30 May, 2011

Corruption and Price rise: Campaign by Samudaaya

After two weeks of Jaathas across Karnataka, both the Samudaaya teams converged in Bangalore on the 28th of May, 2011 for the culmination of the event.

“What we want to do is: Sensitize creative people to use their creativity as a means of expression to take up issues of social importance and reach out to the masses”, says Surendra, General Secretary of Samudaaya, the cultural troupe in Karnataka that has been on a state wide touring called Jaatha. In this Jaatha, Samudaaya is reaching out to the rural masses, increasing the awareness about corruption, price rise and their causes.

Samsa Open Theatre is where the final Jaatha happened in Bangalore. This Jaatha  was presided over by some of the eminent anti-corruption activists and progressive thinkers in Karnataka.
Justice Santosh Hegde, Lokayukta of Karnataka, who is currently at the end of his term is one of the recent officials who has striven hard, given the restrictions and limitations imposed on him to make impact on the corruption scene in Karnataka. If not systemic changes, he has been an instigator for the ever dormant middle class to at least shake off the frost and voice some opinions against corruption.

In his speech during the Bangalore Jaatha, a witty point made by him about the Prime Minister does hold good. Justice Santosh Hegde compared the self proclaimed helplessness of the Prime Minister with that of the elders who witnessed in silence the act of harassing Draupadi in the mythological Mahabharata. Justice Santosh Hegde also picked on the famous statement by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the “Zero tolerance for corruption”, which according to Mr.Hegde should be interpreted as the “Tolerance towards the number of zeroes being appended to the figures of the scams”. He urged the citizens to dispel corrupt politicians, without endorsing them over and over again with all their glorified flaws. He appreciated the efforts taken up by Samudaaya, of educating the masses, which according to him is the most important step in the fight corruption.

K Maralusiddapaa, former chairman of the Karnataka Nataka Academy went ballistic against the Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization phenomenon in the past two decades. He equated this process to be a morphed means of nothing but exploitation. Exploitation of developing and the third world countries by the developed ones, and in turn internal exploitation of the weaker sections by the powerful people. He also raised doubts about the Anna Hazare movement, and he warned the supporters to be cautious of the other organizations which are clinging on to Anna Hazare, apprehending it would become another JP Movement. KMS again appreciated the efforts by Samudaaya at the grass root level amongst the rural population and the urban youth.

T N Sitaram, famous small screen director, took on the aspect of increasing disparity and the lifestlye of the capitalist barons, calling them unethical and inhumane. In order to convey the point that elections are won only when the candidates are rich and powerful, he went on to say that even Mohandas Gandhi would not have got a seat in any of the major parties in Karnataka, and likewise at the centre.

Professor GK Govindarao, expressed his anguish against the “common man”, who is complacent and doesn't bother to question the system beyond superficial discussions at home. He also expressed his deep dissent against the media for their charlatanry in the way they make and feed news to people. His rest of the talk comprised of blatantly spilling out facts agaisnt the BJP governance in Gujarat and Karnataka.

In all, the speakers were in unison in their ideals agaisnt Corruption and price-rise, with each one of them urging the common man to dive into the cleansing process.

As an addendum to the Samudaaya campaign, a recent development in the campaign against corruption : Wikileaks was proposed by Senthil, from the Free Software Movement-Karnataka, wherein he touched upon the need for publishers such as Wikileaks, by using instances of RTI activists and whistleblower deaths in India.He urged the gathered supporters to also endorse this latest means to fight against injustice.

The final speech was impeccably presented by Mr.Hudugi, who is the Secretary of Samudaaya. He briefed about the Jaathas. Mr.Hudugi arrived upon the proactive nature and strong conviction of individual citizens to fight against injustices which ultimately lead to consequences such as corruption and price-rise.

While all these talks were in progress, interleaved with the talks were a few excellently written and sublimely rendered protest songs which were sung throughout the Jaathas. Finally, the Maalur Samudaaya team put up a play, an adapted version of the famous “Vikram and Bethal” fiction story to match the agenda of the Corruption and Price-Rise.

The message this Jaatha has left behind is that we need to shake off the frost and get into action against injustices. No more should we bear atrocities such as corruption and price-rise. A movement from the grass root level should compel systemic changes for the good of the society.

More on Samudaaya and the Jaatha : http://samudaaya.wordpress.com/

22 May, 2011

Surely You're Joking Mr.Feynman!

Feynman, the prankster;
Feynman, the magician;
Feynman, the flirt;
Feynman, the educator;
Feynman, the musician;
Feynman, the adventurer;
Feynman, the artist;
Feynman, the genius;

Yes, Prof.Richard P Feynman was all of the above and a lot more. A true rationale, an inspiration, a role model for ages to come and an unrealistically honest human being.

I haven't mentioned 'Feynman, the scientist' if you've noticed, but you don't call someone who lives a life of Science as a mere scientist. He is one of the greatest minds to have lived before us.
He was an embodiment of many different traits, tied together by Science at every nuance of his life. While many of us try to get better at only one of those traits in our entire lifetime, Prof.Feynman did in actuality live many more lifetimes by being all of it that he was in his single life span.

The amount of motivation and drive that he exhibited throughout his life is something each one of us should inculcate.Not to mention his perpetual light-heartedness and eternal wit.
If there's one negative aspect of his life, which he too confesses midly is the utter disregard he exhibits towards the State, and also him shrugging off the responsibility of Science. And irresponsible science is lethal, when it reaches the hands of power hungry bureaucrats.

Nevertheless, to have lived a life like that of Prof.Feynman, you would get to see the recklessness, which was so true to him, in all facets of his life.

We have to look up to great minds, and the ones like Prof.Feynman are the rarest. Trying to emulate him in whatever little way we can is the best way to admire him.

There are two types of genius. Ordinary geniuses do great things, but they leave you room to believe that you could do the same if you only worked hard enough. Then there are magicians, and you can have no idea how they do it. Feynman was a magician
 Hans Bethe, Theoretical Physicist

21 May, 2011

When procrastinating hurts real bad!

A random routine, with lot of running around,yanking and thinking, talking and more talking, with little attention to my food, health or exercise has been my lifestyle for quite sometime now, against all the earnest advice of all my well wishers, including my perennially concerned mother.

It is not that I chose this adhocism, but this has been the best I could do with all my resources. I usually never procrastinate the work on me, it just gets extended most of the times. The only aspect of me which wholeheartedly procrastinates is to attend to myself. My immunity has taken a hit in this regard, and have been catching cold every now and then.

So, who gives the wake up call - A good old, dreadful friend - Migraine!
Although, I wouldn't usually put up a post about my migraine hit, this one was perfectly timed and un-ignorable!

It comes during a period of time, when as if to predict it, lot of my friends and at home had been warning me :D

Enter migraine-2011: I easily could claim this to be the most severe attack I've had since I was medically diagnosed with migraine, before more than six years!

The experience: First, I feel wobbly on my way back from my cricket practice on my cycle; decide to give it a push, than a peddle.
Reach home, and I am all blacked out; the right portion of my skull is excruciatingly under pain (it hits me only the right side of my head!), almost like being crushed and is joined climatically by a stint of nausea, leaving me flat!

And now, If you thought I was done for another day or two: Nope!

I was up and running to normalcy in another 4 hours. How?

The only three words which I would never forget in my life came to rescue (the tablets to alleviate such migraine attacks), along with some aromatic therapy of herbs and spices at home,  and two hours of sleep bounced me back to sense. Nevertheless, some important plans of the day were jeopardized.

Moral of the story: I will take care of myself for, it costs me more when I'm blacked out, courtesy: migraine!

20 May, 2011

Public voice and Democracy

Conflicts and friction between individuals and bodies of authority have been consistent throughout the evolution of human civilization. Every time humanity has been witness to this abrasion, it has resulted in consequences which have reverberated throughout the rest of time. In most cases, the bottom line cause for these frictions have been the question of Rights and Liberties.

Perpetuation of the hard earned rights and liberties of individuals, enabling a free society can be accomplished only when there is a guaranteed voice for the public. This highly important voice of public has undergone extensive metamorphosis, and has been evolving with greater capabilities with every passing day.

Like every other social asset, these media are natural, double-edged swords with opportunities of using and misusing them. Although the primary objective of these public voices, or the media is to become what they were created for, i.e, to present the combined opinions of the masses as a single, unified, loud voice, which the authorities, in many cases the Governments would give heed to.

On the contrary, and quite as expected, these channels for public voices, instead of talking for the people, have many a times taken a U turn and have been engaged in curtailing the quintessential rights of people.

This toggling behavior of the media has been true in the case of most of today's obvious technologies: The Printing Press, Radio, Television, Telephony, and now the Internet. These have all played major roles, either by supporting or hindering the rights of the individual.

The historical understanding of the role media have played very well substantiates their importance.
Betrayal of the people by the media, and taking up a stance against the people, on behalf of hegemonic authorities has been a symptom indicating unhealthy governance systems. To eradicate such cancers, a neutral medium, independent of the Governments, or monopolies had to be created.

The Internet, started off by giving lot of optimistic hope on those lines, and was successful until only it was sparsely available to the common people. With its increasing ubiquity, the threat Internet could pose to the biggies in their anti-people endeavors has been shrewdly identified and all efforts to curb the democracy in the Internet is underway.

Curtails on the freedom of expression, on a media like Internet could be catastrophic. A collapse of democracy in the Internet, would naturally culminate into the collapse of democracy in the Governance itself.

The Internet has the potential to become the most democratic voice of the masses, which has eluded the human civilization for ages. It has flaws, but it is the best tool at our disposal in today's world. Instead of making it better, a growing menace of curbing it and negating the essence of democracy in the Internet has been ongoing at a very brisk pace.

When sanguine initiatives like the Wikileaks, in the people's perspective are being harrassed and abused by the most powerful of the Governments world across, it acts as an indicator of the quality of democracy, or the pseudo democracy we all believe to be living in.

In the conflicts of people and the authoritarian regime in the oligarchies of the day, we need to vanguard the one, big voice we have come to arrive at : Freedom of Expression in the Internet. With the trend of increased laws and curtails on the Internet, we will lose out, probably the best opportunity presented to our generations.

Keeping Internet closer to the people, is the only real way forward.

PS: Working on these lines, we have started campaign in support of Wikileaks and Web Democracy. If you feel concerned, join us.
Sign up on the signature campaign to show your intent about Wikileaks.

14 May, 2011

400 posts: A lovely log to reminisce

I finally am publishing this 400th post, after quite a lot of delay :) 
time taken for each of the 100 posts
And in this one, I am recollecting some of the nicest, funniest, memorable and thought provoking comments by some of you, which have made my blog richer and a valuable possession of mine.

These comments are in the increasing chronology of their occurrences in my blog.
lakshman said...
a brilliant statement made by a highly observant person.. it reflects the height of self assessment...AMAZING!!!!
 shreyansi said... 
oh yeah i remember poor thing but then also u dnt seem to change, ur such a stubborn gypsy i think u luv to hurt urself n shud hav mentioned abt ur habit of forgettin as well as avoiding things to the limit that even if vehicles run over ur foot u dnt mind isn't it?
srilakshmi said...

Hey maverick, your 'The India Quiz' was so well orgnised that it kept the audience engrossed throughout. There was not a moment when we felt we were waiting for something. And the way you dissent makes the opposite side agree with you!
At the end of the day, it was JOB WELL DONE. Keep it going.
anu* said...

The one thing i know to be true is "Love and Hate are two sides of the same coin!" Hate is such a strong word that you can feel that much animosity against someone only if you once loved them that much... Love and Hate are perhaps the most painful feelings ever, where on one hand you're on top of everest, and on the other, you're falling down a bottomless pit! Extreme feelings are damaging so i suppose such feelings get compartmentalized into different intensities. Ayn Rand is truly great! [but i didnt exactly quote the same philosophy]
SUGANYA said...

yeah i do agree with you....!!!
The real beauty is always invisible to the eyes...or i would like to say " the essentials are always invisible to the eyes".most people admire nature, but,a person's admiration is unique when he finds a unique beauty in anything."
........    not all women can be beautiful (physically), but all can be charming... to find the charm in their eyes is a skill....!!!so the hidden beauty can be found only by the "skilled eyes"(the admirer)...!!!!so rightly said:
"Beauty beholds in the eyes of the admirer"
 $@ndhy@ said...
brilliant!!! -Sandhya & Pradeep
anupama said...If each of us truly listened to ourselves and set our own goals to realize, we would be least bothered about worthless issues like caste, creed etc. I feel that the eagerness to be accepted and fear of being shunned makes us endorse these issues blindly
Lakshmi said...
Raghu, not all do that. There r people who live just in wait of that love. A little feeling of specialness is felt only one is in love. I hope u agree to it. That feeling of specialness comes only when there is love... Love is not only for the life partners but it is beyond that... I would like recommend ma today's blog to u... please go through...
Anirban Basak said...
I totally agree to wat u say... It reflects the world of today n how this delicate feeling is percieved..!! Good one.. ^_^

Vincentvikram said...
update: The LOve GUru admits to his act ;)
Defends himself by saying they were wearing clothes(what a relief!!).
vaish said...
I totally agree with your view because I've seen live examples of people not being able to produce caste certificates since they couldn't get the required documents from the tasildars and hence, not being eligible for the respective post. The 'weaker society' needs a desperate push to get past this problem which is the root cause for the decline in improvisation. If this is not addressed to right now, it is definitely going to take eons to revive the backward classes!
bharge said...
good one again as customary... simple things in life holds a bubble of happiness in the end... whether the hot chai/egg dosa in a road-side stall... or getting drenched in the rain (a personal favorite of mine), listening to the birds chirping, making others arnd us happy, etc... ppl shud def have a stop/pause button in their lives to come off their life on fast lanes, enjoy the lil things... we seem to forget though money is imp for a decent life, its not the most imp thing... after all, u can only be at one place at a time... and yes indeed, the taste u get out of the eatables in any road side shop will beat any 5-star hotels hands down... and thats the best thing about india... 
swathi said...
Hi Raghavendra, Adding onto your post, I don't know is its related or not but thought its worth a mention. With experience sometimes we set experience because of simply dabbling onto an issue without knowing on what built it on.So what happens as days go by is, this(principles) sort of modifies.I am saying this as a novice, because I have done that mistake.So it evolves and becomes something better.
G.Suvetha said...
The Flora, The Fauna, The Fantasia and The Femina ... What a rhythm ! Love & smiles..
Srilakshmi Jayaramappa said...
Sensible minds are hard to find, trust me! Many simply do not want to see the point.


07 May, 2011

Minds for reference

While in conversation with a good friend of mine, we happened to talk about the sensation and impact rendered while interacting with famous and influential people.

When I started thinking what sort of impact they'd have, and been having on me, the first thing I had to admit was that I do not get exaggeratedly excited when in their company. I don't mean that I'm not in awe, or in admiration of them, but only that I wouldn't be highly excited to lose my senses in their presence.

A necessary clarification at this juncture: I'm not talking about the paparazzi celebrities, but of the people who deserve to be celebrated. Dedication, the mindset and efforts emanating from such people are always inspiring,and it is people of this genre that I am talking about.

Interactions with many such influential people, serves as a great motivation to me. I would certainly want to learn, improvise and better myself by emulating little important traits of many of these great minds. This motivation is good, if one sustains it by converting this influence into tangible efforts.

Sometimes, this motivation, starts haunting me.
It contrasts my own stingy efforts to me, which even I would admit aren't very impressive or even adequate at all. Meeting famous and influential people, acts as that reminder which admonishes me for my inadequate efforts.

Benchmarks or frames of reference, when are set of high standards, they help us to better ourselves. Interactions with great minds are always a boost to the morale and motivate us to take up our efforts with more dedication.

nanos gigantium humeris insidentes

My interpretation:

All that I, a little dwarf, am trying to do is, stand on the shoulders of giants to see farther and aspire bigger.

Standing on the shoulders of giants

02 May, 2011

Songs of Protest: A forgotten tradition

जाने वाले  सिपाही  से  पूछो
वो  कहाँ  जा  रहा  है
जाने वाले सिपाही से पूछो
वो कहाँ जा रहा है

इश्क है कातिल -इ -ज़िन्दगानी
खून से तर है उस्की जवानी
हाय मासूम बचपन की यादें
हाय दो रोज़ की नौजवानी
जाने वाले ...

कैसे सहमे हुए हैं नज़ारे
कैसे डर डर के चलते हैं तारे
क्या जवानी का खून हो रहा है
सुर्ख है आंचलों के किनारे
जाने वाले ...

कौन दुखिया है जो गा रही है
भूखे बच्चों को बहला रही है
लाश जलने की बू आ रही है
ज़िन्दगी है की चिल्ला रही है
जाने वाले ...

-Makhdoom Mohinuddin, during the World War II, about the meaninglessness of war and violence.

A song I hadn't heard until I did listen to a different version, very recently.
This one has been rendered with a classical touch by the very talented Sumangala Damodaran.

"Songs of Protest" is the album, a rare one in today's chaotic music world dominated by noise, non-sense and anything but music. A compilation of some of the greatest protest songs, not just songs, but symbols of some of the epochal events in the Indian freedom struggle. The nine songs in Hindi, Malayalam and Bangla are more than just old songs being revisited, but like the album cover says it is a glimpse of The Forgotten tradition.

Although my Malayalam and Bangla are equally distant from making much sense to me, I have been relishing the quality of the songs, and at every opportunity have been asking for translations from relevant friends.

Here are the previews of three tracks, and to buy the audio you can flip the cart.

  Jaane Waale by SumangalaDamodaran 

  Aarkotokaal by SumangalaDamodaran

  Aarkotokaal by SumangalaDamodaran


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