Ravi ‘Karigar’ Joshi and his Alter Ego, BDB

A comment on your tweet where you had shared the link to our paper presentation at Swadeshi Indology – 3 popped up on my twitter notification. It said, “You went too soon dear Ravi…Om Shanti…” I read the message again and again to see if the person had meant something else but there was another tweet by Shri Rajiv Malhotra that let me know that the message was what it meant.

Karigar is how you were introduced to me (Riverine) on Sulekha (in 2005?) and I was always friends with your mischievous alter ego, Bhoil Da Bhoot (BDB), much to your (feigned) displeasure. We were a group of friends – Narensomu (Subasri Narendran), Nargis Natarajan, Arati Ray, Rudra (Dwai Lahiri), Sarangadhara Kartha and B. S. Keshav among others – who enjoyed the liveliness on the blogging site that was so pleasant and meaningful.

Those were the days when there was hardly any awakening in Bharata about what was happening in the academic front with respect to Hindu studies. I was just a naïve reader of The Hindu and foreign-authored reference books who took these things at face value. I would have probably turned into a ‘liberal’ Hindu today but for your indication towards the works of Rajiv Malhotra and Infinity Foundation with which you were actively involved at that time. I read ‘Invading the Sacred’ with a whole new awakening as the truth revealed in each page made me feel more disgusted and shocked than the previous one. That was sufficient for me to fully realise how far things had been taken and who the people calling the shots on Hindu studies were. I wrote two blogs on the book which you ensured were both included as reviews in the online portal that had been created for the book.

The context of my writing took a more realistic stance now. My blogs shifted from humour to satire, from mere defence to questioning and all through this, you kept motivating me on with humour and tips and with BDB popping in with his wisecracks. If my blog pertained to fighting the enemy, I would request you for reviews before posting them, we shared information and updates on relevant topics via email. When I blogged on some ideas and projects on education, you opened my eyes to the kind of appropriation that was done by Christian missionaries and dissuaded me from sharing ideas on public space. This, again, was a huge revelation to me!

It was in 2007, I think, that Medha Journal was launched. At that time, I did not know who the founders were, and you asked me to write for the portal. One peek into the site and I firmly told you that I would not dare to step into such a scholarly blogsite and make a joke of myself. You just kept telling me that I would do just good and egged me on to share the blogs that I posted on Sulekha – which was by now a deteriorating site in the quality of content as well as service – on Medha instead. And I did. What a wonderful experience it was to have a portal full of Sanatanis! If not for your goading, I would never have stepped in! Medha Journal is where I made many more wonderful friends – Shri Partha Desikan, Sree Parna, Pradipda, Deshika and several others.

Our move to Malaysia in 2008 brought with it a lot of work that took priority over my writing and I switched off from blogging for several years. There were sporadic emails between us Medhavis to keep us motivated to get back to our writing selves. Medha Journal became dormant for a few years. We kept sharing information. In 2015, I got back online, and you quickly spotted me on Facebook. There was something that I learnt only now: You, BDB, were a co-founder of Medha Journal!

The emails between Medhavi friends became more frequent. There was a lot of urging from friends to revive Medha Journal and, eventually, Dwai brought it back. You had become busy with more Swadeshi Indology work, teaching at the temple, family, career, you became a director at WAVES Conference…you presented one paper at each of the first two Swadeshi Indology Conferences. You hardly had the time to write but you were always there with your sharp, brilliant comments that added volumes to the posts we made.

In the early part 2017, you sent in suggestions for Swadeshi Indology-3 asking if any of us Medhavis would be interested in presenting papers at the conference. Shri Partha, with his vast knowledge, let us know that he was prepared to present a paper. Then, you kept selling the idea of Medhavis presenting more papers at the scholarly conference until I said that I was willing to chip in details and information regarding political Dravidianism to anyone who could do the main part. And you just asked me to go ahead. While I started, I was least imagining that I would make a presentation on stage and I just flowed on. Our co-authored paper was selected for presenting and I was anxious to have you arrive in Chennai to be the pillar for a total novice with neither the expertise nor the experience to go on stage in a room full of knowledgeable people. There were reasons why you were unable to come down and decided to present your part via Skype instead. The presentation went well, was received well and was even selected to be published as part of the first volume of SI3 conference. Shri Partha’s paper was a mega-winner at the conference. That made a 100% super-success for papers presented by Medhavis.

The few phone and Skype calls we had just before and after the presentation were the only times that I heard your voice live. The emails between the Medhavis continued with you sometimes missing to respond. You stopped coming to Facebook but were still on Twitter, sometimes sharing my tweets.

What happened then, Ravi? Why, when nobody was prepared for it? Didn’t you know that your role as a mega-mobiliser of dhaarmic works was quiet, unassuming, powerful? Now, when our paper is published, will you come to take a look at all the hard work you put in so that the world would know how history has been distorted to suit those with selfish interests? I know you are there, smiling with Hari, you cheeky BDB! I miss you terribly, my friend!

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3 Replies to “Ravi ‘Karigar’ Joshi and his Alter Ego, BDB”

  1. A heartfelt tribute there dear Riverine. I thought about the times I spent with Ravi in person, on web conferences as well as on the phone, not to mention the long friendship of my Rudra with his Karigar and BDB (his alter ego).

    Ishwara’s will and ways are unfathomable. I am sure he is in the loving embrace of Hari and will want for us to continue his good work.

    Hari Om

  2. Agree with Partha and Dwai. Really a ‘feeling-full’ post Yamuna, celebrating his memories.

    In life, if there is one treasure that we can hold on till the end, it is our memories. All other treasures like wealth, health, knowledge slowly disappear as we age. It’s only the treasure of memories that we can hold on to, till we have consciousness.

    Ravi has impacted many people and will live in their memories as a ‘treasure’.

    Aum Shanti.

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