‘Petrus Romanus’- The Last Pope??

‘Petrus Romanus’- The Last Pope??

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Photo: St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest Catholic churches, hours after Benedict XVI’s shock announcement

‘Petrus Romanus’ –  a phrase used by Saint Malachy to describe the last Pope. Saint Malachy, an Archbishop from 12th century, had a vision where he saw next 112 popes and used cryptic Latin phrases to describe each of them. According to him 112th pope(from his time) would be the last pope and he described him as –

“In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit, Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people”

Here, ‘Peter the Roman’, is the last Pope, ‘city of seven hills’ is Rome and the dreadful judge is considered as The Christ.

The newly elected Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the 112th Pope and based on Malachy’s prophecies would be the last Pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio and ‘Petrus Romanus’, let’s see how they are connected:  all the popes are considered successors of Peter. Simon Peter was one of the most prominent apostles during the Jesus ministry and is often considered the first Pope. Also Bergoglio chose the Papal name Francis in honour of ‘Saint Francis of Assisi’. Saint Francis was born as ‘Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone’, his name has Pietro, which translates in Greek as ‘Peter’. Hence, Pope Francis fits comfortably in the description of Peter. Though he was born in Argentina, but his bloodline is purely Italian, making him in Malachy’s words – ‘Petrus Romanus’.

Malachy’s Prophecies

Malachy’s description of Popes is very cryptic. Pope John XXII was described as ‘Shepherd and Sailor’, it turned out that he belonged to a family of shepherds. Pope Benedict XV was referred to as ‘Religion Destroyed’, when he became Pope it was difficult to understand its relevance, but World War I and Russian Revolution made it quite clear. Pope John Paul I was described as ‘of half moon’, he was elected Pope on the day of half moon and died later on half moon. Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned recently was described as ‘Glory of the Olive’. The relation between his papal name ‘Benedict’ and ‘Olivetan order’ (a small Roman Catholic order) explains this phrase – Benedict’s choice of papal name is after ‘Saint Benedict of Nursia’ , Founder of Benedictine Order, of which Olivetans are one branch.

These prophecies were published in 16th century. The original manuscript was never printed before and was deposited in Vatican Secret Archives. It was forgotten until 1590, when it was rediscovered and published by a Benedictine named Arnold Wion. Various historians believe that these prophecies are forgeries because the ones made before 1590 were exact and the prophecies made later were inaccurate. But the connections between the Pope and the prophecies, sometimes even vague, have been formed over the years. It is similar to the number 23 syndrome, when you start searching for it, you find it everywhere.

Some even believe that Saint Malachy’s prophecies refer to the Apocalypse and some believe that it refers to a single world government. It would be interesting to see which tribulations he is referring to and how Pope Francis handles them. And who would be the dreadful judge and what would be his judgement? And yes! The most important question, Is Pope Francis I, the last Pope?

 

 

Inflation Gone Wild-Hyperinflation!

Inflation Gone Wild-Hyperinflation!

 inflation_1811026bAs the word suggests, Hyperinflation occurs when the rate of inflation goes very high, sometimes over 5-10% per hour, and it’s almost impossible to curb the rate of inflation. In such a scenario, price level quickly increases and the value of currency keeps on decreasing. The price of goods continuously increase and the supply of money increases with it. Such a condition occurs when a country is under huge debt which it tries to pay by printing more and more currency, which eventually hits its economy very hard. It is generally associated with wars and its aftermaths, social changes in the country leading to a condition where revenue from taxes is lower than the spending of the country.

Causes of Hyperinflation

Hyperinflation occurs when government has no way of generating money in the economy, other than printing money. This rapid increase in the supply of money is not concurrently met by the growth in output of goods and their supply.

Since the inflation grows sometimes even on hourly basis, the value of currency also goes down at the same rate. If 1000 units of a currency are used to buy footwear at a particular time, same amount may not suffice for even 50% of its cost after a few hours. This leads to a situation where shopkeepers tend to hoard things because the same thing will give them a greater value in sometime. People may also tend to hoard the essentials as there is a constant fear that the same good may not be available after few hours. Thus people buy ample quantities of food or other essentials, which makes their supply in the market low and this again further leads to increase in prices

Thus it leads to a vicious circle where government prints money to spend on its people which further leads to increase in prices and in turn government has to print more money again.

Countries hit by Hyperinflation

One of the most famous examples of Hyperinflation is Weimar Germany after 1st world war. The Treaty of Versailles assigned the blame of war to Germany and it was to pay reparations to the Allies. In order to pay these reparations, Germany began mass printing of notes to buy foreign currency, which further increased the inflation rate in Germany and devalued Papiermark(German currency). Inflation peaked in Germany in November 1923 and at that time the inflation rate was 29525 %.

Hungary after World War 2 recorded worst inflation ever. The highest denomination in mid-1946 was 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 pengo. The rate of inflation at that time was 41.9 quintillion percent.

One of recent instances of hyperinflation occurred in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe after its independence in 1980 began land reforms, which focused on taking land away from white farmers and giving it to black farmers. As a result, food production in Zimbabwe suffered and eventually revenue from exports of food were badly hit. Thus in order to meet its spending the government had to print more money with higher values. The inflation rate went highest in November 2008 to 7.96 billion percent and in January 2009, $100 Million banknote was issued.

Effects of Hyperinflation

The most serious concern associated with hyperinflation is that it transfers wealth from the hands of people to the government. It wipes out the savings of the people, and triggers hoarding of goods. Economy is hit badly and the investors lose trust in the country.

To end Hyperinflation, the government takes drastic measures such as cutting down its expenditure heavily or altering the currency basis. One way can be use of a foreign currency as national unit of currency. Also, the Central Bank becomes very stringent about maintaining price stability to avoid any recurrence of hyperinflation.

 

When Faith Keeps us Going..

When Faith Keeps us Going..

When Faith keep us going
13500ft above sea level, at one of the most inhospitable borders of the country, our soldiers believe that a saint would let them know in advance if there is probability of an attack. This border is the Indo-China border at Nathula, manned by more than 700 soldiers from both sides. Both countries have seen a man on horse, guarding the border at night.
This man is not a mystery to them. He was an Indian sepoy (yes ‘was’) Harbhajan Singh, who fell into a flowing stream while escorting a mule caravan from his batallion headquarters. Even after 5 days of search for the soldier nothing was found till one of his colleagues saw him in a dream where he led him to the location of his body and also asked for a shrine to be built for him. Next day, army found his body at the same place and as a mark of respect for the soldier, a samadhi was constructed near that area.
Baba Harbhajan is known for his dedication and discipline and is a very  revered soldier. It is said that even now he gets ready every night and guards the border. He even helps people who are lost in the hills and tells them the correct path so that they do not cross the border. His shrine consists of rooms containing his clothes and bags and his bed. Every year, a bag full of his belongings is sent to his village for annual leave and is sent back from the village after the leave gets over. During those times, the army is at high alert and extra cautious.

On my way to Nathula pass, I heard this incredible story from two army men escorting us to the border. Visiting the shrine was now a necessity, it became something more than a tourist spot. When I reached there I was struggling to breathe properly , it then struck me how difficult it would be for these people to guard us in such hostile conditions and they do it with a smile. It takes more than just the perfectly fit bodies to stay at these altitudes, it takes faith! Faith in the power or person who protects them and keeps them going. For some people that guardian is the mountains and for some it is Baba Harbhajan. On my way back there was a smile on my face, smile of satisfaction for I had faith in the men standing at the border guarding my family and friends so that we sleep properly.

India needs a better Leveler!

India needs a better Leveler!

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Jaipur Literature Festival: Two prominent personalities, one editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal and another one listed on the  Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll of the Foreign Policy magazine, Ashis Nandy made headlines after a panel meeting called the Republic of Ideas.At the discussion, Mr.Tejpal elaborated on the topic of corruption, how rich people get away with sophisticated ways of corruption and how people on the other side of tracks (a phrase he used for lower castes)  get caught because of their immature ways. He went on to call corruption a leveler, bridging the gaps made by caste. Mr. Nandy picked up from here and claimed that about 70 percent of the downtrodden people (he explicitly mentioned the SC, ST and OBC) are the major contributors to corruption.

There are massive demonstrations in the country since this discussion. Media is increasingly paying attention to the part where Ashis called lower caste most corrupt. Most of the leaders have condemned this statement and politicians are exploiting it for their vote banks. There are debates on the freedom of speech, cultural terrorism, intolerance of society. Focus is on the part where a specific part of the society was blamed for corruption, but after the official statements are out it is evident that the entire conversation was a shocker

We had been aware of various forms of corruption before, but this distinction made on the basis of caste is not only new but simply uncalled for. In the 21st century, intellectuals like him should work on removing caste biases and distinctions, but he simply made things worse by his statement. Does our country need a leveler like corruption? India ranks 94th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).  Do we need ways like his speech for making the influence of corruption even wider in the country. Since revelation of 2g scam, there have been massive protests against corruption, making it evident that Indians are ready to drop corruption as a way of life. But Mr. Nandy was so interested in revealing his new finding that he could not hold it and sit back, despite knowing the fact that its vulgar!

India is making attempts to get rid of this bias. There are laws, there are reservations in jobs and higher education and yes there are volunteers working for their upliftment. Caste system has plagued our society for thousands of years, it will take more than 60 years(of independence) to get rid of it and yes the country definitely has progressed. Association of corruption with caste is not a confidence booster for the country at this stage. Mr. Nandy and Mr. Tejpal, I wish you had discussed education as a leveler in the festival.

Indian Leadership Crisis

Indian Leadership Crisis

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Year 2002 – Dr APJ Abdul Kalam , former Indian President envisioned India as a Developed Nation by the year 2020. The whole country was celebrating , people were excited to be a part of fore coming transition , youth motivated enough to start planning and aligning their vision with that of their nation.

Year 2013 – 10 years since Vision 2020 was announced and there is no sign of its subsistence. Our government is lost in corruption and opposition in washout of the parliament sessions and the common man? Well, we have nothing to look forward to for we haven’t seen a vision since 2002. That year , a man gave us hope and pride and motivated us to give our best, to make gold out of sand and now the government is completely oblivious to it.

Our leaders haven’t even given us a vision in the past decade that is as compelling or at least worth remembering. Dr. Manmohan Singh , a man everyone looks up to has been a constant shame. Our vision is lost in politics and our pseudo leaders in corruption. Prime Minister’s speech on 15th Aug is something everyone eagerly waits for, but since Dr. Manmohan Singh it has been worth a miss. No doubt he is the man behind various 1991 reforms, but is he a right Prime Ministerial candidate? On issues of national importance when everyone is glued to television to listen what our leaders have to say, we have been constantly disappointed; sometimes by the manner of speeches and sometimes by its matter.

A nation without a leader is a nation without a future. Do we forget this while casting our votes or we are amongst the ones who don’t even get off our beds on days of election, rejoicing a national holiday. But is it our fault exactly? We have likes of Manmohan Singh , Sonia Gandhi , L K Advani as PM prospects. These candidates are either tainted or simply not suitable to lead a developing nation. We definitely don’t want a leader who keeps mum or is involved in religious riots or corruption as our Prime Minister.

We are a country with ample of natural resources, good core competency and great talent, a nation with the largest population of youth for the coming years. Given the right opportunities, motivation and a leader with right vision, Vision 2020 might look like an achievable goal. But ‘A leader with Right Vision’ , is there even a slightest possibility?