Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Invisible Battle

Ask any survivor of a war how many heinous crimes has he witnessed and the person will surely be able to tell you a million tales. And every tale will be a narrative of a harsh struggle. We, the offspring’s of a peaceful era, might not be able to relate to the ways of such folk, however we are not completely absolved from the struggle. Although the casualties of the conflict we face might not be so physical in nature, it has consequences that crop up from time to time but remain de-linked to a much vaster social phenomenon.

The conflicts that prevail today are rooted in multiple factors like a persistent change in the basic value system of the nation, identity crisis, adaptation to globalization etc. It is not something one can escape because it affects almost every dimension of our lives, be it Work/Job, be it relationships or be it lifestyle.

Here is a list of paradoxes that exist in our culture today:

  •     On one hand it is considered auspicious to gamble on Janmashtami while most states have       banned gambling and casinos
  •     Rigid meat eaters turn vegetarian on certain days of the week
  •     We worship innumerable goddesses but girls are still killed at birth and women routinely abused at home and outside
  •      People claim being secular and cosmopolitan, then look for matrimonial alliances within their own caste
  •      Imparting of sexual education is considered a taboo, yet we have almost the largest population in the world (Particularly ironic for a culture that has produced ‘Kama sutra’ and ‘Khajuraho’)
  •       We worship God couples who never married but forbid children to have any relationship and even go to the extent of honour killings to prevent the same
  •       We also worship an ‘avtar’ of God who is half man and half woman still we are disgusted by the mere sight of a transgender
  •       Some of us pray to a virgin mother but we cannot accept a child that is not born out of a wedlock
  •       Many of us project ourselves as spiritual in spite of being steeped in consumerism, either out of fear of ridicule from society or due to a false sense of belief

We are told that we are drifting towards “westernism” leading to an inner struggle in some or apathy in the rest depending on one’s upbringing.

A closer scrutiny may unveil that it is actually a battle between the fundamentalists and the ‘intellectuals’. While the intelligentsia shun the totalitarian views which they believe have been adjusted to suit the comfort of a certain class, the fundamentalists consider the acts of opposition to be blasphemy. With the fundamentalists hell bent to prove their sanctity and ‘intellectuals’ trying to prove them wrong, the sparks are bound to occur. However, both approaches being extremist in nature fail to address the intricacies at play.

The correct way to approach any cultural belief system is not by accepting it as a holy writ without any challenge or demur or shunning it altogether but by realizing that its righteousness depends on the place of its host society in time. Moreover all belief systems evolve as the society advances technologically and it’s spatial mobility increases but that change is slow and may contain some broken links which result in rigidity of the subservient minds and pass as religious dogma by the educated class.

The best way to discover these broken links is by considering the belief system and rituals to be created by rational and far seeing individuals and open our minds to them. By not shunning them as stupidity or following them as commandments we begin to see the possible rationale behind them. The rationale behind a lot of what the intelligentsia might pass today as dogma, such as marriage at the age of 15-16, around puberty, or importance of a peepal tree due to its capacity to produce oxygen even at night, or the invention of a cast system to distribute work according to the inherent capacities of people and the intended eventual ascend of all by education (which went horribly wrong), etc.

Many of such rationale won’t be applicable today but it helps us in demolishing rigidity that has become an imposition leading to disturbances in the peaceful existence and progress of our society. 




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Agent of Chaos

When I was in Junior K.G. we had a subject called "Moral Science". It taught a lot of things that seem to  be important in a righteous society. Things like "Honesty is the best policy" , "Jealousy is bad" and "Importance of Working Sincerely". However everywhere I see ,not people of principles, but people of expediency. I see the entire social structure built on expediency. Every rule, pronouncement or directive that you come across anywhere is an exercise in self-seeking and its enforcement ensures perpetuity of opportunism. The only question we need to ask is "Who made the Rule?" and we see expediency in play.

For example: The Indian Caste System dictates that out of cast marriages are acts of blasphemy. But there seems to be an exception many a times when it comes to men indulging in the same. Why is that? While hardcore feminists would argue that its a male chauvinistic and patriarchal society (which might be true), I resort to the explanation that the founders of any cast had expansion on their agenda.

If we shift our focus to the Justice System around the world we see the imposition of Capital Punishment for grave crimes. While the morality might not grant the freedom to indulge in such an act, expediency endows people with the same.

Everything from the school rules to company policies & governmental policies are created for their self-seeking purposes. And it is Great as long as we are a part of that GROUP. It is said that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...but do they? If the "RULES" are nothing but an exercise in self-seeking, then I should be justified in breaking them for egoistical reasons.

Also it raises the question of whether "Morality" is nothing but a fiction formulated by the society to prevent complete pandemonium. Was Heath Ledger (a.k.a The Joker) right when he said:
"You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke"  ?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

INTERESTING NOTICE

NOTICE OUTSIDE AN IRANI RESTAURANT IN MUMBAI


SORRY
NO SMOKING
NO TALKING TO CASHIER
NO FIGHTING
NO CREDIT
NO OUTSIDE FOOD
NO SITTING LONG
NO TALKING LOUD
NO SPITTING
NO BARGAINING
NO WATER TO OUTSIDERS
NO CHANGE
NO TELEPHONE
NO MATCH STICKS
NO DISCUSSING GAMBLING
NO DISCUSSING SHARE MARKET
NO NEWSPAPER
NO COMBING
NO BEEF
NO LEG ON CHAIR
NO HARD LIQUOR ALLOWED
NO ADDRESS ENQUIRY

Interesting Laws!!!


& Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.

&
Law of Gravity - Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

&
Law of Probability -The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

&
Law of Random Numbers - I f you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

&
Law of the Alibi - If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

&
Variation Law - If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always moves faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

&
Law of the Bath - When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

&
Law of Close Encounters - The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

&
Law of the Result - When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

&
Law of Biomechanics - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

&
Law of the Theater - At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

&
The Starbucks Law - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

&
Murphy's Law of Lockers - If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

&
Law of Physical Surfaces - The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.

&
Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

&
Brown's Law of Physical Appearance - If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

&
Oliver's Law of Public Speaking - A closed mouth gathers no feet.

&
Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy - As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

&
Doctors' Law - If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better. Don't make an appointment and you'll stay sick.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Humanisation- The Diminishing Trend


I arrived in Mumbai, just a few days back and the culture here seems indicative of a trend becoming more and more popular, and it is terribly disappointing. I daily see hoards of people running from day till the night (which is not the disappointing part) trying to sustain themselves. What is disappointing is the coldness, the mechanised approach to life. Treating life like an assembly line, where each component has its own specialised function, and is well connected by networks. Here most people would argue that networks provide economical solutions to daily and business problems. However, they fail to see that networks drain the vitality from communities and families.
This trend is prominent in every aspect of the culture that we see today.
  •          Beginning from education, we are pitted against each other and taught to compete and thus we prepare alone which is a very solitary, lonely experience.
  •          The best indicative of the strength of a culture is its kitchen. For it is in the kitchen that a language is spoken that addresses the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue and even the skin, all five senses, something that all of us are exposed to since childhood but few of us realize. A traditional Indian kitchen was a sacred place. But today it seems like a factory with all gadgets, clean and quick, just like a chore or an industrial activity.
  •          Have a problem, consult a specialist, because you are not qualified enough to solve it. This trend arises from the need of the networks that requires surrendering of all judgement except the one that is of interest to the network.
  •          Nuclear families are on the rise where everyone is with each other only out of necessity and not due any kind of emotional bonding.
  •          We see a decreasing number of people going to the park/garden for rejuvenation. And if they do, no interaction with each other until and unless instructed by their yoga (art of living, etc) teacher.
  •          Increased addiction to televisions and laptops that acts as a hallucinogenic drug. The definition of spending quality time with your loved ones means watching a movie together.

As an impact of these trends we see more and more people going to the psychiatrists, living a lonely, depressed life. A research states that the ‘happiness levels’ of people in today’s time is even lesser than the one ‘s during ‘The Great Depressions’ of the 30s. This is because the fragmentation caused by excessive networking creates a sense that our lives are out of control-----and they are.
Aristotle once said that “The only way to become completely human is by participating in a complex range of human affairs”

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Radical Thought

I read a cartoon the other day in which a kid, looking at all the socio-economic degradation, deforestation and all the ills in the society says " I wonder if it is possible to refuse inheriting this world" and I wonder the same.

We observe the injustice prevailing in the society around us and we learn to live with it. We adjust because we can not find a way to correct the system. But a very radical thought struck my mind the other day.....What if we shun the system all-together, rather than trying to patch it up every now and then. What if we try to build the system from the scratch. Design it again??

However designing OUR OWN system and running it under the nose of our own government requires guts (first of all) ,tolerance and the strong belief in the system, so much so that even if doing the right thing requires to break certain laws, we are ready for it.

The power always lies in the hands of community and when the people realize this it is possible to create a new world a better world. A parallel governance, parallel economy and a parallel society is the need of the hour.

Those people who are up for the challenge and believe they can create a better world. Who have faith in themselves more than the people who always try to rule them, control them, suppress them and exploit them, please share your ideas....Comment or send me a mail..... I am a maverick....are YOU!!!!!!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wakeup Call

The race is on for putting children in elite schools equipped with state-of-the-art technology and brilliant infrastructure.The parents today want their children to study in the grandiose schools even if it means they have to pay for it through their noses.But the question that most of them forget to ask before they plunge is......Will such schools provide a true and all round education?

"Ofcourse it will....It has a computer on every desk, a very nice sports facility center, cctv cameras, digital boards and what not...it can compete with any international school..!!" they say.And when in spite of all this, if the child fails to perform, he/she is emotionally tortured.."Do you realise how much we pay for your education?You seem to have no sense of responsibility......." etc etc.

My question is, Is the bombardment of information sufficient?Is not the purpose of education to equip the students with a mindset which can enable them to collect,decipher and implement that information all by themselves?While these kind of schools rank high on facilities criteria, most of them rank quite low on teaching criteria.The teachers are hardly concerned about the development and prosperity of the student, except for the Parent-Teacher meets where they pretend to show a lot of concern.

And how can they be concerned?With a class of 40 to 60 students, one hardly gets time to know and help each student individually.While the management is busy churning out strategies to evade paying taxes and hiding black money in bogus accounts, the students are everlastingly ignored.At the same time, parents believing that they have finished their duty by paying schools fees, accuse their children of insincerity.

If the scenario continues to be the way it is, we will be seeing more and more of "dumb" students.Students that might know a lot but understand a little and can utilize nothing.Students that are qualificationally superior but ethically apathetic.Students who,trained in consumerism, care only about profit and loss and not about anything else.If this is to be prevented, we individually need to take responsibility to spread awareness about the capitalistic nature of most of the schools and vow to educate ourselves ,adopt a sceptical attitude and strive to become self-made.It is time to WAKE UP!!