ಸಕಲ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳ ಮೊದ ನಿನ್ನನು
ಭಕುತಿಯಿಂದಲಿ ಭಜಿಸುವೆವು ನಾ-
ವಿಕನೆ ವಿಘ್ನಸಮುದ್ರವನು ನೀ ದಾಟಿಸೊ ಬೆನಕ |
ಲಿಖಿತ ಷಟ್ಪದಿಗಳನು ರಕ್ಷಿಸು
ಮಕರವಾಹಿನಿಧರನ ಸುತ ಮೂ
ಶಿಕವನೇರಿ ತ್ರಿಲೋಕದಲಿ ಸಂಚರಿಸುವಾ ಗಣಪ ||
ಸಕಲ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳ ಮೊದ ನಿನ್ನನು
ಭಕುತಿಯಿಂದಲಿ ಭಜಿಸುವೆವು ನಾ-
ವಿಕನೆ ವಿಘ್ನಸಮುದ್ರವನು ನೀ ದಾಟಿಸೊ ಬೆನಕ |
ಲಿಖಿತ ಷಟ್ಪದಿಗಳನು ರಕ್ಷಿಸು
ಮಕರವಾಹಿನಿಧರನ ಸುತ ಮೂ
ಶಿಕವನೇರಿ ತ್ರಿಲೋಕದಲಿ ಸಂಚರಿಸುವಾ ಗಣಪ ||
In my opinion, those of who have given up on the past and rely only on the present experiences to form an ideology or come up with a worldview have it quite easy. And may be they are more honest because they really know what they are talking about despite the fact that they might not be talking the right things!
However, those of us who feel that we are a link between the past and the present always have an extra job to do. To reinterpret the experiences of our elders and reconcile them with our own in a continuous manner. We need this because this is the only way, any knowledge can be transferred across generations. This transfer of knowledge is important because we humans have limited abilities to perceive the world as a whole and have to put together the various information that we get. Working on this challenge might actually help us widen our perspective and increase our range of experiences.
But in a world where everyone is in a hurry to create something for someone to consume, who has the time to think of reconciliation ?
More often than not, we give an excuse to be on social networking sites such as facebook in-order to keep in touch with our friends.
The only way we keep knowing about them is through the news feed. Initially when there are fewer friends, one gets to read their status, items shared by them etc. As in these things are just so obviously visible on your news feed that you don’t have to really struggle at all.
But once your friend list increases by a certain number, the only thing that seems to be appearing on your news feed is who all did your friend befriend. In other words, now you have to really struggle to go through what stuff your friends have been sharing.
Given this, I wonder if there is any new incentive to keep adding new friends beyond a certain point, if the only benefit seems to be to find out who are they befriending.
But then, is there any point in logging on to Facebook at all after this ?!
The Huguenot traveller and scribe Jean Chardin can be considered an early economic historian. In his Travels in Persia, 1673-77, he describes the massive sink for bullion that India was, and its enormous trade advantages with respect to its neighbours. He also astutely reasons why Hindu merchants were able to outbid and outprice their Muslim and Christian competitors.
By the 1600s, the Mughal Empire was established as possibly the wealthiest state in the world, easily comparable even to the Mings in China. Unlike the Chinese who were a massive net importer of products from around the planet, the Mughals were fortunate in reigning over an absolutely astonishing trade surplus. Gold and silver from the Americas and Europe simply poured into India. Being an agricultural and industrial powerhouse, and to all intents and purposes self-sufficient in food, India was able to export away most of its surpluses. And, with a large population base that was able to work for cheap (and with inflation being next to zero for well-nigh on a couple of centuries), India was able to produce goods so competitively priced that even factoring in the risks of international trade, they still were cheaper than local products in Iran and the Ottoman domains.” —Exporting Powerhouse
Bisht opined that the Harappans were a literate people. The commanding height at which the 10-sign board had been erected showed that it was meant to be read by all people.
Besides, seals with Indus signs were found everywhere in the city – in the citadel, middle town, lower town, annexe, and so on. It meant a large majority of the people knew how to read and write. The Indus script had been found on pottery as well. Even children wrote on potsherds.
Bisht said: “The argument that literacy was confined to a few people is not correct. You find inscriptions on pottery, bangles and even copper tools. This is not graffiti, which is child’s play. The finest things were available even to the lowest sections of society. The same seals, beads and pottery were found everywhere in the castle, bailey, the middle town and the lower town of the settlement at Dholavira, as if the entire population had wealth.
“It appears to be an egalitarian society. This does not happen elsewhere [in other Indus sites]. On the basis of architecture, you can decide the places that were seats of authority. However, on the basis of material culture, you cannot distinguish between the major divisions of the city – among its inhabitants.”” —Inscriptions on stone and wood
Atanu Dey’s new book “Transforming India” is out. Among the several points he makes there, one point which appeared quite interesting is the control over the Radio that the government possesses.
Until a few years back, the only channels that one could avail on radio were “Akashavani”, a state sponsored Radio channel. It had programs such as News (in various languages), cultural programs, talk shows and so on. The content was strictly monitored, and nothing , I repeat nothing that could be construed as being even remotely politically incorrect would be telecast.
In the last few years we have had Private channels such as Radio City, Radio Mirchi and so on making a foray into this space. However, these are largely entertainment channels restricted to playing popular music and hosting politically correct talk shows related to movies and music. Pretty much similar what one could expect from any other entertainment channel that one could find on TV.
Doesn’t it surprise you that there is not even a single “Independent” channel which has the freedom to design it’s own shows and decide the content it would like to disseminate ?
“So, what? Does it matter all that much ?”, one might ask! Look, in India, the press is supposed to be free. But notice that it is only the print media which is free (never mind the sycophancy and Goenka’s famous characterization of this supposedly free press which when asked to bend, knelt down). However given that a large amount of people in the rural areas are illiterate, this freedom of press is absolute bunkum, because they simply don’t have access to the products of this freedom. On the other hand , one doesn’t need to be literate to “listen” to the programs on the Radio. Which implies that the one medium which could be very effective in disseminating information to this segment of the country, however is under strong state control.
Now, keeping this in mind, let’s look at the other revolution that’s taken India by storm in the past 5-6 years. I am talking about the mobile or the cellphone revolution. Pretty much every household in any remote village today has at least one cellphone. With the prices of the cellphones dropping down drastically with the arrival of new players such as Micromax, Max, Lemon etc, and with the competition amongst the various service providers that led to drastic decrease in usage fees, cellphone has become the most affordable medium of communication. Now couple this with the 3G services that would soon become ubiquitous, you would have these people in the Rural areas accessing content available online. This would include youtube videos, online radio stations and so on. Which means that a medium which is truly independent will be at the disposal of the poorest, and the most illiterate members of the country.
May be this does not go well with the rulers of the country, who have gotten used to “controlling” stuff. Can you imagine the damage when these illiterate people get to know through this new medium that whatever they had heard from the radio were at best half-truths if not blatant lies ? Would the current rulers still manage to get those precious votes, which it today garners by keeping these people under the dark ?
No, the rulers won’t like this even one bit. They will do all in their power to prevent this from happening. They may even add a few extra rules in the IT act to bully the citizens against publishing/consuming any anti-state material from the internet.
Will we allow such a thing to happen ? Only time will tell.
First, I don’t understand art, by which I mean paintings and sculptures. The only art I am exposed to is the art that I get to see on calenders and temples. I enjoy it when I can relate to it, when it takes the idea familiar to me a step further by expressing that idea clearly using the advantages the medium provides it. Again, what I am able to enjoy is well within the ambit of my own limitations.
I cannot understand abstract art, or modern art. I cannot understand, let alone appreciate art that needs the aid of external commentary to make itself clear.
Given this, I don’t know how can I agree when someone tells me that M F Husain is a great artist and that I must offer my condolences on his death and mourn the fact that such a talented artiste was hounded out of the country.
I have seen a few of his works. They seem to need an external aid in order that I can understand them. In some cases, they are blatantly provocative to my sensibilities. When I see a naked Sita sitting on Hanuman’s tail, I wouldn’t know how to interpret it. If it were any arbit lady and arbit monkey it probably could be dismissed as the artiste’s fantasies. But when the artiste explicitly claims that it is Sita and Hanuman, with whatever little understanding of Ramayana I have, I am naturally perturbed. Because in the Ramayana, the relationship between Sita and Hanuman is that of a mother and a son. Thus when the painting seems to express an idea which is not just tangential but completely opposite to the context from which the characters were picked, without any reason, it makes sense to question the artist “What exactly did you have in mind when you drew this ?”. Instead when someone calls this work “Great Art”, it’s as if someone is redefining the words “Great” and may be even ”Art”.
Also, when one puts this in the context of the admission by the artist that he drew Hitler nude in one of his paintings because he totally despised Hitler, one realizes a possibility, a hideous one as to why the artist might have chosen to paint the other piece in the manner that he did.
May be there is something aesthetically pleasing about his paintings in some universe where the context is right, but not in the universe that I live in. Hence I simply cannot appreciate the works of such an artist, let alone shower on him praises and bestow the quality of greatness upon him.
Hence it makes no sense to me , why an artist whose works appeal a limited segment of the society which needs the aid of an art critic to understand the works, be called a great artist and why we should collectively mourn his death.
I refuse to participate in the offering condolences to the artist. To me, he is just another person who died yesterday like the thousands of others.
After what has been going on in the country for the last one month or so, I have a few questions.
All of my reactions to what has been going on in the past one month are based on these thoughts that keep rising everytime something “breaking news”worthy happens.
And I am not even sure, where do I begin hunting for answers!
How strange life is, she thought. You study hard in school and get good grades. You go to graduate school with dreams of doing great work.. You do great work, or at least decent work, writing those research papers that you know when you write them will change the world, and then you discover the truth that the world is very hard to change. Only a handful of scholars have that gift. The rest are adding a crumb here or there to the pile that others add to in the same way. Oh, there is prestige and a little it of glory and not a small amount of money along the way for the best. But only the work of the best of the best really amounts to anything.
And all those hours in the classroom, all those glory-free hours lecturing and hectoring and prodding and urging the students to see the world through the lens that you find so marvelous! Tedious hours of grading, tedious hours of office hours where too many students arrive merely to avoid a bad grade. So many of those hours come to nothing, like a storm that scatters the seeds of a tree. So many fall on rocky ground or on unproductive soil or get washed away by the inevitable rain that’s too heavy or not heavy enough. And some seeds can fall in the perfect place for taking root, but it takes fire to set them free. And the fire never comes.
A teacher has to take solace in knowing that some of those seeds, incredibly, take root. Some insights get washed away in the storm of life’s distractions. But every once in a while, with a good enough teacher, you get a redwood or a sequoia of a student where your ideas take hold and make a difference. And if you are really lucky, you get to see the tree grow to maturity.
In the Talmud it says that it is better to be a perfume-maker than a tanner of leather. Better to have a sweet-smelling job eve if, as Adam Smith pointed out a thousand or so years later, the tanner’s pay is higher than it otherwise would be to get people to pass up a sweeter-smelling way to spend one’s time. She gloried in knowledge she had spent her life in a sweet-smelling job, working with te perfume of knowledge and wisdom. The rewards were more than enough.
Often when visit temples we take with us some or the other kANika. It might be phala pushpa-kANika i.e fruits and flowers or it might be dhana-kANika i.e money.
I have often observed people comparing the kANika offered by them. Recently I happened to overhear person A gloat about the fact that he offered so much amount while others offered so little.
Which made me wonder, what’s the point of the kANika ? We believe that this whole universe including the movable and immovable are under the sway of the supreme lord. Despite being the ruler of this world with all its defects, these defects do not taint Him. When such is the case, what’s the point in offering His His own property to Him ? If there is no point, does this mean that we can walk into the temple empty handed ?
A little thought made me realize that, yes, all this is under His sway. It is His property. But there is one thing which is not His. The ownership of that one thing, he has completely assigned to us. He won’t interfere in that one thing. That one thing is our ahamkAra, loosely translated as our ego. Thus if at all we can truly offer him anything at all it is this ahamkAra of ours.
Thus the kANika we offer is not because we are afraid of the supreme Lord and we want to appease him. Because then it would imply that Lord is some kind of dictator who would punish us if we do not appease him. Also we offer the kANika not because the supreme Lord is in need of it, because that would contradict the Ishvarattva of the Lord. Nor is it a bribe offered to the Lord asking Him to grant our wishes, because that would imply that the Lord is partial towards those who can offer him greater bribe.
Offering the kANika is the gesture of renouncing the ownership of that thing which we are offering. The ownership is one which we had only assumed at some point in time. By renouncing this this ownership we are aiming to realize that this was never ours in the first place. Thus we are actually sacrificing our ahamkAra (I-ness) and our mamakAra (mine-ness) at the altar of the supreme Lord.
Thus gloating about the kANIka offered or comparing the kANika offered defeats the very purpose of offering the kANika. One can only hope that people realize the reason why they are doing things rather than indulge in popularity contests.
This post is fully inspired by this vegetarian post.
As a young kid studying in an English medium school in a small town near the western Ghats, I was very proud that I can talk in English. Being able to talk in English was considered to be sophesticated and all.
My grandmother didn’t know English. My grandmothers-husbands-elder brother’s wife, who was also my elder grandmother also didn’t know English. So naturally when I used to go to my grandmother’s place they would make me say things in English and stare at me on hearing this funny language. Now I won’t go into Amitabh Bachchan’s Namak Halal style “English is a funny language” speech and all.
I am only recording the English phrases which my classmates and I used to utter in school:
“You my matter in what whataa why telling have? I for you what done?”
“Aye, Inside hide and what shouting have ? Road in come man dead body*, I for you then seeing”
“What means that only. You for understanding not overing havaa ?”
Or the most famous of all:
“Oh, youvaa ? I thought whovaa who. Why outstanding? Income!”
At that time, I thought this was English only. Except for a few instances where our teachers tried, in vain I must add, to correct us. It was all because of the “compulsorily you must speak english in school” rule that we had to butcher the language this way.
Anyway, now I for late overing have. So this post I here only ending.
* Dead body when translated to my mother-tongue is also a popular swear word in that language. I haven’t heard any other language speaking people use the equivalent of dead body as a swear word.
Image courtesy: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4275988.stm