Speaking Tree or Venality : A Disgrace Called The Times of India

24 08 2009

Excerpts from The Times of India’s last Saturday (22nd August) edition’s    Speaking Tree follows:


“When Kaikeyi approached Dashratha for the grant of her boons, he was devastated and broken. How could he send his beloved Rama to exile? How could he deny him, the righteous one, the throne? How could he nominate Bharata as his successor?

But, equally, could he afford to break his word, not keep his promise? Dashratha knew the answer but he had his moment of doubt.

Rama had none.

When the news of his terrible fate was broken to him – by Kaikeyi, not Dashratha, who was too distraught to talk, one might remember – he was the very picture of tranquillity.

If father had given his word, could Rama ever think of going back on it! His was to obey, not question, follow, not doubt, surrender, not seek. Raghukula Riti Sadaa Chali Aai, Praan Jaahun Paru Bachanu Na Jaai . (Ayodhya Kanda). Could there be a higher example of trust?

Lord Rama knew in his heart, as a billion Indians do, that trust is not about taking short-cuts, it is not about taking the easy way out. Trust is all or it is nothing. Make a sacrifice if necessary; but do what is right rather than what is convenient.

Trust is also my father’s proudest legacy to all of us, our most precious inheritance.

Sadly, a legacy might not be forever. More than what you get, it is what you make of it. Cherish it, and it grows. Neglect it and it wilts. Like a tender young sapling, it demands constant care and concern.

Looking back over the last few years, I am deeply and painfully aware of how easy it is to lose touch with one’s values. How easy it is to let one’s samskaras turn into empty words without meaning or intent.

How easy it is to let the obsession with self – ‘I, me, mine’ – vitiate even the purest, most selfless of relationships – the bond between a child and his mother.

This takes us beyond trust to a realm yet higher; a realm so sacred, so exalted that it is likened, in our scriptures, to divinity itself. There is no higher duty, purpose or end in life, say our epics, than an unconditional surrender to a mother’s love, a supreme respect for her will, a devotion to her well-being.

“Verily,” say the Vedas, “the mother is God”. “Matrudevo bhava!” proclaims the Taittriya Upanishad. “Honour thy mother. Look upon her as God.”

Can one worship God without total trust? Can one show her reverence without bowing one’s head in absolute humility? Can one break a word spoken solemnly in her presence?

And if one does – in the mindless pursuit of power, ego or material riches – what has one gained and, more importantly, what has one really lost?”


Guess who is the writer? The holyman dishing out this discourse is not a religious preacher is none other than our Forbes 500 Tycoon Anil Ambani. The father under reference is Dhirubhai Ambani. By invoking the Ramayana, Anil Ambani is clearly hinting that Dhirubhai is like Dasaratha. He is like Rama, the wronged one. (Extending it his wife Tina – Sita, and J.P.Chalasani, his Hanuman, ha!ha!ha!).


Dhirubhai Ambani was undoubtedly a great entrepreneur. He was hardly, the paragon of virtues, he is made out to be, by his son, Anil. In his desperation to win the ongoing battle for gas with his brother Mukesh, he is assuming the role of Maryada Purushottam Rama. Even if wishes to assume such a position, why should a national paper like TOI lend him the sanctity by publishing the piece as a spiritual article under  Speaking Tree  – a column which in the past  had  featured  many genuine seekers of the metaphysical truth? Don’t tell me that the advertising revenue earned from ADAG companies has nothing to do with TOI provide some rented halo to Anil Ambani’s hypocrisy. Pray, what will remain of  the Speaking Tree brand after this despicable sellout! How low can TOI stoop!!


– G. Mohan.


P.S. – This is not the first time! TOI  had allowed  Anil Ambani to use the hallowed space of Speaking Tree  to score  some points against  Mukesh Ambani when the feud between the brothers became public five years ago.




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