perfectly imperfect

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT

My quest for ‘Perfection’

Right from the day I stepped into a school, I was told to strive for flawlessness. I was told to dress properly, and speak absolutely right language, to solve all problems to get the right answers, and above all maintain harmonious relations with every one around. I am not sure whether I have lived up to the expectations of my parents and teachers. Now, in the evening of my life, I wish I had also been told to put a filter in my memory through which only the right thoughts would be retained, and the rest consigned to the ‘trash’ bin. I have mulled over these issues for a long time, and I offer this piece as my New Year’s message. 

*

1949. I was eight years old, going on nine. Our father was posted to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) as an instructor, and living on the campus of the Academy, was an education by itself. Ever so often, we saw the imposing Chetwode Building. It looked majestic. It provides the perfect backdrop for the training of officer cadets of our army.

 

                       

Every time I saw it, I was reminded of the parades which we witnessed twice every year.

 

I was struck by the ramrod straight posture of the Cadets and their perfectly coordinated drill movements, which were in perfect harmony with the bands. Nothing ever went wrong, be it clouds, lightning, rain or hot sun. At home, we were taught to emulate the example set by the cadets.

At school, the teachers wanted us to strive for perfection in spellings, tables and the sums which we were required to work out. Soon, I was old enough to acquire a geometry box, with which I could draw triangles, circles and other geometrical figures. Here again, the emphasis was on precision and perfection.

 

 

It was around this time that I received a globe, of my own. It was a perfectly round object, and they told me that it rotated around its axis, exactly as the Earth. I enjoyed playing with it and looked forward to being able to see  

 

our  Planet from the sky. My quest for striving for perfection continued to grow all this time. I tried to provide absolutely correct answers to every question asked, and I attempted to maintain my room as clean and orderly as the rooms of the IMA cadets.

One day, when we went to Tons River which flows just behind the IMA campus. I was overwhelmed by its beauty, and so we went there as often as we could.  My brother, Surinder and I used to gather stones of different colors from its banks. And then, one day, I observed that the river was neither straight nor circular. In fact it did not conform to any of the shapes which I drew with my instruments. The stones were of different shapes, colors and sizes. Despite being so close to the Academy, there was no uniformity in its architecture, and its motion was far from being ‘perfect’!

 

 

In the academy, there were strict rules to maintain pin-drop silence, and here, right next to the military training area, the Tons River was merrily gurgling away to God’s glory!

However, honestly speaking, I liked the sonorous and resonant sound of water, the imperfect shapes, sizes and colors of the river bed and the zigzag path on the mountain across the stream. Whenever we looked at the sky, we saw gorgeous sights. The sunset was always different and whenever there were clouds in the sky, the colors were a treat to see. I discovered that none of these scenes could be drawn with the instruments in my geometry box. Nothing in the nature was either straight or perfectly circular. It was, as though a child had playfully swept a paint brush on a canvas or a piece of paper.

  

Back home, I had another look at my ‘perfect’ globe. The axis of the sphere, I was told, was inclined at an angle of approximately 23.5 degrees, and I also learnt that the earth is NOT a perfect sphere. The diameter at the poles is 44 km less than the diameter at the equator. The ‘North’ which we determined with the compass is not the same as the ‘geographic’ North, and it keeps varying with time.  As I grew up, I discovered many more imperfections. The distance of the earth from the Sun varies between 147 and 152 million kms as the earth makes its annual journey around it.

To my chagrin and dismay, I learnt that not only is our earth imperfect, we actually know very little about the terra firma on which we live. The geologists tell us that the Earth is composed of five distinct segments, as shown below:

 

The upper crust on which we live is six to sixty km thick, and it is known to have ‘faults’. (it is thin beneath the oceans and thick on the land; beneath the sea surface, the water exerts the pressure to keep it in place) When the crust fractures, we get earthquakes and tsunamis. When I asked why we cannot identify these ‘faults’ and, therefore, predict these disasters, I was told that our geologists have not been able to dig deep enough to investigate even the upper crust.

Imagine, the center of the earth is merely 6,371 km beneath us, and the deepest exploratory well which we human beings have been able to dig so far is no more than thirteen kilometers! The structure which is depicted above is a mere assumption, based on secondary evidence. No human beings, or their instruments can go below, because the earth is very hot below the crust.

 

*

I was disillusioned with geography. I found it far too imperfect for my liking, and therefore, I decided to concentrate on Mathematics. Here all answers were exact, and so I felt I was on firm ground. There was a cogent ‘proof’ for all theorems and practical usefulness for everything which I learnt.

It was good going until I learnt about zero and infinity. I was told that:

            1 divided by infinity = zero          ( 1 ÷ ∞ = 0 )

            This led me to conclude that :  1 = infinity multiplied by zero. ( 1 = ∞ × 0 )

So far, so good. But when I divided my age, 12, by infinity, I was floored, and consequently led to the ridiculous conclusion that 1=12! Since, by the above logic, 12 is also=infinity multiplied by zero ( 12 = ∞ × 0)

My teacher was not able to give me a cogent answer. He sent me back, saying that division by zero and infinity is not permitted. When I asked why it is not permitted, he flung me away in scorn. But my doubt lingered on.

I was destined to pursue mathematics to the post graduate level at the IIT Delhi. And there I learnt that Mathematics is also imperfect! As for the concept of zero and infinity I did some research and found a satisfactory answer. My analysis is contained at the end of this story. For the moment, let me state without any reservations that as far as I know the physical science which we teach and learn is as imperfect as the Geography about which we talked a little while ago. I discovered many areas of a perfect disconnect between analysis and practical observation. Physics and Chemistry are far from perfection.

The engineering designs with which I have been associated are often based on approximations, which in turn derive from experience and proven designs, which are based on ‘gut’ knowledge. Rigorous mathematical and analytical calculations rarely yield practical solutions to real life problems.

*

In the old age, and especially after retirement, I have turned my energies to the study of history. I have been told that if you learn ‘historical’ facts, you can guide the future generation to proceed in the right direction. I started with the world history, but soon turned towards our own past. For a while, it was good going. But once, I stumbled on a copy of “The Golden History of India” published in 1945 in a library. To my horror it said very clearly that in 1857, some disgruntled and misguided soldiers had gone crazy, but the consequent “Sepoy Mutiny” was effectively put down and order was restored. This was only one of the differences between the Indian history which we taught and learned before independence and what our books say now. As seen by our British rulers, ‘Netaji’ Subhash Chandra Bose was a rebel and ‘Shaheed’ Bhagat Singh was a ghastly criminal. This difference is understandable, but what I found difficult to digest was what I read in a history text book which I obtained from Pakistan. It is of High School standard, and the cover page prepares you for what lies ahead. The title of the book is “A New History of Indo-Pakistan”

 

The very first thing you observe is that as far as Pakistani historians are concerned, their history begins with the advent of Babur. All that happened before, including the Indus Valley civilization (which lies in Pakistan) and the history of the period of Lord Buddha and Ashoka the Great are ‘prehistoric’ events which need not be taught. The name “Indo-Pakistan” suggests that the concept of ‘Pakistan’ has existed since several centuries.

The table of contents tells the rest of the tale with sufficient accuracy. Please read it with care.

After this there was no great surprise in store for me. I was prepared for what I read. The students in Pakistan are taught what their rulers would like them to learn. Jinnah and the Muslim League are for them what Gandhi and Congress are for us. Ranjit Singh who ruled  a significant part of ‘Indo Pakistan’ from Lahore finds a very brief and listless mention.

The 1965 war was, in this book, tipped in favor of Pakistan. Despite the inferior numerical strength, the Pakistani soldiers faught with great courage and captured a large part of Indian territory.  8 September is celebrated as the ‘victory day’ and the ‘uprising’ in East Pakistan was a ‘misunderstanding’ 

What our students in India are taught in history is quite different. Even though the story should be identical up to 14/15 Aug 1947, the two books have very little in common, even for that period. My immediate inference is that history is as imperfect as geography and mathematics.

*

History is as ‘imperfect’ as Geography and the pure sciences.  However, the consequences of inaccuracies in history are far more serious than the errors in other branches of knowledge. Biased history has a tendency of injecting venom in the minds of children at an impressionable age. About history, a wise old man said,

      “Whenever God wishes to change history, He connives with the historians!”

There is no way by which we can improve the defects in science and mathematics. But I think there is an urgent need to set the historical records straight. For this, here is a humble suggestion:

The history of warring nations should be written by dispassionate historians. Just as we have neutral umpires and referees in sports, we should requisition the services of completely unbiased scholars from distant lands to record history. In our case, historians from Argentina, Iceland and, Norway may foot the bill. And until we are able to organize that, history books written in India should be made compulsory reading in Pakistan with a reciprocal agreement in India.

Or maybe, I need not worry my old and rotten head. The Internet is already doing that. Sooner or later, the borders are going to become irrelevant, in as far as transfer of knowledge and information are concerned. We are rapidly moving from imperfection to perfection at least in this case! 

But are we moving in the right direction and fast enough??? I am not altogether sure!!!

*

 

A Note on Zero and Infinity

The discussion on Mathematical concept of zero and infinity was getting a bit heavy. So I checked myself. Actually, the explanation is simple. Zero and Infinity are not numbers: they are concepts, and they are relative in nature. Consequently these two ‘quantities’ are required to be treated differently. We take a few examples.

  • Consider that you are standing on the bank of a river. You have a grain of moist sand in your hand, and let us assume that its diameter is one millimeter. Now compare its mass with that of the earth. The ratio of the volumes will work out to 1: 1,728,000,000,000,000,000.  To save time, we can save effort by stating  that the Earth is infinitely larger that the grain of sand.
  • Now, compare the size of the earth with that of the Sun, or better still the largest known star, Antares. I am placing their relative sizes below in the form of diagrams. It does not need to be mentioned that the Earth is infinitely smaller than the largest star.

 

 

And now compare our Sun with Antares. It is less than one pixel  in comparison, on this scale!

 

You will have to strain your eye to see the Sun, and Jupiter is invisible.

 

Now let us get back to the tiny grain of sand with which we began all this. Has it ever occurred to you that it is infinitely larger than the thousands of molecules of which it is made? To give you a rough idea, here is a picture.

Molecular structure of a grain of sand

 

 

And these molecules are, in turn, infinitely larger than the atoms, each one of which is a vibrant replica of our universe! It has a nucleus and electrons revolving around it at an unbelievable speed.

More recently, we are told that the electron itself is made up of three parts, and there is sufficient reason to believe that the electron will turn out to be infinitely larger than something which a scientist will find, soon! Here is a quote from a recent post on the Internet,

In 1996, American physicists C. L. Kane and Matthew Fisher made a theoretical prediction that if you confine electrons to individual atomic chains, the Wiedemann-Franz law could be strongly violated. In this one-dimensional world, the electrons split into two distinct components or excitations, one carrying spin but not charge (the spinon), the other carrying charge but not spin (the holon).

And, of course, there is no reason to believe that we have been able to explore the limit of the universe. Each new probe into the space shows us more stars and constellations. In fact, cold logic suggests that the space has no limit. In fact an outer shell is beyond the realm of imagination.

Indeed, if there were to be an ultimate limit to the cosmos, and we accost a large wall or screen on which there is a clear signpost in alll languages, which says, “There is nothing outside this limit” our intelligent human beings will ask, most humbly, “What is beyond this?”

It is therefore quite unlikely that either the microcosm or the macrocosm can be fathomed by human intelligence. Perfection exists only in the ‘imperfect’ minds of our erudite scholars.

To Sum Up the discussion on Zero and Infinity, let us put it this way : The tiny speck of sand is infinitely larger than the electron (and its constituents, spinions and holons). We can see it and even play around with sand particles. The Giant stars are infinitely larger than the speck of sand and they emit enormous light and heat, but we need a telescope to see them. The Earth is somewhere in between. I leave you now to decide, which of these objects is ‘zero’ and which one shall we describe as infinitely large.

 Zero and Infinity are a lot like the Creator…He is large enough to build the entire Creation, and yet so tiny, that we can not see Him. The Lord in the Heaven is Infinity and Zero rolled into one!!!

*   

Epilogue : A Plea to my Friends and Foes on the New Year’s Day

I have never mulled more over any issue as this one. The quest for ‘perfection’ began to bug me sixty years ago, and I have felt for a long time that the nature never wanted perfect straight lines or circles. Nothing is ‘exact’ or ‘quantifiable’ in the universe. Everything, including truth is relative. It is in the cosmic scheme of events to create, destroy and create afresh. Nature does not keep a record of events. Even the animals do not retain memories of friends and foes. We human beings need to learn from the Creator. And the one message I have for mankind is to resolve that we shall learn to unlearn the ‘imperfect’ history which we have laboriously written over the years, and re-write it, after removing all that is negative in it.

Let us record all that we have written so far on the electronic medium, and press the ‘delete’ key. All history books published so far should be consigned to flames. Alternately, let us learn to read what our adversaries have to say on the subject.At least in personal relations, let us remove from our memory screens all the bitterness we have gathered for our friends and relatives, and begin afresh on the New Year’s day!

  

 

 

 

  1. Dr Nitish Goel says:

    Hello Sir

    The pleasure, meeting you, was all mine. Seldom does one get a chance to share thoughts with such learned and interesting men as yourself.

    The piece “perfectly imperfect” is very well written and presented with examples from the nature. This article does makes one think hard to get to the bottom of the query. Ultimately, nobody/nothing is perfect, is highlighted beautifully by you.

    I would love to go through other pieces on the blog as and when i am free.

    Keep writing and sharing your experiences/vast knowledge with hungry people like us, always keen on gaining something knowledgable.

    Thanks & Regards

    Nitish Goel

  2. Lt Col H.S.Bedi says:

    Dear Surjit,

    Your piece “Perfectly Imperfect” is fascinating. Indeed, we find imperfections in everything we consider to be perfect – the sun, moon, mountains, rivers and everything else in nature, or for that matter, even in man-made things – tangible and intangible. Well-established theories and dogmas are being constantly questioned. The Higgs Boson has thrown up new ideas. Research is furthering human knowledge and shedding light on the mysteries of the world. Nature, you will agree, cannot be easily defined. Our scriptures too have tried to unravel the ultimate truth. People like Stephen Hawking are deeply into this. Your bold thinking on such an abstract subject is therefore praise-worthy.

    Harindar

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Harindar,
      Thanks.
      You have a sensitive soul. It takes vision to grasp the enormous complexity of Nature. It is beyond human comprehension. And yet men have been tempted since times immemorial to contemplate on these ideas!
      Surjit

  3. J S Oberoi says:

    Dear Gen Surjit Sir,

    I felt closer to the divine and cosmic having read “Perfectly Imperfect” – hope we keep reading gems like it.

    However I cannot help thinking of Sahir Ludhianvi’s verse “Jinhe Naaz hai Hind par woh kahan hai” in the present circumstances.
    Jaggi Oberoi

  4. JG Arora says:

    Dear Shri Surjit Singh Ji,

    It was a pleasure to go through your excellent article: “Perfectly Imperfect” on the internet. I have no words to express my thanks to you for your wonderful write-up. To me, you are a perfect example of an enlightened soul.

    Originally from Punjab, at present I am based in Mumbai.

    It will be my pleasure to remain in touch with you.

    Shubham astu,

    Jai

  5. Inderpal Singh says:

    Dear Surjit ji,

    I enjoyed reading your write up. Very interesting.

    I will suggest reading the book titled, “The man who knew infinity” by Robert Kanigel.

    It is about the life of the genius, Ramanujan.

    Incidentally, the article, below, appeared in the news only a couple of days ago.

    With love,

    Inderpal

  6. Mohan Sachdev says:

    Itney padhey likhey faujibhai ko mera salaam…khoob likha hai likhnewy waley ney…
    Mohan

  7. Yogendra Dutt says:

    Dear General Saheb,
    Thanks for a very well written, fascinating article which so vividly sums up the underlying conception of observing imperfection in practically everything around us.

    Your thoughts on the concept of Zero and Infinity make perfect sense. I just want to add the following comments:

    Only God can be at once Zero ( the unmanifest, attribute less ) and Infinity ( the manifested Perfect Nature ). It is human mind and intelligence which is imperfect, not God’s creation. As this famous shloka of Ishopnishad declares:
    ” Poornamada poornamidam poornaat poorna mudachyatey
    Poornasya poornamaadaye poornameva vashishyatey.”

    Poorna=whole, perfect
    Rough translation in English:
    ” God is whole ( perfect ), His Creation is whole. The whole comes out of whole. After the whole coming out of whole, what remains is also whole.”
    This, in a way, explains the mathematical equation:
    Infinity – Infinity = Infinity

    Thanks again and wishing you a very happy new year,
    Yogendra Dutt

  8. Narinder Sapra says:

    Dear General,

    A very fascinating account brought out so well on a very original thought.

    It is really the human mind that is most amazing and of course can invent and project same item in many different ways.

    With best regards,

    sapra

  9. Gul Dost says:

    Sir,
    Thanks.
    However what you have said is nothing new. Only, since you have embellished it with pictures, it has become interesting and easy to understand.
    The Scripture divides knowledge into three categories :

    “Gyat” That is known to most people
    “Agyaat” which is not known, but can be learnt
    “Agyeya” Which the human mind will never be able to understand or comprehed.
    Be that as it may, I think you have ventured into a new area; and ‘taken the road less travelled.
    Gul Dost

    • surjit singh says:

      Kind of you. You are so right!
      In these fields, one rarely says anything new. One is at best, stating the same thing in a different way!
      Surjit

  10. Dr Lokeshan Nair says:

    Dear Sir,

    I read your reflections many times. It was very inspiring ande thought provoking. It has give me clarity for many of my long pending doubts in many matters. Thank you very much for making your thoughts black and white for many like me.
    Regards Lokesh

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear Dr Nair,
      Thanks for your kind words. Have we met? Do tell me a bit about your self. Your words are very well chosen.
      Surjit

  11. ';colls'' says:

    You are so perfect
    my dear General …
    says SGMT…
    of EASY…
    that now I shudder
    to make any comment

    The world has spoken
    so high
    since youth I know you
    so very true

    the only perfect human being
    who accepts jokers
    so imperfect like me

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear Sir,
      To you and Veena ji, we owe a deep debt of gratitude.
      I think I have been able to put a veil of cover over my ignorance effectively. I seem to be erudite, but actually know very little. But elder brothers like you boost my ego, and that keeps me going.
      As a child I always wanted to become a poet. But Destiny prvented me from getting anywhere near composing more than a couple of lines.
      Happy New Year
      Surjit & Surinder

  12. Surrinder Nakai says:

    Going through your par excellence composition aptly titled ‘Perfectly Imperfect’, I’m reminded of a couple of Urdu couplets and a few random thoughts. Kindly permit me to share these with your esteemed readers.

    Without going in to the oft repeated infructuous discussion on merits and demerits of the perception entertained by either party in the Indo-Pak context, I perceive a lot of sense in what Prof Waseem Barelvi had written-

    “Yeh Hum Mein Tum Mein Jo Duriyaan Hain, To Aao Un Ka Sabab Bhi Jaaney
    Kissi Ke Haathon Mein Tum Bhi Khailey, Huey Kissi Ke Shikaar Hum Bhi”.

    Sabab=reason.

    Next, I come to the aspect dealing with Zero & Infinity. Over whelmed by God’s design in respect of even a lowly speck of dust, Mirza Ghalib wrote-

    “Ek Zarrey Ka Agar Husan Numayaa Ho Jaaye
    Admi Shiddat-E-Anwaar Se, Hairaan Ho Jaaye”.

    Husan=composition, Numayaa=revealed and
    Shiddat-E-Anwaar=intensity of brightness.

    Turning now to ‘Perfection’. Undeniably, there is a heavy price tag on Perfection which apart from being monetary could also be social, personal and also in terms of time. Take, for example, the case of a machine. One would incur a reasonable amount to make it 70 to 80 % reliable. Aspiring for it to be fail-safe beyond that would cost a prohibitive amount. May I also suggest that small things make for Perfection but Perfection is not small, per-se.

    My next observation is regarding ‘seeing all aspects of life and living in relative terms as opposed to seeing life in absolute terms’. This is opposite of the binary language of zero and one. Imagine for a while that there is a continuum of 0 to 100 depicting Hypocrisy. All of us are somewhere on this line according to the degree and intensity of Hypocrisy we display. Nobody is at 0 and no one is at 100. The one at 45, thinks that the person at 50 is Hypocrite. Actually, he means that the person at 50 is a little more Hypocrite than himself. This hypothesis is so true for both good and evil aspects of like. Hence the need to see life in relative terms and not in absolute terms. Talking about Life, Allama had once remarked-

    “Amal Se Zindagi Banati Hia, Jannat Bhi Jahanum Bhi
    Yeh Khaki Apni Fitrat Mein, Na Noori Hai Na Naari Hai”.

    Amal=practice, Khaki=human being, Fitrat=temperament, Noori=spreading light and
    Naari=fire raging in hell.

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear SN,
      You add so much to my pieces, that for the readers, it becomes a rich ‘add on’
      I have a desire to make a collection of your Urdu couplets as a handbook for Urdu lovers!
      Happy New Year.
      Surjit

      • Surrinder Nakai says:

        Surjit, I’m thrilled at your desire. Please go right ahead and it shall be the privilege of this ‘taalibilam’ to share whatever little that he knows about Urdu couplets.

        Surrinder Nakai

    • Col M B Jauhari says:

      sir,

      thanks for clearing quite a few cobwebs from my mind.

      Regards

      Jauhari Col MB, EME

  13. Brig KS Virk says:

    Dear Surjit,

    I enjoyed reading your article. It is packed with knowledge and speaks high of your erudition and learning. You have beautifully combined your knowledce of maths, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geography and history along with philosophy. You explained very lucidly- perfectly imperfect.

    I myself think that there is a limit to the capacity of the human brain at the present juncture to understand the creation and scope of physical existence of matter, space,energy and related properties and attributes. Great scientists like Einstein tried to explain the perfect but imperfectly.

    Ancient Vedas and other religious books including Guru Granth Sahib came to the conclusion stating-” Neti Neti ” meaning nobody can comprehend the extent.

    All the same time it does not mean that we should stop striving to find out the truth. We must continue to find out the truth (perfection) using science, pnlosophy, religion and everything else at our command. More on the subject from you and others will be welcome.

    Brig KS Virk.

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear Brig Virk,
      Thanks a lot. I think you have added value to what I wrote. And you have supported it with a quote from the Scriptures.
      Surjit

  14. burhani dohadwalla says:

    Its such a different perspective…that has got all of us thinking…well written…happy new year

  15. Lakshmi says:

    That is a perfectly interesting piece. The garbled history as taught in Pakistan has deleterious effects. Your solution is ingenious.

    Thanks.

    Regards

    Lakshmi

  16. budhpal singhchandel says:

    OM,
    Very knowlegeable ,informative and appreaciable.

  17. Lt Col (Retd) A P Pande says:

    Dear General,
    Your article amply proves the fact that faujis are all rounders: good soldiers, fighters, planners, leaders and also, given the opportunity – great scholors!
    Wish U a very happy New year full of ‘perfect’ articles.

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear Col Pandey,
      Thanks. I do not think I am a scholar or erudite.
      The more I read, the more I become conscious of my ignorance!
      Surjit

  18. Malik Sharma says:

    Dear General,

    I read your interesting and enlightening piece on our naivety to look for perfection in nature and our lives. I wish it would be read and understood by the people who want to strike a mean by making the poor rich and rich poorer and by bringing in social equality by reserving 100 percent jobs and promotions for certain classes and communities.
    Lt Gen M R Sharma

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear Genral,
      Thanks.
      You are very generous with your words. Not many people appreciate serious stuff like this.
      Wish you a Happy New Year.
      Surjit

  19. great pleasure, information and fun reading your articles sir

  20. Bhupinder Oberoi says:

    Enjoyed reading Perfectly Imperfect.Appreciate the concluding para of starting the New Year on clean slate without any malice or illfeelings towards one and ALL.

    Have A wonderful 2013 with Good health and high spirits as allways.
    Bhupi And Ladi Oberoi

  21. J S Oberoi says:

    Dear Gen Surjit Sir,

    This is a “seriously brilliant” article – maybe the concept of ‘zero’ and ‘infinity’ has been challenging ‘evolved minds’ for a very long time.

    Another very revered mind had written about “his experiments with truth” – meaning that even a pure concept like “truth” could take on hues and shades.

    So be it – “satyamev jayathe” – maybe even that could be “perceptions”.

    Maybe eventually it is all a matter of faith and tolerance in our quest for harmony in human relations.

    Best wishes for a very HAPPY NEW YEAR” to the family and all readers of amolak.in.

    Jaggi Oberoi

  22. Tulsi says:

    A good article with pictures to match, worth the trouble taken by you, sir. Thanks.

  23. Brig PT Gangadharan says:

    My Dear Sir,
    1.There is nothing perfect in this world,except the creator.One cannot find imperfection in him.
    2.Imperfection is made perfect by perception.Love is perfect because God is love.
    3.Your message ” to delete and start “is apt as there is no way that we can progress with bitterness as the foundation of relationship.
    4.Your intellectual reasoning is indeed a display of your wisdom.We loved reading it and compliment you.
    5.We reciprocate your greetings!

    Gangs

  24. Manmohan Singh says:

    Dear Surjit,

    No body could have brought out in such a perfect manner
    how imperfection prevails in nature. No one can wish it away
    really. Let us,therefore, rejoice in this & be happy.

    Ur piece is enlightening & the message a perfect recipe for
    piece & harmony world over.

    I have always relished ur commn. Extremely well done.

    Happy new yr to u & the family. With season’s grtgs & best wishes,
    Manmohans.

  25. Mahavir S. Jagdev says:

    Good one Sir.

    Mahavir Jagdev

    sent from Microsoft Bazooka

  26. Sundara Rao says:

    Dear Surjit,

    I was very fascinated with yr msg. How true ! Life is full of ups & downs & twists & turns.

    Sundara Rao

  27. Col M B Jauhari says:

    Read your piece Dear General,

    The trouble is that we try to find logic. After my brief attempts at finding logic and rationale I have come to the conclusion (my conclusion …applicable
    to me) as under

    Try to be happy always and have a clear concience (Clear concience is easily achievable if one has a rotten set of values). If possible .. help reduce somebody else’s miseries..it may make both of you happier.

    Move away from anything that makes you sad on a regular basis (you may be categorised as being selfish for this).

    I can go on adding ….but I refuse to….. because I am as clueless as anybody else, if not more.

    Thanks sir. enjoyed the reading. As always you communicate very well.

    Only one request, please do not delete me from your mailing list…EVERRRR..

    Regards and Happy new Year to all including everyone on your mailing list.

    Jauhari col MB

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear Jauhri,
      Thanks.
      There is something in your mail which made me read it over and over again.
      How can I ever think of writing something and not sending it to you???
      Our FON association itself is so powerful…
      Happy New Year
      Surjit

  28. Er.B S Sandhu says:

    A beautifully written and thought provoking article.
    Liked it and gained lot of insight into imperfections encountered day and night.Thanks.
    The conclusion as to what is perfect and what is imperfect
    can only be arrived at if some one knows the ultimaye reality of life and existance.
    No one yet, be he a thinker,philosopher.scientist relegious guru or a seer has in definite terms been able to fathom or explain the start or the purpose of creation.
    Even Guru Nanak Ji in his “Illahi Bani” which is said to have come straight from Heavens loudly wondered:
    ‘so dar keha so ghar keha jit beh sarab smaley’.
    The whole concept of life, creation, srishty and God is actually mind boggling and as one goes deeper in to things he gets overwhelmed and almost lost. Finally in ligheter vein I always think to myself “Itni gehrai mein na ja ghalib doob jayega”.

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear Er Sandhu,
      Thanks for your genrous comments.
      Yes. The scriptures have expressed these thoughts very well. Actually, we lesser human beings are merely borrowing from them and basking in ‘reflected glory’
      Do tell me a little more about yourself if you like.
      Happy New year,
      Surjit

  29. Dave Sood says:

    One more perfect piece!

    Enjoyed reading it.

    Have a great 2013 and keep writing.

    Dave Sood

  30. Billoo Brar says:

    A lovely reading. Tusi mahan ho dear Surjit ji.

    We all know these facts and figures u have mentioned but never thought of these in these perfect and imperfect ways. Like you have brought out, we are such a small thing in this unimaginable big universe.

    I feel it shall be better if we remain satisfied in our surroundings. live a happy and contented life. More u will try to fingure the nature, more confuse we shall be. All is created by that some God or what ever u may call it. And to reach to the inside of God’s thinking or God’s doing, it means nothing as we reach no where. Our gurus had mentioned something to this effect……………..rab ik gorth dhanda, baid is they kholan lagian pagal ho jai banda………………………….

    Col JPS Brar

  31. jag says:

    Sir,
    Very interesting and fairly elaborate.
    As a first response please consider and you may like to accept that there is no perfection, except the One, and all is one.
    jag

  32. brig a s bhatti says:

    thank you very much sir for the writeup which many would have never ever thought of.it is thought provoking and deeply philosophical.wish you a very happy new year.

  33. Dear Surjit,

    I’ve read the piece with interest. Thanx for posting it.

    The questions posed by you, and the answers/conclusions arrived at, give us an insight into minds that continue to seek what we call ‘The ultimate truth’.

    I’m glad to realize that the truth continues to be elusive. What appears to be perfect today, turns out to be imperfect, eventually, thus helping such minds to start afresh, in the hope that some day, sooner or later, they will get enlightened.

  34. The topic is fascinating.

    Just to make it more interesting, I may add that two new concepts were introduced to senior defence officers for the first time in the Long Defence Management Course (LDMC). These were ” Tolerence for confusion” and ” Tolerence for ambiguity”. The brainwashing at IMA stood modified, much to the discomfort of the students.

    Imagine the reaction of the students! The mildest of all was ” Rubbish”.

    • Tulsi says:

      The students’ reaction was like this because they took tolerance for not taking action. Action has to be taken in keeping with what must be best for the general good, witout any thought for a personal gain, with no hatred or envy for anyone. And for this attitude tolerance for all must be inculcated, which will happen when there is no pride or ego, the doer feeling or thinking ourselves better than the other feeling, etc must not be there. We are what we have been gifted by Nature and we must work in keeping with it, while uniting ourselves with the Supreme Power above us all; so says the Gita.

  35. Madhav says:

    Thank you for sharing , Harry .

    Extremely interesting . Never thought of perfection and imperfection in this manner .

    Beautifully explained by Gen Surjit with a host of convincing examples .

    Am conveying my compliments through the Cc addsd to him and wishing him and hs family a very Happy New Year too .

    Madhav

  36. Harbhajan Singh says:

    A very interesting write up Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd) EME, living in Sector 34 Chandigarh.

    May like to read.

    Harbhajan Singh

    • surjit singh says:

      Dear General,
      You are very generous with your words. I think, livinng so near, we must meet. So that I can benefit from your wide ranging experience.
      With best wishes,
      Surjit

  37. Bhanu Rai says:

    Dear Surjit,

    I am fascinated by your thought provoking article and have taken the liberty of forwarding it to a few friends.

    This includes my cousin who started as a Class1 officer but changed his line and migrated to USA, where he has permanently settled. His son is a Ph D from Stanford and teaches Anthropology in London. This guy married an American girl of Pakistani origin. A divorce took place a few years later. His daughter now studies at Lahore and spends a few month every year with Father. Currently they are in Bangalore for a few weeks. I find that the educationists in Pakistan have created so many distortions about history, anthropology and archeology in the carricula of the schools that most of the Pakistanis grow up with factually wrong teaching and unhealthy prejudices.

    Perhaps Internet and some broad minded teachers will change the track!

    Warm regards and Seaso’s Greetings. – Bhanu Rai

  38. S S Malik says:

    DEAR GENERAL,

    ‘EXCELLENCE PERFECT’

    I knew you are a perfectly smart khalsa, par inne ho, pata nahin see. SSA.

    Sincerely,

    SULTAN

  39. Yoginder Sharma says:

    Fascinating, Surjit. Very profound and philosophic.
    Season’s greetings and a blessed 2013.

    Yogi and Despina

  40. Krishan Punchhi says:

    Dear Surjit,

    Thanxferyoremail.
    A quick reading shows that you are perfectly imperfect !!!!
    I’m surprised that a person of your knowledge and euradite incisive nature was an army officer. You are not supposed to question why as does a researcher, you are just supposed to do and die.
    I took my little dog to the vet for his injections. A Paki doctor was on duty. We spoke pleasently about my young days in Lahore etc. Then I told him something. I said that Pakistan has made disinformation and terror as its instruments of state. The trouble is that they both are against decency and logic. They will let you down. As for the terror, it is like rearing a snake which only knows how to bite. Terrorism will bite Pakistan badly and regularly. He listened to me politely and quietly. That was over 3 months ago. Since then, there are regular cases of terrorist attacks inside Napakistan. Their frequency and ferocity is on the increase. Pakis are doing a good job of breaking up that evil country, they do not need any outside help.
    More comments will follow.
    Regards…….Krishan.

  41. Lt Gen R K Gaur says:

    Surjit please accept my compliments for an excellent piece of writing. It is beautiful prose, it is moving poetry, it is the sum of philosophy, it is the essence of science and it is the outpouring of a soul. Well done.
    With your permission, may I disseminate it to all my friends?
    Love
    RKG

  42. Neena Singh says:

    Dear Veerji

    A very interesting and beautifully written article. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly and it provoked a good deliberation.

    Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.

    Merry Christmas and a great year ahead!

    Warm regards

    Neena

    • surjit singh says:

      Neena ji and PP Bhai Sahib,
      How about sending us some news of the US, with pictures. I am sure you will have some thing interesting to tell us!
      Surjit

  43. colonel Y V Tuli (Retd) says:

    General Surjit Singh has done a great job and many, like me, will gain adequate knowledge from his article. For this, he must be given highest credit. But he has not touched the source /root cause which made history all over the world imperfect/incorrect – written to suit certain community/country/religion.
    If he has the time, he may find its answer in the history of religions. For example, a straight-forward, and simply described religion in the four Vedas, has been mutilated to form more than 100 religions – from the “dharam” followed by Aryas (the original Indians), to Budhism,Jainism, Indian Islam, right upto varius types of Babas & Sai’s preachings. Preachers of most of these (so called) religions had their personal stone to grind and thus conveinently waylaid their followers for selfish (monetary/izzat) gains. Politicians are also doing the same thing.

    • surjit singh says:

      Yashvir ji,
      Yes. I have it in my mid to write a piece on the subject you have mentioned. I invite you to contribute something on spiritualism and history.
      Surjit

  44. Manjit Singh says:

    It is very interesting.And informative.Thanx.

    • surjit singh says:

      Virji,
      Thanks. You are very generous with your words. That infinity problem was first raised by you in your election poster in DAV College, I think in 1952
      Surjit

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