Jatayu Code

~ There is no greater wealth than wisdom, no greater poverty than ignorance, no greater heritage than culture and no greater support than consultation ~

I would think the reason for my childhood fascination for people who stood in the middle of nowhere and pointed out the direction to a destination is rooted in the fact that I had lived in seven states before the age of ten. 

~Shimla ? 

*Aage se left.

~Ajmer ?

*Chowk is right. 

~Dharangadra ?

*Bas, seedhaaa le lo.

A therapist however might have looked deeper and dredged up a hidden desire to belong to a place, to a familiar spot & know enough to show the way to others, seeking their port of call. 

So it is no wonder that one hot, summer night, in some little mofussil town, while watching what was then called a Forces Variety Entertainment Evening, swatting mosquitos on bare legs and trying to get the really tiny ones out of my eyes I was mesmerised by a wonderful but tragic dance of a proud vulture fighting to death with a ten-headed Ravan. 

To the beat of haunting drums those feathers, that beak, the shudder of those clipped wings remained with me … forever. 

And when Sri Ram with his brother Laxman found the loyal vulture, fatally wounded but holding on to his last breath, only so that he could whisper in his dying gasps the route taken by Ravan, the kidnapper of his wife, Sita. 

I remember then it came to me yet again, the importance of people being there to indicate the direction, point out the way to victory and success  – Jatayu Code. 


Every civilisation, society and time needs men and women of calibre who can point to the way ahead. Not mercenaries and freeloaders, not sycophants who stick their tongue out to check wind direction, but people grounded to the soil, to its history and culture. Yet open in thought and to change. 

For too long we have bartered that role to the intellectually dishonest, to the sold out, the apologists, the far removed and the deracinated. 

Those who do not know who they are and probably because of that take an inexplicable pleasure in constantly bringing others down with them-

-Weep my country…

-If this doesn’t shame you…

-Shake your national conscience…

-This is not my India…

-Ashamed as a society…

Imagine the road trip to Shimla with these people giving directions.…

Imagine the story of Ramayan or even perhaps a different ending altogether with them showing the way. 

In every age, Ram, Laxman, Sita, Bharat, Hanuman will be played by those destined for those roles. As will Ravan.

But to underestimate the importance of the little squirrels who built the bridge to Lanka, the monkey foot soldiers who then went on to win Lanka  … and of course the instructions and guidance to get there – The Jatayu Code. 

From the 50’s right through the 80’s, ideas were planted and nurtured in The Triveni Kala Sangam, Shri Ram Centre For Performing Arts, Vikram Sarabhai International Arts Festival, Prithvi Theatre, CP Art Centre & Foundation, India International Centre and other such places across the country.

An entire ecosystem of thought was assembled in these edifices by our beacons of society. Ironically even by industrial houses & their families, no doubt with the blessings of the governments in office.

For a still sleepy cultural revival to awaken, debates, discussions, books, films, literary festivals cannot be one off affairs but instead must constitute, regular features. 

To expect government and it’s bureaucracies to intervene at every level is not only a Soviet construct but also makes the entire endeavour dependent on people in office.

Worse, we remain beholden to car, bungalow, sarkari perks, nepotism and mediocrity when it should be a long term plan, irrespective of the ideology and regime in power.

Bring in the sponsors, bring in the patrons to revive thought, medicine, science, art, architecture – traditional, modern, contemporary and conservative. 

Private initiative and enterprise in culture & history must be encouraged and the idea actively sold.

The aim in fact should be to remove government hold and control not only over our places of worship, education, culture but also not to beg, cajole and hope to bring them into other areas.

Politics is a beast that thinks only till the next election, maybe two. The germination of thoughts and ideas, require a belief and dedication that spans generations. Political leaders can be that spark but its the people who must rise to make the change.

A vast majority of this country still has no idea of the inherent discrimination they face in so many spheres and plod on regardless not comprehending the glass walls they bang into every day.

Much must be done to inform and educate…

In finding that spirit level, relevant to the times, environs of culture and history will we discover who we are and what we are capable of. 

If we are fortunate it might also unleash an extraordinary and distinct creativity which is unshackled to those who remain tied to a politically constructed history that had the sole purpose of shaming a vast majority into submission.


When introduced to him later, I did not recognise the Gurkha soldier without his Jatayu costume.

He probably went on to enjoy his tot or two and the Bada Khana thereafter. Most likely, completely unaware how his powerful performance had planted a thought, an idea, a beginning in so many wide-eyed, awestruck little children that evening…..

Jatayu Code.

Show The Way…..

~A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history~ Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi


  1. Nandini ji you pointed well the role of Jatayus the foot soldiers (may not be big thinkers) but they are carrying genesis of our culture. They sacrifice in many ways and are forgotten on passage of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I sometimes feel that we are already late where as the youth is concerned..they have a very myopic and warped national sentiment and are ashamed of their identity,roots ,culture and heritage . Please keep on writing as the times now are very crucial or we will be sitting on a pile of a lost battle in a future that’s not very far 🇮🇳🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent narrative relating to the role of modern day Jatayus. Thought provoking scenarios & how it is embedded in our social fabric has been so well articulated. Kudos to the esteemed author Nandini . Well done Nandini as always. Keep it up. My compliments.


  4. Brilliant! One superb piece of rememberance and writing. And so relevant in these times when at every fork in the road there are so many with forked tongues to misguide you. One of your best efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful madam. Please don’t lose hope. Our youngsters will come back to their roots, but we have to keep up our culture and traditions alive, while they are growing up amidst us, and they will reflect back later in in life and connect the dots.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was fwded this link in my alumni group of crazy marine engineers . Reading it got me goosebumps and realized that it’s all these foot soldiers who get us too in our own personal lives to where we finally reach. I recall that when I get my final promotion on board my ship when I took over as the Chief Engineer I thanked in my heart all those important and not so seemingly unimportant persons who got me there to my personal summit. Then over the next three months handwrote letters to at least 20 persons, some who later told me that they were shocked to receive my letter for they never felt then that they had contributed much. Thank You for your wonder blog and for giving a name to the action of the unknowns!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nandini, as usual you have beautifully written the importance of direction givers, at the most critical juncture of
    one’s life, not necessarily some free gyan most can belt out to make it sound intellectual stuff. This is the case of an unambiguous simple direction, by a dying bird to its assumed master ( probably meeting in person for the first time, most certainly the last time), such is the devotion of a belief, What an apt title..Jatayu Code…🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼👍👍👍, Amazing…. Please keep us enlightened…thank you..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was trained as a Forward Observation Officer to direct artillery fire on to a target & it’s got ingrained in me to look around & note every little detail of my surroundings. Didn’t realise that Nandini has inherited this ability from her childhood to register, recall & correlate in writing events that took place when was just 7, to current scenario. A God’s gift which I hope she continues to use. Very well written piece with a hope that we don’t follow pseudo Jatayus.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Blunt yet succinct, a simple and small ‘code’ yet carries with it an enormity of task and responsibility for generations(s). Thank you Nandini for a wonderful concept and sharing it.
    A small beginning is to link the grandkids with their grandparents and onward to their roots(villages). The sampradaya and samskruti will follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for writing this wonderful article, very well written and exactly what we need during current times for people to be more educated of current affairs. Please keep on writing, Jai Hind 🙏🏻.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A superb piece. A powerful and timely call for action – from us, from ‘society’ – to break out from our cerebral prisons, rid ourselves of these Kafkaesque sarkari-dominated institutions that have usurped, warped, and often destroyed the myriad gems of our culture….and thereby unshackle our minds and creativity from the almost fashionable contempt for our own past, the abject slavery and diffidence taught to us by self-acclaimed Culture Masters for seven decades…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very appropriate words.

    The Jatayu Code.

    We need millions of jatayus and squirrels for an “uttistha Bharat”.

    I hope I can be a good Jatayu of our times. Even being that little squirrel would be an honour.


    Liked by 1 person

  13. A brilliant piece of writing, marvelously weaving an incident from The Ramayana to current political & social affairs. I am so glad I follow you to get my dose of witty, sometimes humorous but always mentally stimulating topics.

    Thank you Nandini ji for rekindling the #JatayuCode. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “……….those who remain tied to a politically constructed history that had the sole purpose of shaming a vast majority into submission.”
    So nicely articulated. Thanks a ton and kudos on the efforts to break the slumber.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nandini, another brilliant masterpiece from someone whom I consider as one of my ‘Gurus’. A marvellous piece picking up of an incident from Ramayana & so succinctly connecting to present day political & social lives.🙏🙏🙏. Thanks Nandini once more for being my inspiration

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wonderful piece. Each one of us forges a unique bond with our civilisational history and we express ourselves in ways that reflect our sense of the world.

    Polutical correctness for the morally uncertain and confused. Quiet conviction for those that understand that the truth within can be understood only when we acknowledge what we believe in, however erroneous or otherwise it may be, and allow it to lead us

    Jatayu is a civilisational reminder, to do what we believe is right


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