Mantras for Positive Ageing shared at book launch

Chief guest Karan Singh’s positivity formula: ‘delve deeper into own self and have a spiritual goal’

Ageing has five dimensions: chronological, physiological, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, said Karan Singh, politician and scholar, adding that at 90 he felt stronger in capacity on some of these counts than earlier.

He was speaking at the release of Mantras for Positive Ageing, an anthology of first-person accounts of several eminent personalities on ageing positively, productively and gracefully, at the India International Centre here on Friday.

The hybrid event, coinciding with the International Day of Older Persons, was held in collaboration with the Guild of Service.

Dr. Singh, the chief guest at the event, elaborated the five aspects of growing, with emphasis on the need for “some kind of spiritual quest in life”. He added that all must try and delve deeper into their own self and have a spiritual goal. “It is better late than never,” said Dr. Singh, also one of the contributors to the book. He also praised the Guild of Service for its wide range of work in terms of “geographical and social coverage”.

Fifty personal mantras

With a foreword by spiritual leader Dalai Lama, the book, published by Pippa Rann Publications, contains fifty personal mantras of people, including environmental activist late Sunderlal Bahuguna, economist and scholar Devaki Jain, acclaimed theatre and film actor Sushma Seth, political leader and diplomat Mani Shankar Aiyar and gender rights activist Syeda Hameed, among others.

Remembering Bhasin

Dr. Mohini Giri, chairperson, Guild of Service, who also edited the book along with gender rights activist Meera Khanna, said she was “happy to have a few of the authors among the audience”, but “sad that some were not in the world”. Remembering late Kamla Bhasin, Dr. Giri said she could not tell “what she didn’t do” and read out one of her poems celebrating death. She also spoke about Durga Deshmukh, one of the contributors, who passed away just a week ago.

Though the gathering at the event was kept small, keeping in view the social distancing norms, the atmosphere was charged by the rendition of Sanskrit shlokas and the blowing of conch shell to acknowledge the presence of the authors among the audience. They were also offered shawls and plants.

Joining the gathering virtually, Public Policy professor Guptara, also the publisher, said the uniqueness of the book could be understood in terms of three syllables of the word “Mantra”. He said “Ma” signified the motto of the book, which was the key sentiment, “N” stood for number of eminent contributors with wide variety, and “Tra” denoted tradition with the message to modify the traditions when required. He added that his role was “superficial” as he just took care of finances and quality of paper.

Eminent Constitutional lawyer Fali Nariman, who also joined virtually, referred to a Japanese book gifted to him by his grand-daughter’s husband to emphasise the need for healthy diet, physical exercise and finding purpose with the growing age. Economist Devki Jain pointed out that “caste, class, genetics and history” all played a role in how one grew old and it was “inappropriate” and “cruel” to talk about the mantras for ageing without taking these factors into account.

Diplomat and writer Veena Sikri touched upon the need to make “respect for women” part of the value system and growing up. She said that patriarchal mindset was keeping the woman from participating in different spheres and hindering the growth of society as a whole.

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