Taking a boat ride down the Varanasi’s Ganga, when the gentler clouds play with the mighty sun and when the beads of the rains are in a flirtatious mood to float along with you, writes a perfect script for a soulful day.

You with your Soul, on a joyride, on a day like this, when the softness of the breeze and the melody of the eternal flow of the Ganga create perfect musical notes of silence and ambience – it’s the bliss needed to take you to ‘you’ – to take you to your Soul..

..come, enjoy the music of nature in fusion with the Ganga..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The question is certainly individual and post-modern in its subtleties but the common thread is the elements of dilemma and the subsequent triumph in coherence with the existential fulcrum.

Who I was? Who I am? What I have become? Who I am to be?

Every life has its own take on these most pertinent questions of existence. The pure questions of the ‘being’ of the early years of existence are tested on the time-scale of the living variance as you cruise through the years of stay here.

Elements of identity coalesce to create a life-form.

A life begins with the raw values of existence and dismantles into their modified forms – something that tells the world who you were. Bringing the elements of poise into the existing pool of values is the basic texture of the questions behind the existential being in this world. The basic values of your position in the realm of existentialism – these are inherent to you, leading to the questions of the day-to-day life culminating in the question ‘who I am’.

It’s not about thinking grand to ponder over the question ‘who I am’; it’s about being intimate and honest to your ‘self’. It doesn’t require an intellect of the lifetime. Even the passing moment can lead you to reflect on this basic question of your ‘being’ here.

A life evolved is a life lived. A life lived with the elements of values poised to follow ‘your’ answers of ‘who you need to be’ is a life fulfilled.

We each interpret this poise of the elements of values based on the circumstances and ethos of the immediate sphere of the existence. And here lies the range on which the factors exist to make each life a journey different from the other.

A journey where being right or wrong doesn’t matter as much as your resolve to follow the best in ‘you’ and believe me, there is always a ‘yet to come’ ‘best in you’.

When you begin on the journey of conscious, everything is pure, directly from the pool of the endless possibilities, and so you float in a world of intrinsic energy to decide on and shape and reshape the questions ‘who I am’ and ‘who I need to be’.

As you move on the time-scale, the sphere of your very own experiences starts getting in touch with those of others, and in the process, exchanges may define and redefine the contours of your thought process, gradually shrinking the visibility of your intrinsic elements from the initial days of the unrestricted flow of energy.

But that rush to be your ‘self’ always remains there, though, circumstantially, the driving energy that thrusts you to achieve newer scales, may take a beating, leading to the spells of disbelieving in you.

What matters is the perpetuity of this flow of your intrinsic energy. It may take a beating but always remains there to be on your call. It is always on you when and how you make it.

Though everyone travels, only some make it.

Existentially, life is the pool of experiences that may let you up or let you down. What you aspired to be when your conscious began the journey of ‘who I am’ may not be the case when you got the professional foothold of your working life.

Reflecting back on it and finding that it let you up is the way forward. But if you feel what you are doing is letting you down should be the retrospection point to begin on the journey to reclaim your ‘self’; to make that call to your intrinsic energy to take the challenge of the change head-on.

Work till you get it. There is no limit but the one you impose on your ‘self’.

Always believe in the innocent aspirant of your beginning days and shape your world with the learning from the pool of experiences.

It works.

May 7, 2012

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


A child can make a toy out of anything. Be it the leftovers from the garbage dump or highly sophisticated gazettes that cost a fortune, the attention is immaculate.

Anywhere can be the playground of a child – a leveller, free of class discrimination.

These photographs are artistic expression of collective effort of a group of one of the most marginalized social formations – children of sex workers.

Taken at Gudia centre for sex workers’ children at the red-light area (still) of Shivdaspur locality in Varanasi, these photographs convey this feeling. Untrained children here have created model of a water theme park from waste material after their visit to the water park on the outskirts of the city.

And the seniors at the Gudia centre say the model is a matching model replica of the water park capturing elements in detail. Such a good work in only possible when it is done with pure joy at heart.

Gudia is a not-for-profit working against human trafficking for forced prostitution.

Gudia Children Water Park 1
Gudia Children Water Park 3
Gudia Children Water Park 2
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


For some, the horizon looks perpetually lost. 
They do not want to know what is life. 
They could never realize what living is meant to be.
Their existence was killed the day they came to exist in this world.
Make a day for them. 
Give them a genuine reason to smile. 
Give them a hope that at least could sustain for a day. 
Give them the chance to claim the life the way we claim.
Fight for them. 
They need you. They need me. They need us.
Sex workers' Children at Gudia Centre, Shivdaspur, Varanasi
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Ganga symbolizes eternal flow. Its religious sanctity owes more to its spiritual halo.

Ganga is probably the only river in the history of human existence that commands spiritual aesthetics, right from its origin in the Himalayan Mountains (the Gangotri glacier) to its final destination in the Bay of Bengal.

From Kedarnath to Ganga Sagar, if Ganga is a sustainability factor for millions of lives and evergreen religious business activities, it is also precursor to a mystical tradition of spirituality. The major religious Ganga cities, i.e., Haridwar, Allahabad, Varanasi, Mirzapur, and Kolkata, have elements of spirituality associated with the religious significance of Ganga but the spiritual halo gets its full radiance only in Varanasi, the city of illumination, as one of its ancient etymological terms, Kasa, says.

What makes combination of Ganga and Varanasi so special?

What imparts its ritualistic religiosity such a brilliant spiritual discourse?

Varanasi is as much the city of Ganga as it is synonymous with Lord Shiva, one of the three supreme Hindu deities (the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh).

Shiva creates. Shiva destroys. Shiva is a yogi and lives a life of sage at Mount Kailash, Hindu scriptures say.

Shiva brought Ganga to the Earth.

And Shiva is the other name of supreme spirituality in the Hindu tradition and mythology.


Lord Shiva, Ganga, Varanasi – The Spiritual Trinity

Varanasi is among the oldest continually inhabited places and its association with Shiva and Shiva’s association with Ganga was always the magnate to ensure generations of civilizations to continue.

Ritualistic religion is always susceptible to changes and attacks by time-oriented generational transformations leading to the elimination of many overtly religious centers. But association of Lord Shiva with Varanasi has given the city a continued spiritual pedigree, and this, in combination with the ‘ablution and salvation’ aspect of Ganga, has helped the ritualistic side of religion, too, to survive and thus the city. Also, the sustained spiritual quotient has helped the cultural tradition of the city assimilate the changes and get along with what the transforming moments ask for.

One basic aspect of life in Varanasi is the discourse on death. Death is something that makes one free of all bonds, a point where materialism goes into oblivion, even for a moment. It evokes spiritual vibes naturally then.

Varanasi has seen generations built around this tradition. The city has been flowing the way history has been written but has been able to sustain the course of spiritual discourse that pertains to the questions of life, ways of living and ethos of existentialism.

Like Hindu scriptures and mythology (or like in any other religion), there have been good and bad aspects; positive and negative elements, and life flows on in the spiritual capital of the world.

Lord Shiva and Ganga make the ‘Spiritual Trinity’ complete with Varanasi.

May 26, 2012

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Silly, isn’t it?

This is an Indian parliament that witnesses unholy site of currency notes being waved in the House by some of its Parliamentarians.

This is an Indian Parliament that makes false promise to bring the Lokpal Act and later ducks the massive outrage of the public that had forced it commit on institutionalizing a tough Lokpal in a time-bound manner. This is an Indian Parliament that doesn’t know how to honour its ‘Sense of the House’ pledge.

This is an Indian Parliament that is witnessing increasing share of politicians with criminal record – term after term.

This is an Indian Parliament where the last many of the Parliament sessions have seen nothing but unceremonious and heated arguments, walkouts and adjournments.

Some of the parliamentarians who don’t care for the dignity of the Parliament!

And so, this ‘act’ by our parliamentarians, something that puts the country’s image in negative light, is not surprising at all.

It is being hotly debated if some of our parliamentarians have let down the sovereignty of the country by writing to the US President Barack Obama to deny US visa to Narendra Modi.

Certainly they have! No need debating it.

As the reports say, it (this silly act) is brainchild of an Independent Rajya Sabha MP Mohammed Adeeb.

Mr. Adeeb says the letter, with signatures of 65 MPs, was sent to the US President and the British Prime Minister last year and its recent dispatch to the White House was in response to the lobbying by Rajanth Singh, who is on US visit, to get Narendra Modi US visa.

A silly and deplorable act that it was, and, therefore, was bound to get booed!

As the letter surfaced in the media and as the frenzy over the issue grew, denials started pouring in shielding behind a serious allegation like signature forgery.

Mr. Adeeb is maintaining his stand and so are the parliamentarians who are denying their complicity in the act, or rather say ‘crime’.

Yes, it is indeed a crime to commit such a silly act compromising nation’s reputation and self-respect and it becomes all the more condemnable when we see that some of the members from the highest policymaking body of the country, the Indian Parliament, are involved.

But why this silly act, that looks so ridiculous? Okay, Modiphobia is an established fact by now in Indian politics but why it should allow some of our parliamentarians to wash their dirty linen in the US public. And why such politicians should be allowed?

Why to let the anti-Modi frustration drive of politicians tarnish the already compromised image of the nation?

Why such an abysmally substandard ‘creative’ idea in the name of political opposition and pseudo-secularism?

There are and there should be enough of the ‘creative ideas’ to target Narendra Modi and to deal with Modiphobia. Isn’t it?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


In a huge, huge achievement, in a trademark Montek Singh Ahluwalia style, packaged and presented in the Manmohan Singh style, yesterday, all of a sudden, we the Indians were told by the economy wizard of the nation that his government had lifted almost 15 per cent of the Indians above the poverty line since 2004-05.

Maybe, we, the Indians, could not assess it given our choked mental faculties that keep working 24/7 to ensure how to handle the daily and monthly expenses with regular price rises, of almost everything of use, from routine items, to the means of absolute necessity.

And like Manmohan Singh has always been very comfortable with the manipulative duplicity of statistics, this time too was no different. Only a week ago, the economist in Manmohan Singh had proclaimed: “The percentage of population below the poverty line declined at 0.75 percentage points per year before our government came to office in 2004-05. It has fallen more than 2 percentage points per year between 2004-05 and 2011-12” – and so be it. Isn’t it?

After all, one of our principal lords says it. After all, he represents the luminous class of the politicians with a parasitic lifestyle enjoying luxuries of life on taxpayers’ money while regularly lecturing the taxpayers to practice austerity.

It is indeed largesse on their part when they give us the lowest possible figure (statistics dear!) for ‘our’ Poverty Lines. It is, in some way, a sort of mechanism to take millions of Indians away from the clutches of the ‘defined’ poverty limits.

And so, the Montekonomics version of Manmohan’s proclamation is now out.

It is like – see, you are not poor because we say that you are not in the poverty line list. So, celebrate your day with Rs. 33 a day if you are an urban Indian and Rs. 27 if you are from some rural neighbourhood.

A mouth organ sort of tool of our lords, the Planning Commission of India, headed by the Economy Nobel defying wisdom, that we also know as Motekonomics, of Manmohan Singh’s learned deputy Monetk Singh Ahluwalia, has come up with the miraculous statistical manipulation, yet again, to lessen the miseries of ‘we, the Indians’ – by telling us to believe that hundreds of millions of us have become richer by overnight.

Overnight, because, the intended millions did not know or could not realize their windfall gain (the gain, thanks to the committed acts of Manmohanomics). Probably they would realize it now.

So, the school of Montekonomics, the Planning Commission of India has announced: “The percentage of persons below the Poverty Line in 2011-12 has been estimated as 25.7% in rural areas, 13.7% in urban areas and 21.9% for the country as a whole. The respective ratios for the rural and urban areas were 41.8% and 25.7% and 37.2% for the country as a whole in 2004-05. It was 50.1% in rural areas, 31.8% in urban areas and 45.3% for the country as a whole in 1993-94. In 2011-12, India had 270 million persons below the Tendulkar Poverty Line as compared to 407 million in 2004-05, that is a reduction of 137 million persons over the seven year period.”

And see, how the Montekonomics under the aegis of Manmohanomics has achieved it.

The Planning Commission has calculated, based on the method it uses (the controversial Tendulkar Method), the state-specific and all India urban and rural Poverty Lines for 2011-12.

It is Rs. 816 per month (Rs. 27.20 per day) for rural India and Rs. 1000 per month (Rs. 33.30 per day) for urban India while the same was Rs. 356.30 (Rs. 11.86 per day) for rural India and Rs. 538.60 (Rs. 17.95 per day) for urban India in 2004-05.

Now hundreds of millions of us complain that surviving a day on Rs.33/Rs. 27 a day (Rs. 18/Rs. 12 in 2004-05) is not possible and such ridiculous estimations must be changed. Pity us when we demand so. After all, what else can give us such a comfortable psychological cushion to forget the chronic problems we are in – the poor citizens of a rich country?

And we repeatedly fail to learn the lesson.

Last year too, the country had seen a huge uproar when the Montekonomics had come up with the previous Poverty Lines (Rs. 32 for urban India and Rs. 26 for rural India). Our lords led by Manmohanomics and Montekonomics were so pained that they had to form a committee (like many others in the past) to look into the methodology to calculate the new Poverty Lines. Its head, C. Rangarajan, say it will take one more year to come up with the reworked Poverty Lines.

One more year! How could our caring politicians leave us in peril by denying us the psychological cushion that could tell us to ‘believe’ that we were not poor ‘as we were not on the Poverty Line lists’?

So, they decided to take the pain again. They are so committed to the millions of the poor that they would be ready to face the brunt of the ‘uncalled for’ criticism yet again.

And so, yesterday, we had the Pathbreaking development when millions of us were lifted out of poverty; when Manmohan’s and Montek’s Planning Commission of India came up with the ‘miraculous’ and ‘new’ rural and urban Poverty Lines of Rs. 27 and Rs. 33 a day.

Now that they have told us, what all we need to do is to believe them, as we have been doing in the past ‘by telling us that we are not poor because we do not figure on Poverty Line lists. They have given us back our psychological cushion to fight the poverty.

See, it is so simple. Isn’t it?

See, so caring they are. Aren’t they?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


It is unacceptable, be it Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi at the helms of managing their party affairs, in this case the so-called youth politicians of the Indian National Congress who barged in a Mumbai restaurant, threatened the owners on an innocuous looking bill that simply was merely a tool to vent the anti-government anger in a democratic way.

Rahul Gandhi who claims that the Congress is Mahatma Gandhi’s party and party members should mind on what they speak and do has this training for his youth wing members?

What should we expect from such intolerant youth politicians when they would be given responsibilities to govern us in the future?

Won’t we be inheriting increasing number rowdy elements, the political goons, ready to crush every democratic voice of political dissent, if such elements are sheltered, trained and promoted by the main ruling party of India?

And ironically, such political goons are in almost every political outfit, and more ironically, they are being harboured as our future leaders.

We must protest them. I need to protest. You need to protest. Every one needs to protest whosoever cares for the democratic health of this country.

Yes, it is true there are other pressing problems in the country but protesting such brazen steps of politicians is telling them that they need to change their mindset. The condition has become so chronic that we need to raise voice on every such occasion.

It is an increasingly feudal mindset of the politicians that is responsible for almost of the problems in the country – from price rise to corruption to law and order – because enveloped in luxuries of living a parasitic life, they fail to see how tough it has become for a common man to survive in the world’s largest democracy, a democracy that is a constitutional Republic and claims to be a socialist state in the Preamble of its Constitution.

I am posting the restaurant bill here as symbol of my protest on the shameless bravado of the Congress politicians and request others to do so.


In place of justifying this silly act on TV news channels and on social media platforms, why the politicians can’t simply (and gracefully) accept the fault, something that Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings advise.

Isn’t that so Mr. Rahul Gandhi?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The words and the soul they had

Still sound so meaningful to me

 Cannot say why I read them still

Again and again, wishing for more

 Words that push the lost person in me

To be found, to become soulful again

 The words and the soul they had

Given a life by your presence

 Words, now personified by your absence

Cannot say why but they stayed

 Maybe, to be with my loneliness

To heal, when I seek nothing but you

Cannot say why I still care for you

Maybe, your silence still speaks to me

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – 


Thousands die but their lives are counted for some bucks and the buck is passed to be forgotten conveniently totally ignoring the fact that who died were the fellow human beings!

What sort of idiots we are or what sort of idiots we are made to look like or what sort of idiots we have been made to be fooled around so easily.

And resultantly and not so reluctantly we are forced to think about the question and the prospect, time and again, with an increasing frequency – are we a failed democracy? Are we a falling nation?

It is because ‘they’ have reduced the ordinary Indian to a mere living creature whose life doesn’t matter; the living creature, ‘the ordinary Indian’ who doesn’t figure anywhere on any priority list.

Instead, ‘they’ comfortably prey upon the developments to further their selfish agenda.

And even if ‘they’ look to come into some action, it is because ‘they’ see some political points to score in a particular case.

And who is this ‘they’ who has reduced us, the ordinary Indians, to such a state of human ruin?

This ‘they’ is the ‘group’ that defines itself from among us but places its members in a separate, superior class, pushing us to the periphery.

It is a ‘they’ that claims to be our representative only in order to claim the territory that rightfully belongs to us, the Republic called India.

So, who is this ‘they’?

This ‘they’ is a macrocosm of almost of the politicians, most of the bureaucrats, many of the business elite working in collusion with the politicians, the goons and the goons-turned-politicians. Sadly, the umbrella to cover the realm of ‘they’ is rapidly getting wider.

It is a ‘they’ that was once dependent on us and is now fast becoming parasitic on us, working day and night to reduce us to a life of ‘secondary and unwanted citizens’.

‘Their’ brazenness is in full fervour; is on full display!

And we, the idiots, the common Indians, are acting and are still poised to act as the mute spectators, allowing them to further ‘their’ class of superiority at the cost of us.

And it shall again be the case, in the coming months, when some important assembly elections and the parliamentary elections are slated to be held.

We, the voters, who don’t find good choices!


We, the voters, who can’t judge between a good person and a bad fellow!


It is the political con of cartelization to devoid us of an open atmosphere with more (and some better) choices!


Isn’t it a conspiracy that the kids who lost their lives after consuming the poisoned mid-day meal in a government school of Bihar become the subjects of the political blame game that soon crosses all the limits of sanity?

And what about this characterized uproar every time whenever many of us, sometimes in thousands, become victims of a man-made systemic political apathy?

Why is it that we look to care for what caused the disaster whenever a disaster takes place and then forget it conveniently until next one happens?

In the case of the Bihar mid-day meal deaths, it is not even a week and the war cry that was there has died down. The chief minister of Bihar has not yet spoken. His colleagues and the political opponents have traded charges. Some more cosmetic measures have been announced and by the precedent, we can safely say, such measures would open more avenues of corruption.

And meanwhile, no one is talking anymore about the families who lost their kids. It is foolhardy to expect that we would see a campaign launched or follow-up stories pursued to get these families (and million other families in similar other cases) justice.

This silence, or to say more aptly, this ignorance, is a criminal negligence on part of all of us who are capable enough to raise the voice.

It was not a long ago, in fact it was in last July only when the nation had seen huge outrage over ward boys and sweepers performing minor surgery, dressing and autopsy, potentially threatening lives of the patients in Bulandshahr, Meerut and Balia cities of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous but India’s most digressive state.

For media outfits, it was a potboiler generating uninterrupted coverage of many valuable TRP hours spread across several days. There were high-pitched debates and rhetorical campaigns to cleanse the society of this malaise. The insensitive and shameless politicians and higher level government employees, who were initially, as usual, in denial mode, were forced to come forward. Yes, they did come forward after their characteristic delay but they didn’t own the responsibility, something that always happens, something that we recently saw in the course of the aftermath of the massive Uttarakhand flash floods. They just passed the buck.

In fact, they always believe that ‘we, the creatures, the voters, the ordinary Indians’ should get such treatment as it would keep us dependent on them.

And so they create such situations that force us to be in miserable condition and characteristically, whenever these ‘miserable’ conditions become fatal or epidemic, they first try to play down the scale or shift the responsibility and if not successful, they put a shameless face of concern promising the matter is being looked into and appropriate action would be taken.

Appropriation action! An alternative political catchphrase for it is ‘the toughest possible action’!

Now, see the toughness! In the very same Uttar Pradesh, where a sweeper was performing autopsy last July, a rickshaw-puller is filmed on camera this July, in a government hospital, giving an injection to a kid that takes the kid’s life. And it happens in one of the cities, Balia, that was in the eye of the storm last July for a similar medical negligence case.

See! This is how politicians see us – valueless, soulless creatures who exist only to serve the political masters and their cohorts.

Also, where were the media carriers, the activists and the aligned advocates throughout this period where they could easily see (and they have been witnessing it) that the rot was so deep and was getting deeper owing to the political callousness. In fact, they too, act vague it can be said. Whatever be the reasons and the considerations but the fact remains.

Why does it take lives of over 20 children to make a war cry on such a poor status of mid-day meal scheme in India?

Why this flood of reports now only?

Why not a sustained socially responsible campaign to put effective check on the system?

The rotten meal! It is an open fact that most of us know very well. Just step in any government run primary or middle (class 6-8) school where the mid-day meal is served and the first reaction, if you are from those of the metro middle class families, would be that you cannot eat it. Search for reports and one will come across regular reports of mid-day meal poisoning even from the metro cities like Delhi or Mumbai. The condition is horrible in small town India and hinterlands and the Chhapra incident in Bihar where 23 students of a primary school lost their lives after eating the mid-day meal represents that horror.

And most of them (excluding the political opponents here-they are the natural party to this crime) who are crying foul are aware of this open fact. Why not then a sustained campaign to pressurize the political class to act responsibly?

Like the horror of the mid-day meal, the ground reality of the government-run hospitals and health-centers is also an open fact. Anyone who can afford private treatment would never go to a government-run health unit. Government doctors, busy in private practice, using ward boys or sweepers as their replacement, is a commonplace thing and all of us and the groups crying over the Balia hospital incident are well aware of it.

Why don’t the groups looking and acting concerned at the moment run a sustained campaign against the politicians and their administrative bedfellows to pressurize them to take responsibility?

Acting only in spurts when the problem has already become chronic – the attitude is worrying. It is senseless.

It sounds more of the elitist concern of acting as and when it suits the tastes and needs of those who can raise the voice and not based on the needs of those who have been reduced by the politicians and their various colleagues as the silent majority at the receiving end of their every deed and misdeed.

It sounds like a sham! This façade has to be removed.

Chronic problems like the systemic political apathy and the political corruption need sustained efforts.

‘They’ who see us as lowly creatures need to be shown the mirror to make them realize that ‘they’ are from among us only!

‘They’ must not be allowed to make India a failed democracy.

‘They’ must not be allowed to make India a falling nation.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –

Incorporating the write-ups: