woe,
Full half of it but fancied ills.
Make merry! ‘Tis the gloom that kills.

Make merry! There is sunshine yet,
The gloom that promised, let’s forget,
The quip and jest are on the wing,
Why sorrow when we ought to sing?
Refill the cup of joy, for then
We part and may not meet again.

A smile, a jest, a joke–alas!
We come, we wonder, and we pass.
The shadow falls; so long we rest
In graves, where is no quip or jest.
Good day! Good cheer! Good-bye! For then
We part and may not meet again!

James E Foley

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If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

Walter D. Wintle

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It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is the one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through tears.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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My dear right-minded feminists, I apologise for the use of the word “defense,” as it sounds a bit apologetic. But I guess this article is a reaction to every strange glance I get when I mention I’m a feminist.

People immediately assume I’m a rabid, fanatical, anti-male, hysterical female, who wears pants, smokes cigarettes and downs beer by the pint. I keep wondering, why there is such a negative image of feminists in general? And the even funnier thing is many fundementalists link feminism with immorality.

Recently, actor-director Nandita Das @ the Indo-Korean Film Festival in Chennai said, “If we didn’t have environmental degradation, we wouldn’t have environmental activists. If we did’nt have women who were facing domestic violence, discrimination and sexual harassment, we wouldn’t have feminists.”

I whole-heartedly agree with her statements. Feminism is all about equality.

And since many of us, still face discrimination, the need to identify with feminism is stronger.

So, this post is to state: Yes! I’m a feminist! And I’m not sorry if that puts ur nose out of joint.

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