April - May 2007
From Far & Near - Topics of Interest
Destiny with death cheated by a whisker
Ewa Wisnierska, a German adventurer and a paraglider of considerable experience
was involved in a freak accident with a survival chance of less than one
in a million.
Some 200 paragliders had gathered in the small town of Manilla, in New South
Wales, Australia, to prepare for a World paragliding Championship. These are
dedicated sportsmen and women, extremely fit and healthy, with a lifestyle
to match their dedication.
Paragliding is a fast and upcoming sport. Whenever we go on holiday in Canary
Isles, we see these enthusiasts, especially if we are staying near mountains,
monopolising the sky and enjoying themselves as if there is no tomorrow.
One can just look, stare and admire these literally high flyers, for their
courage, devotion and determination to pursue their dreams. Unfortunately we
do not have a right climate in this country to make paragliding a popular sport,
a desirable pastime.
Ewa and her fellow enthusiasts took to sky, an every day routine for these
professionals, from a 600 feet high cliff, hoping to catch a thermal wind that
would take them to a height of five thousand feet at the most.
Their clothing and specialized equipments were geared to protect them for such
an eventuality, soaring to a height of 5000 feet but not 32,000 feet, a death
zone due to lack of oxygen. Unfortunately they were caught in a raging storm,
a tropical phenomenon, common in this part of Australia.
Ewa tried to circumnavigate the storm, as it was confined to a small area in
the vast open sky. But she was sucked in and spiralled to the height of 32,000
feet in less than fifteen minutes, higher than Mount Everest at 29,035 feet.
Ewa was bombarded with hailstones the size of golf balls. It was pitch dark
in the centre of the storm with occasional lightening and temperature of -50C*.
Ewa was continuously monitored from the ground by a team of experts with state
of the art equipment who were horrified watching Ewa soaring so high, invisible
to naked eyes but were powerless to intervene, to help her.
Speaking from her hotel, after the freak accident, Ewa said she felt like nothing,
tossed around like an autumn leaf. She passed out for some 40 minutes which
might have saved her life, as it put her in semi hibernation, with her body
temperature, pulse and breathing rate very low, which enabled her to survive
in thin air with little oxygen.
The previous survival record for a paraglider without oxygen was a mere 24,000
feet. So she beat the record by a considerable margin, a record that will remain
intact for a very long time, if not for ever.
Her stance in the storm lasted about 40 minutes but it sounded like a life
time to Ewa. When she landed, she was covered with ice with frost bites but
alive and not too bad under the circumstances.
The ground support team feared she might have sustained brain damage and rushed
her to hospital. But she had escaped with minor burses, hyperthermia and frost
bites but nothing serious or permanent. In fact she was so confident that she
promised to go out again and participate in the championship. But this experience
will remain with her as long as she lives, having lost a fellow enthusiast
who died in this tragedy.
There is a saying in our culture, “Ram rakha tena kon mara?” Translating
loosely, “Who can harm some one who is under the protection of Lord Rama?
How true it was in Ewa’s case!
We all, from time to time have such experiences. I certainly had one which
I vividly recalled in my story “From Hell and Back.” I wonder whether
any of our readers would like to share there experiences with the readers.
Referring to my article Meteorite Showers in India Link, (Oct-Nov 06 issue)
a good friend and ardent, enthusiastic and knowledgeable reader, Shri Ramesh
Jhalla sent me his thoughts and observation which I find not only fascinating
and interesting but also well researched and full of vital information that
I feel I must share with the readers of India Link, as the article was well
Such an insight comes out of deep knowledge of our culture and religion, scripts
and holly books of Vedas, Upanishad, Ramayana and Mahabharata. I feel I should
share this wonderful insight into our cultural inheritance, our precious heritage,
with the readers of this prestigious magazine who appreciate the knowledge,
especially the knowledge that derives from our ancient and noble culture, the
land of sage and sanscruti, honour and sacrifice, art and culture.
Ramesh writes, “Such meteors’ pyrotechnics and collisions have
been described in detail and most vividly in our Hindu culture and various
books of knowledge and records. Hindu scripts have vivified and graphically
narrated the Tandav Nritya of Lord Shiva, his icon popularly known as Natraj,
with multitude of hands carrying fire in each palm, can be seen not only in
most temples but also in many Hindu and Western homes.
This is a symbolic image of galactic pyrotechnics as understood by learned
Hindu Sages and Rishis who had the knowledge of our universe, much deeper and
in more detail than the modern day scientists, astronomers, cosmologists and
Space experts from NASA and the Western world. It is indeed a matter of great
pride for the Bharatwasi that they possessed such knowledge at a time when
the rest of the world was still emerging from the Stone Age.
Many Bhramastras showering fire on earthlings may be as symbolic as an acknowledgement
of the meteors showering the earth. Rumbling caused by the elephant of Lord
Indra may be Sage’s interpretation, explanation of astral hullabaloo.
Earlier stages of Dashvatar clearly describe such a collision and how Mother
Earth was saved, rescued from the destructive extra terrestrial fires unleashed
by the nature. The rescue, the cleansing came in the form of continuous rainfall
lasting a million years, submerging the entire earth under water, with the
evolution of living organism and later the more advanced marine and amphibious
life depicts refinement into human being.
It injected the divine ethics, the emergence of Hinduism, the oldest, richest,
most cultured and vastly knowledgeable of all religions. It seems there is
no comparison with ancient Hinduism when it comes to knowledge about medicine,
(Ayurvedic) earthsastra (economics) Yoga and Youdhsastra (Knowledge about weapons
of mass destruction.)
Meteorite showers are also described in the latter day religions of Judaism,
Buddhism, Jainism and Christian parable in their holly books of Bible and the
Old and the New Testaments with stories similar to our own, perhaps based on
the knowledge acquired while attending universities in the ancient land of
Bharat. The universities of Taxashila, Patliputra, Magdath and many more were
as famous then as are Oxford and Cambridge today.
Even ancient Egyptians and Chinese civilizations were aware of space travel,
cosmic collision and meteorite showers which is probably the most plausible,
understandable and explainable reason for the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs,
the life evaluation most likely to colonize and dominate the planet earth.
The theosophical literature has predicted transmigration of life to other hospitable
planets. Perhaps the life on Mars and even on our moon may have been transferred
to Mother Earth when these planets became inhospitable to life, perhaps due
to collision, meteoric showers on a very large scale lasting a very long time,
remains of a super star, a planet, a nova that may have been destroyed, forming
a tale with a million billion particles of varying shape and size littering
the space. If the earth passes through such debris, the meteorite shower may
last years rather than days, destroying life on earth as we know it.
The space is such a complex, intricate and mind boggling subject that even
today we know next to nothing about super novas, black holes, other galaxies
and collapsing stars, space that is expanding at a rate of a million miles
a day. Can any one imagine that some of the stars that twinkle in our sky have
been dead for millions of years but will go on twinkling for thousands of years
more before they disappear from our horizon?”
Well, I hope the knowledgeable and knowledge hungry readers of IL will appreciate
Ramesh Ji’s contribution as much as I do. Any comment?
It is time Hindus get equal attention
The formation of Hindu Safety Forum. (HSF) is a step in the right direction..
The Hindu interest, in particular Hindu safety, especially of those who are
most venerable, such as students on the University campus is long overdue and
routinely ignored by the police, the media and even our own community members.
As Hindus are the most peaceful and law abiding citizens of the country, with
the lowest prison population, it is the duty of the law authority, the police
to protect them, the protection they need and deserve.
This is the only way Hindus can keep the community law abiding, not to let
our younger generation to take the law into their own hands or follow in the
foot-steps of others who use violence as the first weapon, the only weapon
to resolve differences, ignoring the civilized way of discussions, and the
courts if every thing else fails. This is the essence of democracy.
The conference at the London School of Economics was attended by the representatives
of the Metropolitan Police.
Not surprisingly, the issue that dominated the conference was the lack of understanding
of the Hindu Culture, Hindu way of life and the Hindu ethics by the police
and the authority that provide security, and the aggressive attitude of the
radical students, especially on the University Campuses where they engage in
bullying and the conversion of Hindu students in aggressive manner. So often
girls are beaten up and have to leave their studies half way.
Ramesh Kallidai, the General Secretary of HFB said, “There is much passion
and resentment amongst Hindu and Sikh student community over the continuous
attempt to convert Hindu students, especially the Hindu girls.” These
girls form the bulk of the ethnic female student populations, as Hindus fervently
believe in educating all their children, boys and girls equally. Not surprisingly,
some students would like to shed the tag of Hindus being an easy target and
who can blame them? But could it be good fot the community, the race relations?
Judging from the experiences of our own children, there is nothing new except
that it is taking on an endemic proportion, especially in the inner city Universities,
now routinely bypassed by many Hindu parents. But this is not the answer.
The trend of going to University and living on the campus, in special accommodation
built by the authority, is becoming less popular due to such activities. This
is supposed to be a unique experience for the young students, where lifelong
friendships are forged, career chosen and so often life charted, with the taste
of independent living away from parents and family members. Not any more, at
least not for the majority of the female students who now prefer to live at
home and travel to University.
In a way this is a curtailment of one’s freedom, freedom of choice, travel
and socializing, imposed by a handful of fanatics. The University authorities
have promised to eradicate such extreme activities but has miserably failed.
This is nothing new when Hindus are the victims.
It was also pointed out that, to counter this, the Hindus, Jains and Sikh students
are becoming more radical, form their own inner circle and are unable or unwilling
to participate fully in university activities except within their own culture
This could only be detrimental for the good race relations, especially for
the vast majority of law abiding Muslims, as by far the vast majority of their
members are unable or unwilling to integrate with the main stream society,
thus missing out on employment opportunities and suffering a lower standard
of living than other ethnic minorities. Surely this can not be right?
I do not know how active NHSF is but it should have a branch at every University,
especially where there are significant numbers of Hindu students. It should
actively encourage every one to join and provide active support, advice and
guidance when Hindu students are under pressure.
NHSF should also seek active support from every community that share our values
and that include Muslim communities such as Daudi Bhora, Ismaili, Ahmedia and
Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslims. From my own personal experience, youngsters from
these communities are as articulate and law abiding as our own children and
their children are so often targeted as well.
The leading Hindu organizations should prepare a list of Unis where such a
problem exist and boycott them enemas. We should also write to the Chancellors
of these Universities as well as to our MPs who are best placed to influence
these institutions of learning.
If we unite, we can tackle any problem, if not, we will be picked up one by
one. It seems Hindu parents are at last waking up to this problem. We must
congratulate Miss Natasha Jalota and her parents who innocently gave her mobile
number to her fellow Muslim student. She was hounded for two years until she
confided in her sister who told her parents. They encouraged her to go to the
police who quickly brought the harassment to an end; but not before her health
took a bashing and she wasted the first year of her University. She said these
were supposed to be the best years of her young and ambitious life; instead
she has been to hell and back.
Speakers and panellists included Tony McNulty, Minister for security and police,
Raj Joshi from Crown Prosecution Service (CPR) who gave an excellent speech,
Dr. Rob Berkeley of Runnymede Trust as well as many seniors from the Metropolitan
Police and Chief Superintendent Mr Steve Jordan of Security Lead on the Commission
of Integration and Cohesion. Although the Hindu community should take heart
from the formation of Hindu Security Forum, it is too early to pass a judgement
on the police. It is easy to say a few soothing words at the conference in
full glaze of the media but real proof will come only when the police is involved
at the ground level, how rapid is their react when called upon by the Hindu
Policing has become some what a political currency and moves with the political
tide rather than need, fairness and justice. Let us hope that the tide has
indeed turned and the needy, the weak and the law abiding people will get all
the protection they deserve.
More Political News
More articles by Bhupendra Gandhi
Return to April - May 2007 contents