20 February, 2012

Changing path! From blogger to own domain

After more than three years now, I am moving my blog "Silence before the storm" from blogger to a subdoman by the same name on my domain doubteverything.org and will be hosting it on WordPress.

This being a natural progression, I hope the readers will feel at home on my new, simpler but 'more me' ideating space on http://ideasareimmortal.doubteverything.org



Looking forward to all your continued encouragement :-)

09 February, 2012

Excusing myself

In times of timelessness is when one gets bombarded with ideas. This hiatus on my blog which has lasted for about ten days must be the longest period of me not ideating in this space. Although I have been hit by substantial brainstorms, there has only been a lack of my own commitment to sit down, and write out the content.

Now, I feel incomplete without it, and here I am only trying to give an excuse.

While I have been not really busy, with no time to write hasn't been the case. I only haven't been able to find the right time to jot down my brainstorms, which I can claim in this period to have been really gratifying.

I shall soon articulate and post those ideas, here on this extended virtual me. Until then, just remember that - Ideas are immortal!

30 January, 2012

Classic Incantations - A concert of confluence

AR Rahman's music is that undercurrent in my life which interleaves most of my memorable memories and important instances. His music is not just a means of recreation to me, it is where my rationality fades and I know of one thing but surrendering to his notes.

Today happened to be an excellent opportunity to rejuvenate my Rahmanism, and witness a German orchestra - Babelsberg perform some of his best pieces. The concert was in commemoration of the Indo-German relationship, and aptly the German orchestra performed to AR Rahman.

Although ARR was not at the venue, he did peek in via web chat and greeted the audience.

The impact live music leaves one with is unimaginable, and if the music is something you already relish it elevates the experience one level ahead. Although this I can't claim to be the best live music experience I've had, it did leave me with goosebumps most of the time, and ecstatic at the end of the performance.

My first live experience of a soprano happened today, and after today's brief rendezvous with soprano, I only ask for more of it. If there is one composition by ARR that I have always longed to listen to live in a symphony orchestra it is the opening music of the title track of Rajni starring Muthu. And it was scintillating, as expected!

The exotic theme music of Roja, Bombay, Lagaan, Subash Chandra Bose, 127 hours, Robot, Passage, Mangal Pandey,  Warriors of Heaven & Earth, Lord of the Rings, Elizabeth, Meenaxi and Slumdog Millionaire were performed. Each one leaving behind a repertoire of emotions :-)

The last performance, which enchanted the 8000 strong audience was the theme from Swades. Although my favorite portions from the movie soundtrack are different than the one performed it precisely showed the power of an orchestra! Just splendid!

My monotony was undone, and I feel full to the brim :-)



26 January, 2012

Fulfilling emptiness....


Both socilasing and solitude are necessary to keep us sane. Just that we long for one of these, when the other has been experienced in excess. But being stuck in one of these extremities might render some extreme ramifications – one either becomes a hermit, or an identity-less chunk in the crowd.
I am now relishing solitude after an excessive dosage of socialising. AR Rahman is singing quite aptly and filling the air with “thanimai thanimaiyo” , as I am writing this now.
It is as if I am getting back to myself; as if to catch up with a portion of me I had forgotten and to savour every moment with this interaction. Music and unfettered thoughts both playing at full force : serenity. It seems that I was longing for it for quite sometime.  
You are your truest self, when alone, I had read somewhere, and what better opportunity than when in solitude to rendezvous the unfaking self.

Solitude is not just about introspection, although that comes as default. It is more on the lines of rediscovering, revealing and rejuvenating the self. It has an unparalleled power to appease the disturbances, distilling the mind.

Bliss when caressed secured in the bosoms of Mother Nature and the bliss in the damp warmth of seclusion are but extreme, yet sublime experiences.

My slowly dawning revelation of a close companion – words, seem to flow out with ease, articulating my thoughts with utmost fidelity in an ambiance uninterrupted by the chaos of the routine. Intimate and profound thoughts quantify as ideas and take form as my scribblings. At this juncture I also am introspecting this companionship, and validating if I haven't fooled myself. To question my caliber of writing is a routine passing question.
And even before I have completed thinking of the question, the answer already is surfacing up. Why does it have to be gauged at all! It is fulfilling, complementing and extending myself beyond the biological me, and is that not a valid reason to stop questioning of its caliber and let it flow? I do write to cater to others, but only after gratifying my own urges to vent out, ideate and express.

The post as you have read on, if you noticed has no structure at all! It is the crudest of my posts, in saying that it also lacks any intent to pretend or preach.

It is quite an irony to see how emptiness can also be satiating. But is it emptiness at all is the question :)

25 January, 2012

Swami Vivekananda: The monk as man



Swami Vivekananda: The monk as man
Translated from an article by Dinesh Aminmattu, Prajavani, 16th Jan, 2012

Swami Vivekananda was a “dull” student. He lost his job as a teacher because he was 'not able to impart lessons' to students. By birth he was diseased. And by the time of his demise not one or two, but was suffering from 31 different ailments. Matching with his Bengali descent, he was an obsessive junk food eater. Until the last day of his life he was eating non-vegetarian food, and was also able to cook non-vegetarian recipes derived from national and international cuisines. He would smoke cigars and hukkas like an addict. Without distinction of it being Hindus, Muslims or Christians, he would eat at all their homes, Even while he was devoted 'Sanyasi', he would be engaged in all the get together parties that were organised throughout the day in the hotels, while he was in the USA....

If these snippets be propagated, to all the people currently engrossed in celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of this “Revolutionary Hindu Saint”, they would be taken aback with terror. Nonetheless, these are true facts.

Even though from a backward class (shudra), Vivekananda took up Sanyasa going against the Hindu tradition. He denounced the same tradition again by crossing the oceans. Rebelling against the ancient traditionalists he would stay put at the 'unholy' places of westerners. For the very same reason, High Court judge Murthy Gurudas Mukherjee refused to head the Welcome Committee after Vivekananda was returning from the Chicago World Religious Forum address. After the renouncement and the 'sainthood', numerous eminent people from the 'upper castes' would address him a friend and not as swami. He expressed his infuriation about the hoaxes, customs prevalent in Hinduism and other perils like casteism, untouchability, blind superstitions, temple rituals and these outbursts would for sure have earned him the tag of an enemy to Hinduism from the fanatic proponents of Hinduism. 
 
Swami Vivekananda at Jaipur, ca.1885-1893

Ideas like “Head is superior, and legs are inferior”, which instilled disparity within one's own body and other disparity installing mechanisms that are inherent to Hinduism had frustrated Vivekananda, and in rebuttal he would say that people should have “Muslim bodies, with Vedic minds”. When the Maharaja of Khitri, a disciple, expressed his dissent about Vivekananda eating at a Muslim home. Vivekananda retaliated by saying, “I would even eat with the scavengers. I wouldn't be scared of people like you. You don't know anything about God or religion.” Once, an emotional Vivekananda went on to say, “If I were alive during the time of Jesus, not with my tears, I would cleanse his feet with the blood oozing from my heart”.

He would also defer the argument that Hindus were converting to Islam because of the force of Muslim rulers. He would attribute this migration to the inherent casteism, untouchability and exploitation in Hinduism. When a religion does not recognise and respect the fundamental rights of humans, then it no longer is a religion, but “dance of the devil”, and the place becomes “hell”, was his perception. He would also reminisce words from his teacher Ramakrishna Paramahansa, “Mutual respect between religion is not sufficient, there must be a cognizance of the fact that all the religions are true”.

Hoping that the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Vivekananda “Utsavamurthi” would increase the awe and respect towards him, but when experienced turn out to be a disappointment. Even after 110 years after the demise of the maverick saint who lived for only 39 years, 5 months and 24 days, after endorsing sainthood at an age of 24 years, life of the real Vivekananda is still shrouded in obscurity. Often in recent times, Vivekananda is being projected as the “Brand Ambassador” of Hinduism and in this process, traits which weren't his are being fabricated and portrayed exaggeratedly to elevate him to the place of God! 
 
Vivekananda in South Pasedena
This misrepresentation is nothing new. People who have wanted to transform the society by social reforms have all been made 'deities' and have been distanced from the common people. The notion that, if not for an incarnation of God, no normal human being can grow to have any substantial impact has been shrewdly planted and perpetuated by various religious leaders with political leaders as accomplice. Starting from Buddha to Basavanna, Vivekananda to Narayan, all these people leaders have been escalated as deities amidst their 'worshipers' and are today drowned in the anointments and chants of their 'devotees'. Sinking under the worshiping of these these devotees, the real life and ideas of these great leaders are going oblivious in the pages of history.

Last year, Penguin Publishers published a book “The Monk as Man” by famous Bengali writer Mani Sankar Mukherjee. This is the English translated version of a research based Bengali book (Sankar's novels “Seemabaddha” and “Jana Aranya” were made into movies by Satyajit Ray). Apart from the ideas and philosophies of Vivekananda, the little known private life is featured in this book. Also other books about their elder brother by Vivekananda's younger brothers and letters from Sister Nivedita throw light upon the life and times of Vivekananda. 
 
Another group picture in South Pasadena
Vivekananda would in future enchant the western world with his knowledge and mastery over the English language, in spite of faring not academically well in his intermediate and B.A exams. He scored 46 % and 56% respectively is worth a mention. Out of 500 marks he scored 261 (in Sanksrit he scored 43 and in philosophy 45).
After the death of his father, Vivekananda, out of compulsion had to work to maintain the family. He joined Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's education institution. And because Vivekananda was not able to teach students well, he was sacked from his job by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar himself. If not for his mother – Bhuvaneshwari Devi, the world would not have seen Vivekananda, maybe. Like the thousands of Narendranaths from Kolkata, he too would have drowned amongst the crowd.

Vivekananda was from a rich family, but with the untimely death of his father, their ancestral property was swindled by his relatives, leaving the entire family onto the streets. Narendranath was the eldest of the eleven children and the responsibilities of taking care of the family was already on his tender shoulders. While he was unemployed, there were times when he would wander on the streets wearing torn clothes, having no food to eat on many occasions. The fight in a court that was going on incessantly for seventeen years got resolved only a month before the death of Vivekananda.

Shrugging off family responsibilities, Vivekananda renounced the world and took up Sanyasa, passing all of his burden onto his mother. His mother did not loathe him because he had quit the responsibilities of the family in times of deep despair. Instead, she would be proudly talk of her son saying, “My son took up Sanyasa at an age of 24”. After Vivekananda's demise, she lived for another eight years in tremendous trouble, sustaining only on the monthly grant of a hundred rupees from the King of Khitri. Today, the Indian population who are glorifying and celebrating him were of no use when he was alive. He had once lamented, “ Should I always beg to the foreigners”. 
 
Mother of Vivekananda Bhuvaneshwari Devi
Man of a big heart, broad shoulders, bright eyes...”, are the usual text book descriptions of Vivekananda, projecting him to be the He-Man of Hinduism. Little would the people claiming these know that Vivekananda was always ill and was suffering from numerous ailments. From severe headache to heart problems, he was suffering from 31 health problems. Apart from kidney, liver and throat problems, he was suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, acidity, constipation, weakened nerves, joint pain, swollen legs and was constantly in pain. He had been an insomniac for a long time, and during the end of his days he would sleep as little as a couple of hours only per day. Even a touch would cause excruciating pain in his body. He had written to his disciple Mary Hale at the age of 34, “My hair has grown grey much before my age and my face has wrinkled”. Disheartened by his illnesses once he sighed, “ I have become like a limping horse unable to run the race. At least bestow me peace by granting euthanasia (mercy killing). I can no longer bear this pain”, records Sister Nivedita in her documents.

Even amidst all the ailments, the sharpness of his words hadn't mellowed a bit. Being the foodie he was, he would eat lot of junk food. “I would add chunks of meat in boiling water with some spices and serve a dish to Thakur (Paramahamsa). Whereas, Naren (Vivekananda) would cook varieties of non-vegetarian dishes”, says Sharadadevi in one of her writings. Sister Nivedita has also elaborately documented the culinary skills of Vivekananda, comprising of national and international recipes. The day he died is when the Hilsa fish had entered the Hoogly river; he had got it cooked, had it for lunch and later in the day when he was resting is when he breathed his last that night.

A dull student as per academic standards, ailing from tens of health issues, shaken by family responsibilities, food obsessed common people can also grow to become “Vivekananda”, was proven by Narendranath to the world. While being entangled in these difficulties also, he had studied all the religions and philosophies of the world. He would travel countries and give speeches. He would relentlessly write books and letters. He had thousands of disciples and millions of followers. He started the Ramakrishna Mission in service to his Guru. All of this, he had accomplished within a span of 15 years.
Can a commoner accomplish all of this? Certainly he/she can. One has to be a Vivekananda for that!

PS:  Audio excerpt of Vivekananda's address at the Parliament of World Religions, Chicago in September, 1893

21 January, 2012

Questions as windows to the mind!

Judging people and their intellectual abilities based on the answers they give is ineffective, to say the least. Answers to questions, or solutions to problems can be 'learned', sometimes even 'practiced', and necessarily do not convey the independent intellectual abilities of the person and the mind.

Answering questions is not an uninfluenced act of logic or reasoning; It is a response to the question posed, and because the question has already been asked the premise and context of the thoughts and ideas are made available. Now, it is only a matter of ideating on a given plane of thought, within a frame of reference. It for sure requires a radical mind to answer questions by thinking beyond the given plane of ideological reference. And hence the rarity of radical thinkers.

Whereas, when people are to ask questions by themselves, it is more of an independent and self reliant process. Questions emanate out of the inconsistencies of personal perceptions and understanding. It is also a consequence of the self not being able to decide upon the realms of applicability of ideas it possesses. To come up with a sensible question is by virtue of the adjective prefixed a lot more demanding mental exercise than to come up with the answer itself.

Allow me to take one question as an example to substantiate these claims of mine:

There is God, or there is no God. 
Substantiating either of the claims might appeal to each of the respective diaspora as a radical answer, but, it is not the answer, the question firstly which is more radical
Is there a God at all?
People to arrive at this question would have to go through a more rigorous exercise than the ones taking either the stand of a theist, or an atheist.
This is true, for any question!

It is not answer that has been changing the world, but the questions!

What if we were not created?
Why are blacks not equal?
What if light is a wave and a particle?
What if time is not constant?
What if there is no God?
Why is there disparity?
Why should it be this way, why not that way?


Ponder, and questions reveal the mettle of an intellectual traits than the answers.
Watch out for people and the questions they ask.

19 January, 2012

Interaction with Dr.Binayak Sen

Dr.Binayak Sen
Dr.Binayak Sen, a normal middle class family man and a pediatrician, concerned about his fellow beings, is according to his own sarcastic words different from the rest of the audience in that he has had "the privilege that the majority of the middle class in India have not had: to be jailed and handed a life sentence for sedition".

A senior human rights activist, pediatrician and now an icon of sorts because of the conviction by the District Court of Raipur guilty of 'sedition' for alleged Naxal links and due to the global support his cause received. His work in universalizing health and nutrition in rural India have also gained him wide accolades.

In an interaction at the Indian Institute of Science, Dr.Sen elucidated some of the aspects of his work, the concern he shares with the rest of the population and his take on the current "Sedition Law" in India.

Here is a gist of the interaction:

Malnourishment in India

Dr.Sen being a health specialist and having been part of the Steering committee for the National health policy revealed some data which are hard to fathom.

With about 37% of our population having a Body-Mass-Index less than 18.5, implying malnourishment, India according to Dr.Sen has been in a state of stable famine over large periods time. With this figure today India is the country with the highest number of hungry people in the world.

Deriving from the statistics, Dr. Sen also conveyed the fact that the annual grain consumption per family has declined, and although certain set of people are relating it to increase in consumption of meat, he infers a further worsening impoverishment of the population.

He invokes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent futile sigh about such conditions where in the PM called it "a national shame".

Universal health care

Another important aspect that Dr.Sen has been working in and wanted the audience to ponder about was the access to Universal health care to all citizens.
 
Malnourishment interleaved with the lack of basic amenities: starting from sanitation to primary health care at affordable costs has been rendering a huge section of the Indian rural population, scheduled castes, scheduled tribe population into the fangs of diseases such as tuberculosis, diabetes meningitis etc.

According to Dr. Sen, there is no resource crunch in terms of funds, but only lack of planning and reluctance in implementing policies such as health insurance, strengthening Public Distribution system, subsidising prices.


People and politics

When the audience recurrently raised questions on what each one of us could be doing to impact the situation, Dr. Sen had a recurrent answer :
"You cannot stay at an arm's distance to politics and say no to politics and still hope for change in the conditions.

People cannot outsource democracy to about 500 of their so called representatives and forget about democracy until once in five years. Ordinary citizens should get involved in active politics.", were Dr.Sen's views. He also made it clear that he was not talking of any party politics, but only active engagement by people in democratic processes and ensuring that the Government would give heed to the request of its people.

Sedition Laws in India

After having handed a life sentence in the name of sedition by a District court, rejection of bail plea by High court and over ruled bail by the Supreme Court, Dr Sen obviously had a critical view of the current sedition laws.


He said,"In an active democracy dissent should be legitimised, only then can a democracy function. But, according to the sedition law 'any disaffection towards the government in power' is deemed as sedition and a life sentence could be rewarded". This according to Dr. Sen is ironic and a flawed take on democracy itself.

In conclusion, Dr. Sen also hinted at the current neo-liberal policies which allow thriving expropriation of natural resources for profit either by the Government, or the Government in nexus with the corporates. Encapsulating this disparity, Dr Sen recollected a Supreme court verdict in which the Judges analyse the Government's vision as:
Tax breaks for the rich, and guns for the poor!

15 January, 2012

You know when you flow

'To Flow' is what I ask people to do. That's my motivation tagline; Yes, it might be that I can't do it as well as the current corporate Gurus, but I preach only what I practise unlike them :)

Culture as a flowing stream and stagnation as a peril, I dealt with one of articles for The Hindu. Now with respect to people when I'm talking of 'flowing', I only imply unfettered living by pursuing ones dreams, without any inhibitions at all. The term 'flow' reminds us of certain adjectives which would do well if observed in our personalities - dashing, hustling, agile, flourishing, moving ahead, destiny!

If that seems cliched, or superficial, you are free to think so :)

My experience is: When you do what you love to do, people love you for you to do; And that precisely is the external metric which one must check up if not contended from within, or is having dubiousness about the life he/she is stuck in.

When actions and thoughts are in synchronism, and efforts are effortless, aging through days transforms into flowing. And flow is always good, for the entity as well as the ecosystem; Be it with respect to Mother nature, or human nature :)

Even if I am to write more lines on these lines I would still only be trying to convey the point that, mere surviving is not a life worth having lived, and to flourish in your life all you have to do is instead of crawl through - FLOW :)

Not really apt, but there's the ocean at the background :P

11 January, 2012

Bhagawad Gita, the fanaticism, education and secularism

I have not been following the recent debate of incorporating the 'mandatory study' of the Hindu religious text Bhagavad Gita in its entirety, but with my little understanding of the issue I directly plunge into proposing my opinions.

Firstly, the notion of India being a secular state has for long time been applicable only to school text books, and not in fact to the day to day activities in its truest spirit. Further, the idea that a Hindutva fanatic political party is ruling the state of Karnataka, and has incessantly been trying to aggravate the already fragile inter religious solidarity is of anything but grave concern.
 
BJP in Karnataka seems to have nothing better to work upon, except for churning out the 'sentiments' based on Hindutva ideology amongst its people. The recent 'made snana' debate, the increasing saffron mutts which have now attached themselves onto the nexus between politicians and corporate mafia trying to influence the opinions of the gullible population of the state by divine order, and now the issue of The Gita in school curriculum.


Religion in its pure form might not have been harmful, but we are to tackle what it is now and not what it could have been

The issue of introducing the study of a controversial religious text as a mandatory portion of the curriculum (although it is being claimed to be a pilot project) operates directly at weakening  secularism. It isn't just about The Gita - no single religious text must be enforced on the young minds.

I studied in a Christian school, and the extravagant propaganda of The Bible in fact eased my metamorphosis to take my current stand of an atheist, which might not be the case with all young minds. Likewise, although Hindus might be the majority population in India (even in Karnataka), it does not give them the right to tread on the religiosity of other sections of people - be it Muslims, Christians, or atheists. On the other hand because they are the majority, it hands them the extra responsibility of not hurting other religious and non religious sentiments.

In a TV discussion, one sane head made a valid point of religious education: Either it should be kept entirely away from education, or a comparative study of all major religious philosophies and texts must be conducted in an impartial manner. And I seem to endorse this point wholly. Although even a comparative study of it also might be futile, only to help young minds to look back at all the stupidity that has been perpetrating for centuries in the name of religions.

The specific issue of The Gita being imposed is an open atrocity being committed in the name of religion, for direct political gain. The nature of the content in The Gita - the varna system and the justification of war etc, have been already debated intensely. It is not only a sectarian propaganda, it also gives immense room for all the fanatics or the puritans to perpetrate more atrocities in the form of moral policing and of course more of superstitions, because of their conveniently wrong interpretations.

If it is ethics that the Government is keen on teaching its students, let it strip off the brand of religion, synthesize only the essence from all religions of the world: Living a good and honest life might not require volumes of preaching from people who lived ages before us.

And to adamantly stick on to the antiquity of those preachings is that special absurdity in all religions that makes them redundant, even before the debate has started!

Let there be light!

05 January, 2012

Reading The Kite Runner

Well, I knew the genre I was being led into – fiction, but with a touch of reality and I have no complaints, only some reservations. The Kite Runner is certainly no bad read at all. It falls into my categorisation of works which I call the “Paulo Coelho type”, whose only work I have read is The Alchemist.

This genre is smooth to read, meticulous in its descriptions, nuanced in expressing emotions and a light read (for sure does not give a headache!). Although this is what is successful international literature, this genre by itself is a cliché as per me. 
 

Now, reading The Kite Runner was a nice walk down memory lane, reminscing my initial years of the usual fiction reading. All you Khaled Hosseini fans, I am certainly not disregarding the quality of the writing that has gone into it, but only expressing my disadvantage of being a bad receptor of fiction of his kind.

Things I loved
 
The Kite Runner is one of the smoothest reads - in all senses; not much to think about, not much to remember, no dictionary look-ups and predictability at about every nook and corner. These are for sure a nice respite from the other kinds of my recent literature. 
 
The backdrop of the story. It was as if, I was focusing on the unfocused portions of the scenes throughout. So, how did Afghanistan look? Why did the Russians invade? Are the Talibans like the ones I have seen on TV? The mountains, terrains, ambiance.

Simplicity : As simple a thing gets, more the beautiful it becomes! This almost holds good here. To see such a simple work to have that beauty and to have appealed to a really wide audience is a testimony to the simplicity and the beauty.

And not to mention, one of my quickest reads.

Things I did not love (!=hate)

The story by itself is too much of a repetition to what the Indian movies have fed you by the time you decide not to watch any more of them. The sentimentalism about relationships, which sometimes go beyond normalcy are an overdose to me. And I did not for obvious reasons feel very appreciative about the turmoils and guilt the protagonist undergoes.

Like I said, I liked the background better than the main story, for, there is a weak person as the protagonist. Now, it might seem unreasonable, but yes, in fiction, at least I need an inspiration! Else, come on: There is no point of reading!

And the simplicity is too simple; for there aren't many memorable lines too from the book! I like witty or profound lines, and was for sure disappointed to find hardly a few.

I might sound like the hungry critic, waiting to chew some cud about a famous work, but no: These are just my personal views as always. Of all the praises you might have heard for the book, not many would have had a perception such as mine, that could be because of the obtuse nature of reading I am into. 
 
I look at reading as an investment, and I am not a happy customer this around.

Well I have The Thousand Splendid Suns, and yes will read it, but not in the near future.

02 January, 2012

Accommodating myself amidst people and their expectations

Sometimes I wonder whatever that I am, is it because it was always there in me and I have been only discovering it, or have the people around been operating on me and compelled me to invent these traits in me as seen today ?

I consciously try not to cater to the expectations people would want to adorn me with, although with the truest of their intentions. Or, maybe I do absorb some of their aspirations about me into me, and then try pushing my horizons.

Once I have expanded my boundaries mentally, I then have always tried to fill it with efforts and as it has transpired hitherto, I have been able to expand myself and to fit into those larger shoes, and thus my growth.

Is it that I am trying to position myself in the image other people have envisaged of me – Maybe, yes! But, only when I am convinced that it would be something congruent and natural to what I have already embarked to do. It should simply align to my evolving ethos.

It also happens that sometimes these expectations might bog one down under their burden; While I believe there is a mental threshold which is dynamic, and clips these external aspirations in order to fit the true person I know I am.

This post is not to criticize all the real well wishers I am fortunate to be surrounded with, but only to project out the reality to myself, so that although sweet I don't get deluded in an illusion. These expectations serve as an incessant source of inspiration and for sure keep me motivated.

All I can assure to others, and more so to myself is that I will always strive to get better, with no fixed targets, for, who knows even that might become a dead end and halt my growth.
I will flow, and keep expanding.

31 December, 2011

Metamorphosing out of 2011

Every year, the year that breezes by feels like the most eventful year of my life, and this year ain't no exception: Better, this has been the best ever in my life! Metamorphosis or rediscovery I am not sure of, but the feeling right now is right and great!

Metamorphosis
The first half of this year was the time when I made some serious structural changes in my life, in all dimensions and have tried fitting myself into a long aspiring role, which has allowed me to rediscover, reinvent,reinvigorate myself and to some extent inspire others.

Long term consequences of these changes although will be unfolding in the numeric change awaiting tomorrow, I will be looking forward to it, as usual.

I have also transcended into the next level of my commitment towards the change I want to see coming around, and will work more effectively come 'new year'.

I am also playing a mind game of sorts with myself: If I want to endorse "unfettered freedom", or "get bottled up", or strike an "unlikely balance". While one of the contender seems to be tipping off the balance big time, I will wait until I bring it to reality.

People
The biggest surprise I bestowed on myself has been the whole bunch of people I am getting to know.
Am i not surprised!
In this regard I was turning into a cynic. Glad now, that people of all nature and kinds, some real close, some working at deeper layers of thought, some resonating with all the action, and some outlawed from my field of interaction are all available, and if not in plenty but in adequacy.
Discovering new wells of resonance, ideating and implementing the collective vision have all had a good start, and within my constraints will sustain them.

Time
If one thing I have grown disappointed with myself is my time utilisation. My efficacy of performing within time has been getting better, wheras the efficacy of allocating time itself has deteriorated. Will consciously improve this time timing time!  

Writing
It might not be an exaggeration if I could claim that I have gotten more confident of my writing skills. Not because I get to write technical articles for a newspaper, or I am asked to write for various fora, but because I am these days, more than ever before, able to vent out all of my thoughts, as effectively as the language permits, well within my nascent writing. 
Words, are becoming my closest companions, and there's nothing more to complain about. Will allow it to grow as far and wide it can.

Reading
2011- The most read year, as yet! My book collection is taking shape into a precious library. Reading has hit a peak after my metamorphosis, and the rate of reading and the extent of assimilation I am able to do are better. I have acquired an ability to be able to discern literature and have an opinion about it. It is not about the opinion, but the mind that is able to make sensible criticism on ideas presented in the works and sometimes even the quality of the work itself. That certainly feeds fuel to the aspiring writer in me.

Bouncing off the efforts of the 365 days of this year, I am looking forward to the challenges and the camaraderie at all strata.

PS: Well, yes it is just a number, still serves as the right time to self evaluate :) 

27 December, 2011

Dr.Mulugeta: Inspiration beyond Physics

"I was in prison for seven years, and the first four years of imprisonment, there were 45 of us in 4m x 4m room in the central prison in Ethiopia", reminisces Dr. Mulugeta Bekele from Ethiopia, not with remorse, but with a tinge of sadness of the time spent then, and a subtle nationalistic pride.
Dr. Mulugeta is an associate Professor Physics at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia. He completed his Ph. D in Physics from the Indian Institute of Science, India in the year 1997 and now he's back at his alma matter for a month. It has been a deeply inspiring experience to have interacted with him, firstly to know the Physicist he is, and with subsequent interactions, I have known other nuances of this humble science and math enthusiast from Ethiopia with a life long of struggle.

Dr. Mulugeta was the only Physics major student at Haile Sellasie University, and he pursued his passion Mathematics via Physics during late 1960's, as a lone student during his under-graduate days.

After the monarchy in Ethiopia was overthrown by a military regime - socialist for name sake; although it did nationalise banks, industry and land, it was far from being the encapsulation of people's aspirations. As Dr.Mulugeta says, "The monarchical hierarchy under which Ethiopia was ruled until the 1974, using military had just lost its head - the monarch alone was gone, and there was a total military oligarchy. With zero representation of the people's voices, the new military regime had to suppress numerous popular people's struggles".

The people's struggles which were taken up in the form of student movements, workers unions, and other representation of the common man in Ethiopia ended up in a ghastly phase of Ethiopian history. During this time, Dr.Mulugeta was teaching at AAU and did participate in the revolutions during the monarchical oligarchy, and post that against the military oligarchy.

The military regime was ruthless and suppressed all forms of uprisings, and in doing so killed hundreds of youth and imprisoned thousands of them even without a trial.
The Physics teacher from AAU that Dr.Mulugeta was during the people's uprisings against the military regime did participate in all the youth movements. “As the educated section of the society, all young students and teachers were actively participating in the demonstrations, and it was natural for me to join in those struggles”, he says. 
 
The ruthless regime in order to curtail such people's struggles killed hundreds of the young students and put a whole lot of them into prison. Dr. Mulugeta was put into a prison during one such retaliation by the military. He speaks of the uncertainty about the term they would be serving, or even the future of all the captured people, for, there was reckless genocide going on.

"We weren't given a trial or anything; Directly dumped into the prison and we did not even know for long....And when one of my other physicist got a trial and was sentenced seven years in prison, we started thinking of the same luck for each of us. We did not know how long could seven years in prison be. The first year is Sunday, second year was Monday, third year was Tuesday and so on, like the seven days of the week, each year was to become a really long day for each of us...”, recollects Dr. Mulugeta from his prison experience.

Describing the inhumane conditions of the prison cells and the tortures they had to endure he says that the cell in which he spent his first four years of term was 4m x 4m, and 45 people had to live in that! With very little time when they were allowed to go out from the cell, it must have been really hard. Although he does not talk of his own difficulties at any point of time, he says that before he could be put into that cell, previously there were 88 prisoners in the same 4m x 4m cell!

Apart from the imprisonment, severe torture on the prisoners was common, where they used to be chained, beaten, broken and several severed to death.

After four years in the central prison, where he was moved to a larger main prison where each prisoner the space alloted to each prisoner is more or less similar to the central prison, but the solace was that they could walk around the prison compounding walls.

When Dr. Mulugeta was released in 1985 at the age of 39, after spending seven years in jail he went back to AAU and in 1991 he comes to India to pursue his Ph. D at the Indian Institute of Science. Today he is one of the most respected Physicists from his region and in recognition to his efforts in contributing to Physics and his struggles he is being awarded the Andrel Sakharov prize by the American Physical Society, about which he says,” My Ethiopian students in the USA recommened me for this and I am happy about it”.

A simple, humble, erudite physicist with a life story which moves and inspires the young, not only of his own country but well beyond.

21 December, 2011

The inverse nature of aesthetics and ratification

Well, in this post I try to give shape to an ongoing discussion about the essence of aesthetics and ratification.

Before I present my views, let me make it clear that although I can be in awe and savour the aesthetics of reasoning (which actually is more gratifying), I am delving into the other realm of aesthetics which is primarily dominated by senses and the 'gray areas of the gray matter'!

Casually many a times in my interactions I put forth a point,
"To sustain interest, intrigue is mandatory; Absolute comprehension is ruthlessly disconnecting!", or something on these lines, correlating the amount of comprehension with the interest on subject.
Take a minute, dwell on this idea, and read on :)

Irrespective of you being convinced or not, the point I am trying to convey here is that aesthetic sense (previously interest) needs a dose of obscurity to attain the 'tending to irrationality' sensations it renders, for its grandest impact. I am not contradicting my previous discourses about reasoning and logic; if so, let it seem so, for now!

Analysing art and photography should give us a good test case, and it shall be a very personal outlook of the debate and I do not intend to take it beyond; nonetheless if one feels coherent - feel free - tag along!

Art as in creative painting is what I mean in this context.
Painting is purely creative. Everything on canvas flows from the mind of the artist, even if inspired from reality - I as an observer has not seen the reality, and I am more than glad to look through the artist's prism. While being immersed in savouring a 'good'(by my perception) painting, the sea of emotions unleashed by the painting could be varying from anything that is euphoric to morose; personally, these experiences would have little explanations, or rather I wouldn't want to pursue it, because it would burst out the bubble of that profound sensation!
I'd rather leave the comprehension away in this case, and let myself be lost in the sensations of aesthetics.


Talking of photography, yes, photography is art. But the amount of impact it would have is lesser than that via artisitc painting. The 'obscurity gradient' inherently is lesser here! In a photograph 'the moment' has been frozen - it is quite remarkable and all. But my mind knows that it existed as it is there, and it is only  the perspective that has been altered. Reality is never all that exciting to the aesthetics- it needs something beyond reality - fantasy, something beyond the realms of common sense and that is what is aethetically pleasing to the mind!

And painting, or music churn out things which weren't already there! They create and render the influence of the artists persona and that confluence is what makes all the difference. Surreal!



Take for example that Picasso one above, and imagine a deeply saddening picture of a malnourished kid in African countries (which have been more than adequately photographed). Both make me sad. But I know the reason for the latter - there's a logical chain my mind is already thinking on - famine -govt apathy - policies -exploitation -.... I can explain my sadness here - empathy.

But, the painting I don't know why! It is still inexplicable to me.

The post is not about disregarding the mind boggling skill that photography is,but only analyze in relation to artistic painting. Even in photographs, the perspective offered by the photographer conveys beyond what the reality is.



For instance in this one by me (not a great pic, but the purpose seems to have been conveyed)

It is my perspective and not the reality itself. You would still be seeing it through my perspective, but I haven't created the reality there - it somehow lessens the thrill is my argument.

Both art and photography quench the lacunae of daily life by filling us with inspiration, joy, agony, awareness, love and beauty; No ratification can balance out the emotions, it can only mellow down some of the impact.

17 December, 2011

ITEC Movie Club scores from Offside!

ITEC's long standing aspiration of getting a movie club running finally and in a special manner was realized today. The purpose of this club is to watch and discuss progressive movies which would sensitize and increase awareness about issues which many a times go unnoticed.

The first movie screened today was the Iranian brilliance "Offside" by Jaffer Panahi. This being the first screening, the team had hoped to rope in a famous cinema person for the inaugural show.


Prakash Belawadi who obliged to be part of the first screening was the most apt person; with his cinema experience and critique on the IT culture was impeccable for the occasion.

Prakash Belawadi made a couple of interesting remarks about the IT work force and their ethos, which I think is in fact a less propagated reality of the IT culture. "Stuck in crowded work places, reaching via congested roads, slogging more than adequately- having a hellish lifestyle" was his perception of the IT community. Also, the corporate social responsibilty mask under which the euphemistic social endeavours are taken up by the IT diaspora was also retorted by him. IT community, the small community that it is has run away from the realities of the society in India, and without defining which society their social responsibility would be catering to, there would be little sense to their 'responsibility execution' was his straight forward view.

Talking about the need for movie clubs, and apprecating the efforts of ITEC he mentioned that benefits of watching a movie in an audience when compared to watching it in on DVD - the interaction and the commune emotions that are churned out are the things which are not to be missed.

Jaffer Panahi's Offside

Islamic Republic of Iran's oppressive regime and the nature of state controlled media with almost zero freedom are quite well known. Working in such an environment, Jaffer Panahi, has tried to bring out certain important issues via his movies. Currently, Jaffer Panahi is serving a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country. All this for making progressive movies in a severely constrained society.

Offside is a heart touching story of a bunch of adolescent girls who disguise themselves as boys, so that they get to watch the World cup football semifinal match in Iran, which the Iranian women are not allowed to! A simple tale, captured on film in a documentary style with some exceptional performances by the cast renders Offside as one of the best movies of recent times. As Jaffer Panahi is known to be a neorealist film maker, Offside is a remarkable piece of work which more importanlty portays a retrogressive social practice persisting in a regressive social structure, in the most appealing manner, with subtle and sarcastic mock at the system, while projecting the aspirations of the female protagonists in various dimensions.

Although the direct idea might seem disconnected to our circumstances, it is a symbolic questioning of all the discrepancies of gender inequalities. The suppression imposed on the female population in many of the countries even today is of deep concern and the discussions which followed the movie did show that there is a lot that could be done! In India although with all the freedom we boast of, excpet for in urban scenario the condition and treatment of women is certainly not at par with men.

Prof Chatterjee from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, who was part of the audience discerned India and Iran based on his experiences: India is a country although with advanced consitution of law, women have a regressive mentality, as a whole; whereas, Iran although has a rudimentary consititution, women there have a lot more progressive mentality.

These are the kinds of debates and dicussions ITEC is looking forward to instigate by making the Movie Club consistent.

Offside is a must watch to everyone, and if interested to know more about the Movie club, the movie itself or about ITEC do visit the website http://www.itecentre.co.in/



13 December, 2011

Day dreaming in dreamy days

Without getting into the specific time as to when, although many of you might well be able to guess it, last few days have been really conducive for this gratifying, involuntary creative act - Day Dreaming!

There is something unique about day dreams, in that they are not in entirety based on the subconscious and hence most entirely implausible. These are perfect confluence of subconscious' aspirations substantiated by the ratification and planning of the conscious mind,yielding these wondrous mental states.

Deepest longings emanating from the core of the self, take shape and present themselves as realistic and hopeful projections of the mind, seeking whatever it really craves for!

Another important trait is that one does not forget what transpires in these dreams unlike their subconscious counterparts, which many a times need Freudian analysis to recollect and decipher!

While I cherish reminiscing and hoping for these day dreams to see their day, you try working on yours :)

09 December, 2011

Gullible vulnerabilities of a wobbling mind

My tending towards arrogance brag sessions about rationality and the import I give to logic and reasoning might already have established a projection of me in your perceptions; if it hasn't I'm glad.

This post is one of those periodic singularities in my blog, where my usual flow of ideas and opinions are obstructed to make way for something more trivial - my own personal commotion from within.

The grand title I have engraved to this post might have led some of you to expect, and I don't know what, but all I am serving in this post is confusion from within.

Ratification is gratification, being my mantra, a couple of minds around have been questioning if this is an absolute principle and would I be able to adhere to it eternally. Even before I could formulate my defense and present it, I introspect to find anomalies and inconsistencies in my proclamation of ratification.

I am so hopelessly irrational many a times, that I know it for sure that I am the most irrational rational around.

What instigates these objective experiences in me is not important, for I am not principled well enough to remain non-subjective. When I call these experiences, responses and expectations irrational, they are more than simple irrationality, these reach zeniths of ludicrousness, at least when probed from the point of the other me I aspire to grow into!

I am gullible most of the time, and this trait isn't about others deceiving me, but more on the lines of self deception. A delusion, that I for always have resented to get away from.

Vulnerable because, I am weak. Weak in the sense that not the strongest as I want to be. There must be some vents through which my strong persona leaks out, leaving me vulnerable.

The responsiveness in me that makes me look like a pathetic simpleton and the impulsive nature of reacting projecting me to be a loose cannon have a deep rooted inconsistency about my mental framework. Impulsiveness and spontaneity in reactions, not even responses have been the devil riding on my back for quite sometime, and I have not off loaded them. Even after pushing myself into super ridiculous and extraordinarily embarrassing situations I oscillate and rest back to abnormality.

The abstraction here is directed back at me, for I know no one but myself can alleviate this sensation of mine.

07 December, 2011

Hurting my non-religious sentiments!

/Me is a non-religious person, a proud atheist, and this post might well encapsulate in a frivolous sense the subtle 'trauma' our diaspora is being conditioned to.

Well, here are some of my genuinely exaggerated confessions:P

If you thought non-religious people did not have sentiments, yes you were almost right that we don't have unreasonable ones, like quarreling for a piece of supposedly 'holy' land, or a wall, or adulating each ones idols, or seeking supremacy in relic books. But we do have sentiments, that usually go unnoticed, and I assure you these are more personal, yet sensible stuff!

It hurts my sentiments when I'm asked to write my religion in the religion field  of every application form and that 'atheism' is not a recognized entry! Although my recent hack  “born hindu” seems to convey a gist of what I feel, that does still hurt my non-religious sentiments!

It hurts my sentiments, when I see that we are non-existent to the Government and media, and they don't want to give heed to this our swelling diaspora. This community, with obviously higher IQ is ignored, for we understand and endorse Darwinism and not the 'magic wand bang creationism'!

It hurts my sentiments, when the religious fanatics' 'hurt and trampled' bleating gets all the unnecessary importance, when there's a whole world full of more important things to be done!

It does not hurt, but only amuses me when an atheist is treated as a traitor or an embodiment of evil, instead of looking at the evidence and reason behind our natural vanity.

It hurts my rational sentiments (oxymoron, I get it), when instead of facing my arguments some of you dodge and hide behind a facade of sentimentalism.

It hurts my sentiments, when they perceive me uncultured, when the truth is that I'm more sanely cultured than even the most religious fanatic, for I have undone the rituals and superstitions and celebrate only the humanness!

It hurts my sentiments, when everyone talks of only sentiments and not of the intellect! How can you run a world by pleasing unreasonable sentiments, blocking all of rationality?

It gravely hurts my non-religious sentiments, when you threaten me of not allowing to have the delicacies for each of the religious celebration, and that alone of all I have mentioned has the most serious impact on me, sometimes making me rethink my stand as an athiest!:P

All said and not done, I feel hurt to see many of you still loosely stuck to your religious webs and pose helpless, while I cherish the bliss of cognizance, that builds through every moment, every day.

04 December, 2011

Sliding down the memory lane


After a really long time, I was there,
at those very places,
and I was soaked, really wet in reminiscence.
While childhood memories are nostalgic,
I seldom dwell on my own for some alien reasons.

And today, accidentally when I happened to be there,
and was free and decided to go strolling all the places,
It was, I say gratifying and deeply so.

All of it looks smaller, because I have grown twice taller! 
The distances I used to cover running ten paces are two hops now;
The garden beyond the walls I used to climb into, is now accessible via just a peek;

The big trunk trees that we used to climb upon,
They are almost the same, only look much taller;
Remembered the flowers, and it reminded me of their fragrance;


None of the buildings resemble what I remember
Colours have changed, structure tweaked
The place looks concise and all of it looks as if stuffed together.


The games we used to play,
running and hiding and seeking one another;
Felt a hint of pain to see the spot
where I had slid and grazed myself.

Aroma of the legendary Warrier bakery
and vydehi uddina vade,
Made a point to quench my taste buds this time
Finishing with the classic filter coffee;

Resting at the steps of the temple
after the triple conduits of the deity,
Wanted to do it, felt free to have it my way;

Went past school,
twelve years where I learned and unlearned,
Met a pal, who yelled "debian"
Facebook it seems, proclaims more than what I am.
buddy chat, catching up on jobs,past and future.
Between the two no girls to talk about,
Boring it was obviously.

Surprised myself
allowing this sweet sensation of reminiscence
I relish every moment of it,
I relish every moment of it,
Sliding down the memory lane.  

PS: The first twelve years of my life, approximately half my life I lived in and within the proximity of Rajajinagar. With twelve years of schooling from the very vicinity, all the memories I remember start with the places there: the streets, trees, buildings, eateries, temples, school! Saving it for myself here :)

30 November, 2011

Religion: That which relies upon relics

Another installment of the Godly religion debate makes an appearance on my blog, and this time based on a series of discussions with an entourage of a different kind. Without delving into the nature of the entourage, let me dive directly into the arguments.

Religion: That which retrospects relying upon relics
Science: That which refines itself based on skepticism

Science and religion coexising? Impossible!
The aforementioned snippets of wisdom, that I have come to arrive at, based on all the incessant, intense and invigorating discussions on religion and science, kind of encapsulate the two ideologies and place them in a clear scale for dialectical analysis.

If you have been one of those fortunate persons to still have a deep religious faith system and have been part of a debate with me, you would realize your big, bold, blind spot. The dead end one would eventually bump into while sliding down the the tunnel of religion is that religion does not evolve in principle, and I make no mistake in leading you to that point of revelation. It relies on relics, and is never looking into the future. It is simply retroactive.

Like anything that stagnates - goes stale - ends up being perilous to the system, religion with all the centuries of stagnation and more of deterioration has of course hampered the system in a deep and cancerous manner. The pros and cons of this flaw in the society have been elaborately presented in my previous posts. I will only try to talk about the obstinacy that comes inherent to the religious avatars.

Living by a set of principles is any sane and civilized person's natural tendency. If the society feels it necessary to impose these principles based out of unverifiable texts, each boasting to be more antique than the other, onto a system which is dynamically changing on a daily basis - Could it get more ridiculous? Although most of the teachings or rules presented in these texts might be deemed as eternal and universally applicable, I doubt the veracity of this claim, as would many of you.

My problem has never been religion, but the imposition, propaganda and obstinacy that comes inseparably attached to it. Like Kamal Hassan says, “Your religious beliefs must be personal like your sex life, without going gaga in public about it!”.

Now, let us take up the counterpart of this debate – Science.

Science: That which refines itself based on skepticism

Skepticism is inbuilt in the modes of thoughts perpetrated by Science. It is designed to scrutinize itself and to evolve better. This alone has been the common trait through the millenia of science that has happened. Science scrutinizes itself ruthlessly unlike any other ideologies. It is honest, humble and rational. Science too depends upon relics, but of different kinds – fossils they are called and play their part in reasoning, to prove the concept of Darwinian evolution by Natural Selection.

Further, to the minds endorsing scientific thought, it only teaches one to learn and get better. When one endorses the scientific perception, an air of arrogance seemingly would surface up; It is nothing more than a vent out of frustration, for having to look at the world as it is today entangled in multitudes of religious fangs.

In all, the debate of religion and science could go on forever, they can never be coexistent as many claim to synthesize.

Science is when you've realized what religion is, given that in this process you've used your brain.

26 November, 2011

Industry-education: Connected via a disconnect

ITEC's convention on bringing in awareness about frauding IT companies brought out some interesting paradigms, to look at a seemingly straightforward problem of frauds and cheats.

Of all the reasons discussed on the lines of labour-capital friction, to the lawlessness one other important and at the same time profound cause that surfaced up through the discussions was the role that professional education has been playing.

Bangalore, is tirelessly addressed as the knowledge capital, and adding to this tag today it is also the IT capital of India. While this entire new diaspora of IT'ians, and all the changes ushered in using them as the vents are remarkable, in terms of the impact and the pace at which it has coalesced into what it is today. A whole gamut of structural changes have been impinged on to the society, and the population has responded by altering a lot of itself. As in changes in the culture, politics, policies, priorities of people, etc... are substantial enough.

One of the most important things that has had a slow,subtle, yet huge impact is the education sector.

First and foremost, the notion of education becoming a "sector" of business can be attributed to the rise of big businesses via the IT revolution India has witnessed. Who else, other than Bangalore could be a better contendor to serve as an analysis point?
A full hundred engineering colleges, churning out the work force in a production line model, without being concerned about the quality of its throughput is a sight observable in Bangalore with ubiquity. This throughput supposedly is to cater to the plethora of IT MNC's based in Bangalore, while that sector itself has one perennial complaint about the 'employability' of these products from the higher education machinery.

As the discussions conveyed: A connected disconnect!

What is the purpose of education?

This question itself needs a whole dedicated discussion. Nonetheless, in the current context of Industry and education, would it not be outrageous to percieve education, even the so called 'professional courses' working at narrowing down the learnability of students to a small cone of technologies, which translate into a smaller window of career opportunities? Is this the role of education?
To educate a young mind in a system is to prepare him/her to become agile and glide through the alleys of life, and not to chain down in one spot, which would grow worse by the day.

Role of corporates in education

Now, Mr. Narayanmurthy of Infosys, is the new mascot of gleaming India, looking into the future of the world, carrying the young generations to advancement; or at least that is what the media is portraying him to be. He's credibly being accused of nosing into too many domains, certainly beyond his realms of expertise. Recently, in an ironic interview in NDTV he was being questioned about the growth of India in the last two decades, to celebrate 20 years of Neoliberalism in India, beyond the License permit raj. Now, why is it ironic?
Like in Chaplin's The Kid movie, if a window glass is shattered, it certainly is beneficial to the window tile seller! Allowing you readers to ponder further on this, let me delve into the corporate influence on education.

Mr.NRN represents to all our vivid imagination the 'big business doing, good samaratins'. These good samaratins are obviously doing good, but not to the general public but their own vested interests.

The education sector is being modulated to the tune of the market forces. Specialization in education is being performed to accommodate the skills necessary for the industries being set up, and that is deeply influenced by the current trend of businesses thriving. "Education system is dancing to the songs of market forces", as Sridhar, Senior Editor from the Hindu said.

Higher education system, at least the engineering colleges are offloaded IT company training institutes; preparing the workforce as they perceive the industry would want, and becasue the industry is always ahead in terms of technology the efforts by the education system are deemed inadequate!

Higher education should allow people to specialize in their interests, not what the market is interested in. The higher education climate in the last decade at least in Bangalore has been : get hold of an engineer's tag and get into an IT company, lead a happy life! Each portion of which is a hoax of nth order!

While there are bigger and immediate problems to be addressed about the IT sector and its perilous impact on the society, in the long run undoing to education what IT revolution has done would be of highest import, to make the society a balanced one.

25 November, 2011

ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ

ನನ್ನ ಬ್ಲಾಗಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಕನ್ನಡ ಲೇಖನಗಳೂ ಯಾವುದಾದರೊಂದು ತೀವ್ರತೆಯ ಸಂಗತಿಯ  ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಇದ್ದಿವೆ. ಈ ಲೇಖನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಂತಹ ಯಾವುದೂ ತೀವ್ರ ವಿಷಯವನ್ನು ಮುಟ್ಟದೆ , ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಬರೆಯುವುದಾಗಿ ನಿರ್ಣಯಿಸಿದ್ದೇನೆ, ಹೇಗೆ ಮುಂದುವರಿಯುವುದು ಎಂದು ನೋಡೋಣ.

ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆ ಯಾವುದೆಂದು ಕೇಳಿದಾಗ, ನನಗೆ ಎನು ಉತ್ತರ ಹೇಳುವುದೆಂದು ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗೆ ಗೊಂದಲವಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಮೊದಲು ಮಾತೃ ಭಾಷೆ ಎಂದರೆ ಏನು ಎಂಬ ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟನೆಯ ಅವಶ್ಯಕತೆ ಇದೆ!

ನನ್ನ ತಾಯಿ ಮಾತನಾಡುವ ಭಾಷೆ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯೆ?
ನಾನು ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಆಡುಭಾಷೆ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯೆ?
ಅಥವಾ, ನನ್ನ ಮೆದುಳು ಆಲೋಚನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡುವ ಭಾಷೆ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯೆ?

ಈ ಗೊಂದಲದಿಂದ ಹೊರಬಾರದೆ, ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯಾವುದೆಂದು ಪರಿಗಣಿಸುವುದು ಅಸಾಧ್ಯವೇ ಹೌದು. ಮೇಲಿನ ಮೂರೂ ವಿವರಣೆಗಳನ್ನು ಕುರಿತು ನಾನು ಒಂದು ಭಿನ್ನವಾದ ಉತ್ತರವನ್ನು ನೀಡಬಲ್ಲೆನು.

ನನ್ನ ತಾಯಿ ಮಾತನಾಡುವ ಭಾಷೆ ತಮಿಳು. ಈ ಕಾರಣ ತಮಿಳು ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವುದು ಸುಲಭವಲ್ಲ. ನನಗೆ ತಮಿಳು ಓದಲು, ಬರೆಯಲು ಬರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ - ಈಗ ಕಲಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತೊಡಗಿದ್ದೆನೆ!

ನಾನು ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಆಡುಭಾಷೆ ಕನ್ನಡ. ೧೨ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಕಾಲ ವ್ಯಾಸಂಗ ನಡೆಸಿ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ, ಆ ಮೂಲಕ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಇತಿಹಾಸದ ತುಣುಕುಗಳನ್ನು ಮೆಲುಕು ಹಾಕಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಈ ಕಾರಣ ಕನ್ನಡ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವುದು ಅತಿ ತಕ್ಕದಾದ ಉತ್ತರವಾದರೆ,

ನನ್ನ ಮೆದುಳು ನಡೆಸುವ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಆಲೋಚನೆಗಳು, ವಿಚಾರ-ವಿಮರ್ಷೆಗಳು, ಕಲ್ಪನೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯಗಳೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಆಂಗ್ಲದಲ್ಲಿಯೆ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವುದು ಚಿಂತಾಜನಕವಾದ ಸಂಗತಿ! ಈ ಕಾರಣ ಆಂಗ್ಲ ನನ್ನ ಮಾತೃಭಾಷೆಯಾಗಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವೆ?

ಆಲೋಚಿಸಬೇಕಾದ ವಿಷಯ ಹೌದು!

ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಎಂದು ಹೊರಟು, ಒಂದು ಕಷ್ಟಕರ ಸುಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಲುಕಿಕೊಂದಿರುವಂತಿದೆ. ಆದರೂ, ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ನಡೆಯಲಿ, ಹಾಗೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ!

24 November, 2011

Journalism, contorted

I was at a book release function of a senior journalist MS Prabhakara, and some lessons on journalism were there to be absorbed. Journalism our generation knows is entirely different from the work that the people in that hall have lived through.

Nupur Basu, raised a concern asking a question; she apprehended, "Where have our generation of journalists gone wrong, that the best practices we adopted have not been carried forward to the contemporary journalists?"
Although the question itself was deemed beyond the scope of the discussions there, it made a mark on me.

The aforementioned apprehension about journalism having gone out of the ethical and passionate ways of reporting events and honestly communicating to the people is of grave concern.

I am a severe critic of the paparazzi mouth pieces of the day, which spew junks of futile brouhaha, brands propaganda and rarely some news which is either "paid", or extensively contorted. A newspaper which fits this description is the largest and pompously read English daily in most of the metros.

P Sainath in one of his talks mentions that the success of this trendsetting newspaper under discussion is that, it was successful in creating an audience of its own - a mirage of Westernization backed by the globalized market bouncing off the neoliberal policy framework. Treading in its path, even today, people read this particular newspaper to feel "urbanized"! Pity.

Influencing public opinion by whatever means is the most important political tool that could be devised. Print media, although mellowing down has substantial impact even today with all the tens of "news channels" (a term that annoys and antagonizes me simultaneously). Reporting honest news and ethical journalism are confined to few publishers, who in the Page3 world not fashionable enough for the gullible population to read.

Although with the intervention of internet, there is not much of polarization in terms of opinions, the perilous impact of bad news in bad form is out there to be seen - Most of the bad newspaper reading readers feel good about the goodness of emulating other populations, without analyzing the good or bad of bad and good of what is served to them! 

22 November, 2011

Disassembling Logic

Well out of the lot many things running in my head competing to get out onto my blog, the following post has made it first and for reasons evident in the following paragraphs.

The question of thoughts, ideas, imagination, rationalization, reality and materialism are eternal queries which keep haunting the small gray web that's built within our heads.

Imagine a discourse, in which someone is trying to put forth these very ideas in the most simplistic manner, and you're wondering "No, this can't be real!", as if transported into The Matrix.

Distinguishing thoughts from reality, although is a natural skill each one is designed with, the exercise of documenting this design as an outsider is super cumbersome. Cumbersome because, as all simple things in life, this notion is easy to experience but sophisticated to express. The essence of expressing obscure concepts is to clarify, but when one sets on a goal to express intuition, or common logic is where the pinnacles of obscurity reside.

The very fact that something is simple, and it comes coded in our genes makes it a part of us, like thoughts for example. Now, if one wants to analyze these thoughts as an outsider, it requires immense expenditure of efforts and a great level of associated detachment from oneself and the community around to treat the self as the subject of study. These are the very processes which seem counter intuitive and end up creating the most scintillating works of research, philosophy and literature.

For instance, Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud, with all the criticism to Psychoanalysis taken into account, is still a marvelous piece of literature which talks about the subject of dreams; here, it is the analysis on the subject and not the subject itself that is expanding into realms of disbelief! Now, one would ask what value is the analysis of, if in the first place there were no subject to analyze! It is precisely on these lines that my current reading is going on :)


In the book Dialectical Logic, one of the best confluence of philosophy, rationality and literature I have ever dealt with, the concepts in it tackle simplest of our notions like thoughts, ideas, rationalization etc.. And the initial flow by itself has taken me aback. I am reading it all along in disbelief. By the time I end up reading this assimilated masterpiece I hope to have fathomed the Dialectics of Logic!

A grand extrapolation to the theory of Coexistence of conflicting opposites.

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