Bribe, Bribe, Bribe…

I applied for my passport a few days ago. I was supposed to fill out a form and submit it at the passport office in Varanasi. I went to the office and presented all of my documents to the officer. I thought to look over the documents again before giving it to the officer and discovered that I had made some mistake filling up the form. I thought it would be a good idea to fill out a fresh form. I asked the officer there if he had a fresh form but he said that the office didn’t sell the form. It was crazy, no passport application for at the passport office.

He asked me why I wanted a fresh form and I explained my problem to him but he said that he knew how to solve my problem. He brought whitener and cleaned the mistake and asked me to over write there. I was happy that I did not have to go out and buy a new form but I did not understand why he helped me. I never expect a government employee to help people. I knew that there was something wrong going on. I filled out the form and gave it to the person present there but he said that let the officer come. I asked him if he was not a office employee and he said that the officer has hired him personally to help him.

I immediately understood that there was really something wrong going on. The officer came and stamped my paper and signed it. He was supposed to give me a receipt of the passport form but he did not give it to me, he gave it to that other guy. I asked the officer what should I do next and this officer told me to talk to the other guy. I asked him and he turned his face like a rotten mango and said something that I could not hear. I asked him again and again and he would tell something that I was unable to hear. I asked him to speak loudly and then he said please give something.

I did not understand what was he looking for so I asked him to be clear about what he wanted and then he said that he will have to send my passport application to the regional office in Lucknow and he needed stamp and postage charge. I asked him if government doesn’t pay for it and said ‘NO’. I am sure that it is the government’s part. I asked him how much the stamp and postage charges were and he said Rs. 200. I know that I can send a post to any Indian city from any Indian city for Rs. 10. So I told him that it was too much.

And then said that he will have to pay every officer whoever looks at my application and for this he needed Rs. 200. I bargained and gave him Rs. 100 and this shameless person grabbed this money from my hand like a hungry lion. He told me to not worry anymore. He promised that he will forward my letter to the other office by the evening time. It was really interesting to see how that creepy government officer has hired someone to ask for the bribes from the people. The officer did not want to do it on his own. It is very smart of him but very bad for India.

The next step in order to get my passport was to get a no objection certificate from the local police station. The passport office sends the documents to the SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) office and they send the documents to the local police station. I went to my local police station to see if they had gotten my application from SSP office. I asked them and they told me to come back after two days. I met a person at the police station who had hit his something with his car about two years ago and police had taken his car. Today he had gotten the release order from the court to get his car back from the police.

I knew that the police would not give his car back without taking a bribe but I was wondering how they would ask for it because I was also present there. I thought they would be shy asking for a bribe in front of me but this shameless policeman completed his papers and passed it to the policeman sitting next to him. He said to the car owner, even very loudly, to give something to the next police man and take the car’s key. I was not surprised but couldn’t understand how shameless the our and corrupt our police is. He gave Rs. 500 to the policeman but he was not happy with it, he wanted more. As the first policeman heard it, he stopped his work and started talking to the car owner. He said that first of all you did not give anything to me and now you want to give only Rs. 500? It is not done like this. Finally they ended up with Rs. 700.

This first policeman told me that he hadn’t got my application yet and asked me to come the next day. I reached there the next day and this time he had my application form. He looked at all of my documents and then asked where was I born. I told him that I was born in Varanasi but then he asked my father village’s address and asked me to come back after ten days so that they could do an enquiry in my father’s village where I never lived. I asked him why did they want to enquire about me in a place where I never lived. And he said that sometimes people commit crime in their village also. It was crazy. I did not know why he was doing it and then I realized that maybe he was doing it to disturb me so that I would give him some bribe.

I told him that I wanted it as soon as possible and then he said that he knew some way to make the process fast and now I understood what this way was. I told him to use that way and then he immediately took me to the next room where the head of the police station was sitting. He interviewed me, and asked me several questions including who will pay for my trip to the US. Finally he attested my photo and I came out of that office with that creepy policeman. Now he took me to a corner and said that he also wanted something. I asked him how much and he said whatever I wish. I asked, “Rs.200”? and he said what can he do with Rs. 200.

And then he asked for Rs. 600. I had to give him that money because I knew that I will never ever get my passport if I had not made him happy. After this office I have to deal with LIU (Local Intelligence Unit), SSP office, the passport office in Benares and the passport office in Lucknow. I will have to bribe everyone and still maybe don’t get my passport on time. This whole experience made me very sad. I was wondering if there is any government work in India that could be get done without bribing government???

First day of work with Seranna

Finally I arrived Delhi this morning and went straight to Chandan’s place and then to see Chottala. Seranna had asked me to meet her at 4 o’clock so I could not spend much time with Chottala. I was not happy leaving him. I was supposed to meet Seranna at G.B. Road, brothel no. 71. Chandan drove me there. We reached there and I said Chandan to leave started looking for the brothel no. 71. G.B.Road is near the Ajmeri gate side of New Delhi railway station and is the biggest market of generator parts of Asia. Brothels and this biggest market of Asia was on the same road.

All the shops were at ground floor and brothels were at first floor. I sent a message to Seranna informing her about I had reached there but she did not reply me. I thought that maybe she was busy with shooting. I thought it would be good experience just to walk around so I did not stay near the no. 71 brothel. All the steps going up side to the brothels had few girls wearing all the makeups, calling to the people. I was also called up by several sex workers. They were all very well dressed but I could easily see that they were not healthy.

A lot of sex workers were at the windows and they were also doing the same thing: calling people upstairs. I went to a tea shop and sat there for an hour. All these sex workers were calling people like:- hey black pants; come upstairs, hey blue shirt, Rs.100 only, hey you look tired come to me… Each and every person walking on that road would look at least one to the windows. Now I had spent more than an hour so I thought to start walking. I noted something very strange that there was no education posters and writing about HIV or other STDs in the whole area. I wandered almost all over the sex working area but saw only two posters teaching about condoms and HIV. This was very sad.

As I stood-up, I saw one guy running. I asked few people they said that he was inside a brothel and he was looted by the sex workers. I had heard of the sex workers at brothels looting their clients but I never believed it. I had asked several people about it who go to brothels and all of them said that they never carry any extra cash or any valuable stuffs with them when they go to brothels because sex workers loot their clients sometimes, specially if they are new. I think it is only because sex workers for the brothel owner and give a big cut of their income to the owner so they never make much money.

After spending few more time now I was stopped by a pimp who wanted to sell me a girl. He just came to me and started walking next to me. He asked me would I like to have a girl and I said no and then he was like I will charge only Rs. 200 and give you a very nice girl, young and beautiful. I told him several times that I did not need a girl but he was kept walking next to me and asking the same question again and again. Finally he left me and a new and the most dangerous pimp appeared: the police. They probably did not want to sell me a girl but maybe, who knows.

They came and asked several questions about my identity. It was okay but I was wondering why did they stop me? I was never stopped before at any place in Delhi. There must be some reason behind it. Maybe they wanted me to ask them for a girl. I saw many many young guys, only 13-14 years old, going to the brothels. They all looked kind of afraid going in but they went. Now after spending more than two and a half hours finally Seranna called me and said that she had left her mobile in her car so she was not the texts I was sending her. She asked me to meet her tomorrow. I am so excited for this meeting.

Tabla lessons in Varanasi

A student named Allen Roda from University of New York came to my guest house on the 12th. He is doing research on Tabla making which sounds like nobody has done before. He is going to write about everything about tabla making e.i. where does the skin come from, who makes them, where does the wood come from… just everything. He already knew few people in Varanasi and had already contacted them before. I thought it would be good for him to meet Mr. Deobrat Mishra. I introduced him to Mr. Mishra and Allen told me that he really liked Mr. Mishra’s suggestions.

I wanted to introduce Allen to Mr. Praveen Uddhav who is senior lecturererof Tabla at BHU and by chance Mr. Mishra also advised Allen to meet him. We went to Mr. Uddhav’s place and met him. Mr. Uddhav seemed a little bit concerned about Allen meeting with other Tabla makers in Varanasi. He introduced us to a Irish guy named Steve at his place who had been cheated by a tout a few days ago. Steve said that he came to Varanasi to learn Tabla. He wanted to do M.Mus. from BHU.

He met a guy named Siddharth who told Steve that he will have to buy different instruments even if he just wanted to learn Tabla at BHU. Steve believed him and went for shopping with Siddharth. Siddharth made him buy 30-40 different instruments worth $23,000. I don’t know why Steve believed him. He paid this big amount and bought all kinds of instruments that were available in the shop, even he bought western drums and other instruments. After it, Siddhrath stopped meeting him. After few days Steve went to BHU for admission and met Mr. Uddhav. He said Mr. Uddhav that he had bought all the instruments and wanted to get admission in M. Mus.

Mr. Uddhav asked him whey did he buy all those instruments if he just wanted to learn Tabla and Steve explained what had happened with him. He still did not know that he was cheated. Finally he came to know that he needed only a pair of Tabla to start learning which is something like $100. He went to the police and lodged a FIR against Siddharth. Police arrested Siddharath’s father because he was now not in the city. Siddhrath’s father gave Rs. 4,00,000 ($8,000) back to Steve and promised to give the rest in next few days. I feel so sorry for whatever happened with Steve but it happens in Varanasi.

I think this is the reason why Mr. Uddav did not want Allen to meet too much new people. I think it is Okay with Allen to meet as many people as he wants. I am sure he will never ever give even $23 to anyone without making proper enquiry. We saw Mr. Uddhav’s 8 years old daughter playing Tabla. She was too good on Tabla. Mr. Uddhav said that she can play all the different sounds. She just needs to boost up her finger’s speed on Tabla and she will be just like other famous players.

I think Allen met at least fifteen new people which is very good for his research. He is leaving on the 18th and will be back again for his research in June when he will spend one year in Varanasi. He wants to come with his wife, Nikki, who works for Federal Reserve Bank. Nikki wants to spend her time in Varanasi volunteering. She was looking for a organization that can give her some work related to economics and she found found one called Cashpor India. They are a micro finance trust and give small loans to poor people. I think this trust will be perfect for Nikki.

Protecting Hindu temples in Varanasi

A temple barricaded by bamboos

There is a Muslim’s festival tomorrow called Muharram . Right before a night of this festival Muslims do a parade in the night starting from different mosques in the city where most of the male Muslims run on the road and beat their chest. By beating their chest they show their sadness. They say that right before one night of this festival, one of their Gods had died. I always watch this parade and enjoy it as I have very much respect for their feelings, festival, culture and religion. All the parades have a horse which is completely decorated by flowers. People take these flowers as blessings. I also take one flower every year.

This year I noticed something very strange. Yesterday I saw some municipality workers covering all the Hindu temples on road by bamboos in my neighborhood. I did not understand why they were doing it. I asked them and they said that since it was the parade that night they wanted to make all the temples secured. I did not understand why Hindu temples are not secured on the parade night and they said that Muslims can harm Hindu temples. I had heard about it but never thought that it was true. I have seen their parade and to be honest they really look like in violent mood.

There are always a lot of Police, Rapid Action Force and other security guards for their parade. I have heard that they used to kill people while the parade. I don’t know if it is true or not but after watching the barriers around Hindu temple, it makes me think like maybe the things I had heard about this festival was true. Varanasi is famous for its Ganga-Jamuni culture. Ganga represents Hindus and Jamuna represents Muslims in this expression. It is said that Hindus and Muslims are very friendly in Varanasi but is it the kind of friendship we have? I am sure that Ganga-Jamuni culture doesn’t exist anymore. We had big tension after Babri mosque was destroyed in Ayodhya and that tension is still there, maybe it is hided but it is still there.

Poor Durga

Another temple barricaded by bamboos at Assi crossing

It is not an big issue for me to see the God in prison, after all Krishna was also born in prison, but it doesn’t look good to make an effort to save the temples. How is it possible that the government or the people are afraid that the temples will be destroyed? It is India where more than eighty percent of the population is Hindu and we have to make an effort to save our culture? Its not something that needs to be taken care of. It is only the impact of Indian government making Muslims feel powerful than Hindus in India only for the vote bank. Now Muslims feel so powerful and think that they can do anything, even destroy temples.

Last year on the 6th of December, the anniversary of demolish of Babri mosque, all the Muslims had closed their shops in Varanasi to protest. They did sitting in front of city office demanding Indian government to built the mosque again. Even though they also know that there was a temple before mosque but still they want to get the mosque back. A group of Muslims protested in front of Indian parliament in Delhi putting the same demand- built the mosque. This case is pending in supreme court of India for the last fifteen years and I don’t think that it will be ever solved because Indian government doesn’t want to hurt Muslims. I think they must built either the temple or the mosque as soon as possible. But please do not keep this case in Supreme court anymore.

People often get violent against each other. I remember once about seven-eight years ago when Muslims had murdered a Hindu guy. They were protesting against something and had blocked the road. A Hindu guy was coming back to home from work and Muslims stopped him and murdered him on the main road. This guy was newly married. His wife was so unlucky because she will have to live as a widow maybe for her whole life. I don’t know what to say about these things but it is very painful to see people fighting for religion. And I am sure that these kinds of issue could never ever be solved.

Poor Shiva

3rd temple barricaded by bamboos near Assi crossing

People say that the tension between Hindus and Muslims is because of religion, but I don’t believe it. I think our government is completely responsible it. Our government educates people for not doing any kind of discrimination between boys and girls but the same government is doing discrimination between Hindus and Muslims which is a big issue for every India whether they are Hindus or Muslims. Muslims are given subsidy when they make a pilgrimage to Makka but why not Hindus are given help of a single rupee when they make any pilgrimage? Why Muslims are considered as a minority group and given special facilities in few states when Hindus are not considered as a minority in Jammu and Kashmir?

This kind of discrimination always creates tension in any kind of society. I believe that it is always good to talk about similarity because if we talk about similarity between two people then it makes them feel like there is something common between them and it brings them closer but our government always talks about differences and promote people who can talk about differences. There is a Indian guy named Mr. Zakir Nayak. I think he is dangerous than a terrorist. I believe that human tongue could be more dangerous than a nuclear bomb if it is used properly and Mr. Nayak knows how to use the tongue.

He has amazing knowledge of all the religions and he organizes religious lectures and talks about differences between Islam and other religions. I have heard his conferences on TV and I see how he invites religious leaders of different religion and talks them about the differences. Most of the listeners in the conference, maybe more than 99%, are usually Muslims and they all like to hear him and clap after he proves that Islam is greater than other religions. I see him as Laden of India. There is only one difference between Laden and Mr. Nayak which is Laden works by guns and he works by tongue. He still organizes conferences and making people violent which will blast like a nuclear bomb someday.

Indian government seems okay to put the God in prison but they don’t like putting the terrorists like Zakir Nayak and a lot of other religious leaders, who make people fight for religion, in jail. I am not sad to see the temples in barriers but I am not happy either. It should not be done. It makes me feel like our government is afraid of Muslims and Muslims feel like they can do anything, even hurt others feelings and culture. I can bet that this problem will never ever be solved until there is any kind of discrimination between Hindus and Muslims and I am sure about one thing that this discrimination is not going to end soon. I used to see the god in prison only once in a year, on Krishna’s birthday when people and temples organize play of Krishna’s birthday but now I will see it twice a year. No problem. But I am not happy.

Security and Sanitation or Satellite?

On 22nd of October, 2008 India launched Chandrayaan, a satellite, tocompile a 3D atlas of the lunar surface and map the distribution of elements and minerals.I am sure these kinds of work costs huge amount of money. Right after one month of this satellite launch India faced the biggest terrorist attack ever. Almost 200 people died and over 350 were injured in this attack.

Our fire department did not have big enough ladders to reach the target, they did not have any special clothing, they were wearing normal cotton clothes, a lot of policemen were killed because they did not have bullet proof jackets, I saw a video of a police man fighting terrorists with his old riffle and terrorist had very advance gun. This all happened because Indian government never thought to spend money on these things.

During Bihar flood this year, thousands of KGsof grains and food packets got rotten only because we did not have helicopters. There were only two helicopters covering whole Bihar. People were dieing of hunger and thirst. There was enough food but we did not have transportation system to bring it to needy people. Again it all happened only because Indian government never thought to spend money on these things.

Sanitation is a big issue for India. People piss on the road because we do not have public toilets, people throw garbage on road because we do not have dust bins, one sweeper is responsible to cleanup the whole neighborhood where more than two-three thousand people live, they discharge untreated sewage directly to the rivers, people also throw the garbage in the river because there is no one to educate them. All these things happens only because government never give priority to these works.

Sending settelites seems like too much show off work to me. I am sure more than 30% of the Indian people can not write the word moon and more than 50% of the people must not be knowing what a settelite is, and more than 97% of the people will not be knowing how Chandrayan will work or what will it do. Indian government has been continously talking about this project since they have started it.

I think we need sanitation, security and education first, and then settelite. I think it will be better to tell the ideas to some rich countries or tell them to fund the whole project or just sell the projects and spend the money where it is needed first. A lot of necessary things are not done in India only becasue of lack of money like we do not have good roads, we do not have enough schools, we do not have good public transport system. Why not spend money on these projects and give better life to Indians.

Police take a rickshaw ride

I saw something very strange, maybe it could be the strangest thing for an Indian. I was sitting in an auto rickshaw when a policeman stopped it. He came and sat next to me. Police never pay the fare for any transportation whether it is auto or bus or train. After a drive of two-three minutes someone else wanted to stop the auto, but my driver did not stop it. My driver said that the guy who wanted to stop the auto was also a driver and wanted a free ride. That other driver seemed so angry and was shouting loudly.

The second driver showed up again near the railway station. He had reached there before us. Also now he had his auto rickshaw which he had stopped and was waiting for us. This time our auto stopped. The other driver just came and grabbed the collar of the policeman’s shirt and started abusing him. I was shocked to see a auto rickshaw driver abusing a policeman. Not only me but everyone else in the auto rickshaw was shocked. He was kept abusing the policeman and the policeman was just telling him that he will see him later.

This other auto rickshaw driver said that the policeman wanted to sit in his auto, but he did not let him sit because his auto was already full, so the policeman slapped him. I think policeman came to my auto after slapping the other driver. The driver kept abusing and asking the policeman why he slapped him. And policeman kept telling that he would see him later, and send him to jail. Driver said that this policeman often sits in his auto and never pays any fare.

After a while the policeman started asking the driver if he had a permit to drive an auto rickshaw or not. I am sure he was doing this just to threaten the driver. He said that he would arrest him if he did not have the permit. But the auto rickshaw driver was so good. He said, “Do I give you Rs. 10 every time I driver to the railway station to fuck me”. He said that police charge him Rs. 10 every time he drives to railway station. He drives on university-railway station route and police would charge him Rs. 10 every time he would start his auto. After hearing this, the policeman could not say anything.

Police taking bribe from an auto rickshaw driver

I liked this answer a lot. One other auto rickshaw driver told me that the police have fixed a rate for different routes. They charge the drivers who work in the downtown area Rs.60. Heavy vehicles are not allowed to enter inside the city after 8 o’clock morning time but still a lot of trucks and tractors could be easily found inside the restricted area during restricted time. They are stopped at every crossroad by police but not to be checked, because they give a bribe. Truck and tractor drivers always keep a few Rs. 20 notes because they have to pay the police at every crossroad.

I was just sitting and watching the driver abusing the policeman and I was really enjoying it. Then a few other people came and started favoring the policeman. I was surprised to see this. Each and every person knows that the police are corrupt and they always harass people. I was hoping for them to favor the driver, but they were all favoring the policeman. As the policeman saw people favoring him, his voice turned loud and he was feeling comfortable now with the support of other people.

People were telling the driver to move and let the policeman go. Finally that auto rickshaw driver left the policeman. More than fifty people had come to see this drama and this policeman was insulted in front of them. I really loved what happened with the policeman. The policeman sat again in my auto. He said that he would arrest and beat the auto rickshaw driver. As the railway station came the policeman got off the auto rickshaw and moved again without paying.

I just can’t imagine how shameless people they are. He was called out right before two minutes but again did not pay the fare. I know the rickshaw driver will be arrested and beaten hard for sure, but I really liked the way he responded to the cop. I think we need more and more people like him who could fight the most dangerous terrorists for India- THE POLICE.

Major Bomb Blasts in India

These are considered as major bomb blasts in India by a news channel called NDTV 24×7. I know few other also where more than 20 people got killed but think about the situation when those bomb blasts are not recognized as major bomb blasts. I mean all the bomb blasts are major, we are going through huge terrorist problems.

  • July 26, 2008: Serial blasts in Ahmedabad killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 100.
  • July 25, 2008: Nine explosions in Bangalore create terror killing two people and injuring twelve.
  • May 2008: Eight serial blasts rock Jaipur in a span of 12 minutes leaving 65 dead and over 150 injured.
  • January 2008: Terrorist attack on CRPF camp in Rampur kills 8.
  • October 2007: 2 killed in a blast inside Ajmer Sharif shrine during Ramadan.
  • August 2007: 30 dead, 60 hurt in Hyderabad ‘terror’ strike.
  • May 2007: A bomb at Mecca mosque in Hyderabad kills 11 people.
  • February 19, 2007: Two bombs explode aboard a train bound from India to Pakistan, burning to death at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis.
  • September 2006: 30 dead and 100 hurt in twin blasts at a mosque in Malegaon.
  • July 2006: Seven bombs on Mumbai’s trains kill over 200 and injure 700 others.
  • March 2006: Twin bombings at a train station and a temple in Varanasi kill 20 people.
  • October 2005: Three bombs placed in busy New Delhi markets a day before Diwali kill 62 people and injure hundreds.
  • August 2003: Two taxis packed with explosives blow up outside a Mumbai tourist attraction and a busy market, killing 52 and wounding more than 100.
  • September 24, 2002: Militants with guns and explosives attack the Akshardham Hindu temple in the western state of Gujarat, 31 killed, More than 80 injured.
  • May 14: Militants attack an army camp near Kashmir’s winter capital, Jammu, killing more than 30, including wives and children of soldiers.
  • December 13, 2001: More than a dozen people, including five gunmen, killed in an attack on parliament in New Delhi.
  • October 1, 2001: Militants storm the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly complex, killing about 35 people.
  • March 1993: Mumbai serial bombings kill 257 people and injure more than 1,100.
  • http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080058674
    Day before yesterday suspect of Jaipur bomb blast was arrested by Jaipur Police in Varanasi. He is a Muslim
    guy who teaches at a Madarsa in Benares. After his arrest all the Muslims came on road and jammed the traffic. They were demanding to release him. Finally the head of the biggest mosque in Benares came in public and promised to get that man out of jail by 10’o clock yesterday and then all the people went back back home. But Police didn’t release him because he is the main guy behind Jaipur bomb blasts. So they came on road again and started protesting. They were in number of more than 1,00,000. Few political leaders were also with them like their candidate in Vidhan Sabha (state assembly). He and other lots of famous Muslims met District Magistrate and finally the suspect was released on bail late night. I don’t know what is going on here, Police cant even punish terrorists.

    End of life – Sadhus and Sanyasis

    According to Hindu Mythology there should be four parts of life, called as Ashrams. The four ashrams are- Vidyarthi, Grihastha, Vanprasth, and Sanyasa. Vidyarthi ashram is the students life which ends after age of 25. People can still be student after Vidyarthi ashram, but they should get married after 25. Grihastha ashram starts 26 and ends at the age of 50. During this period people should get married and have a family. Vanprastha is life between 50 and 75. This is the time when people are supposed to prepare themselves for Sanyasa.

    During Vanprastha time people are supposed to get rid of their responsibilities like get their daughters married, help their son to become self dependent. During the same period people should prepare themselves for Sanyasa by start meditating, and doing rituals. Sanyasa start at the age of 76 and lasts until a person dies. People have to perform certain rituals to enter in Sanyasa life. Sanyasis never stay at home. There are monasteries in every Indian city where they can live for free of cast.

    Sadhus at the river Ganga

    After entering in Sanyasa life people are called Sanyasi. People have to perform a lot o rituals be become Sanyasi. The most important one is to get rid of their body. They stand nude in the river and read some mantras, and by doing this they get rid of their body. They perform all the sacrament that is done after a person does during their lives time. So even though they are alive but their Terahi is done. This is the reason why body of Sanyasis are never cremated, their bodies are always drowned in the river.

    After performing this sacrament, they don’t consider themselves as part of the earth, and become Sanyasi. Sanyasa is a very tough life. They are supposed to follow a lot of strict rules of Sanyasa. Few of the rules are- they are not allow to deal with money, they are not allowed to deal with fire, they are not allowed to cook the food, they always have to beg, they have to repeat name of lord Ram for twenty-one thousand times everyday, they are not allowed to eat any food that has a taste etc….

    They always beg for food, and wash the food before eating it so that they can get rid of the taste. They always wear a orange dress because orange is the color of Hinduism. Sanyasis who are Bramhan by caste carry a stick all the time with them. They get this stick when they enter in Sanyasa life, and this stick is drowned with their body when they die. No other caste than Bramhans get this stick. This stick is very important for Sanyasis. It is also rapped with orange color cloth.

    Usually Sanyasis live in monasteries with other Sanyasis. They spend most of their time just repeating the name of lord Ram. Sometimes their famiily also visits them, but usually they spend their time alone. I have talked to many many Sanyasis while working with researchers, and everything that they told me was surprising for me. Everybody was so happy to say that they were waiting for their death. They say that they repeat the name of lord Ram and tell him to give them death as soon as possible.

    Once I was talking to a 70 years old woman who had been living in a monastery for the last 30 years just waiting for the death. This was the first time when I was talking to a female Sanyasi. She said that females don’t go through all the rituals that are done for males. They just leave the family, dress like Sanyain and start living in the monasteries like Sanyasin.They also follow all the same rules as males do. They live in the same monasteries but all the monasteries have a separate section for females.

    The woman I was talking to was not a Sanyain. She came to Beanres 30 years ago with her husband. Her husband had TB, which was kind of untreated disease about 30 years ago. When he got TB, he decided to come Varanasi and live last part of his life. A lot of monasteries have a separate section for family people. So if someone who does not want to become a Sanyasi can also live in the monastery by giving a certain amount which covers their room rent until they die.

    Her husband died after living for 3 years. But she was still in the same monastery just repeating the name of lord Ram, and praying him to give death. She said that her family visits her once in a year for one week. I was kind of not comfortable asking someone about their death, but she was so happy to answer all the questions. She said she came to Varanasi to die and it will be happiest moment of her life when she gets it. When we asked her about was she sad when her husband died, and she said that she was so happy because her husband got was he was looking for only within 3 years.

    We talked to a male Sadhu also who was about 70 years old, and had taken Sanyasa when he was only 35. He took Sanyasa because his parents died early, and he was cheated by his brothers. So he was sad and decided to become Sanyasi. The women we talked to seemed so healthy and it didnt look like she was going to die soon, but this male Sanyasi was really sick and maybe would die soon. He was also so happy to talk about his death. I wonder how someone could be happy talking about their death.

    We met one Sanyasi who took Sanyasa to escape from the police. He had murdered at least 10 people and when administration ordered police to kill him, he left his village, came to Varanasi and became Sanyasi. He had been living in Varanasi as Sanyasi for the past 15 years. He family often visits him, give him money and he had kind of family life. He had sweets which he gave us. I am sure he had lots of money. He also admitted that he never wanted to become a Sanyasi, but the police compelled him to become a Sanyasi.

    So I met a lot of different kind of people who had accepted Sanyasa. Most of them were just waiting for death and wanted to die as soon as possible. They say that God don’t give death if you have done sin in your lifetime. So being alive as a Sanyasi was a kind of punishment for them. Hinduism says that family life is the best life, better than Sanyasa. I think we have an very famous idea of Sanyasa, and when people feel lonely like after their wives death they want to become Sanyasi or some people just want to die living as a Sanyasi so that their soul could get liberated.

    The number of Sanyasis have decreased a lot in recent past years. But Varanasi has still a lot of Sanyasis. Usually people leave their home town and go to other cities to live, but Varanasi is the only place on the planet where people come to die.