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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stanzas Written in Dejection on the Roof

एक अधुरा अरमान, उड़ते हुए कई ख्वाब !

बादलों में घुलते सितारे, सन्नाटे में चीरती निगाहें |

धुएँ में घुला जा रहा हूँ

आसमान से गिरती बूँदों में जला जा रहा हूँ,

अपने अस्तित्व पर प्रश्नचिन्ह करता हूँ

जीवन के यथार्थ को छिन्न भिन्न करता हूँ |

ठंडी हवाओं में उड़ जाना चाहता हूँ

शून्य में विलीन होने की संभावना देखता हूँ,

हर एक काश के साथ राख हुए जा रहा हूँ

एककीपन में मृत्यु का स्पंदन किये जा रहा हूँ |

---Himanshu Rai

This poem is dedicated to all those who understand illusion of the life and search for meaning in the death. I want to fly away like smoke in the infinite. I suspend all types of blogging, social networking and reading activities !!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

And this shit has got to stop!

2'o clock in the Friday night at office is a perfect time to break free. I am running out of the office to breathe and searching for a cigarettes to smoke out suffocation. I have just written a poem in my mother tongue. I was like on the verge of explosion due to this restricted lifestyle. I am on the verge of panic.

I am becoming heavily drug addicted to facebook, cricinfo, emails and blogging. 3 days at home had just passed in refreshing facebook status and reading some bull shit about world. And this shit has got to stop! The reality of the world depends on where you stand. Its heaven for some creatures and full of illusion and suffering for me.

The madness and complexity in relations is driving me nuts. Socialization by wearing a humble mask is making me schizophrenic. I wish to return to solitude and silence. Only that can bring order to my chaotic consciousness. Life is calling into the void, the wild inside can't be tamed by false love and sympathy.

I love the fragrance of the earth after the rain. Once upon a time, I was feeling close to the death and understanding of the world expanded exponentially. This increase of sensitivity left me vulnerable, open and fragile. The constraint to go social  is unsettling for me.

I am thinking about my past now. Its the illusion of great childhood. I had grown on the dope of idealism that was necessary also otherwise whole humanity became practical (crooked) till young age. Then, I thought about ours addiction to entertainment . I have seen porn clips and find it highly good sometime. But the question arises here, entertainment can be porn or not ?

Have you ever heard both Hindi and English version of 'Baavra man' song. They are like the old man looking back to his past for un-achieved love and wishes. Death seems to be more close and gives the feeling of mortality.  I relate to him in an unknown way by just hearing this song. Just bleak images of the poster of Wild Strawberries emerge in front of my eyes.

Nothing changes in the world however hard we try. Only death and life is inevitable and true. Rest of all existence is just Kafkaesque or Mithya. I am not even being or ever born. I only exist to understand meaning of the life and death. Its fascinating to live in present and blabber under mental turmoil. I will regret in the morning for this scribbler spirit of the night. These psychedelic moments and post contains enigma of mine life. This moment will pass for never to come back again like me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The thousand-yard stare

I was watching the movie 'Full Metal Jacket' yesterday. The movie sparked the issue about violence in my mind. Why did authorising state take its stand more violently against dissidents than democratic states? The contents which authority is unaware, that is treated as treasonable due to fear of the losing power by unknown. There are attempts to de-legitimize and criminalize all dissent and opposition to its policies. Bounding of law to maintain order without even hearing voices of dissidents create havoc situation in the society.

Christopher Hitchens summarises dictatorship governance as : The true essence of a dictatorship is in fact not its regularity but its unpredictability and caprice; those who live under it must never be able to relax, must never be quite sure if they have followed the rules correctly or not. Thus, the ruled can always be found to be in the wrong. The ability to run such a "system" is among the greatest pleasures of arbitrary authority. The only thumb rule is: whatever is not compulsory is forbidden.

Fear, Paranoia, Suspicion and Desperation are common in the dictatorial state. State believes that it can control the citizens by blocking the information flow and shutting down counter state views. The outmoded bureaucracies of state put iron curtain on the people movements, migration and information flow. And, There comes a tipping point where ripple turns into a tidal wave, a wind into blizzard and a movement into a revolution.

Common people unaware of situation try to explain way crisis as conspiracy theories or playing the blame game on external factors, the relationship between solution and problem becomes a distant one. And by ignoring this, thus state and its citizens allows a crisis to fester. State of Pakistan is the prime example of this phenomenon.

There are two persons who inspired me for this discourse : Che Guevara [an Argentine Marxist revolutionary and major figure of the Cuban Revolution ] and Aung San Suu Kyi [a Burmese opposition politician and ex- General Secretary of the National League for Democracy]. They represent two opposite ways in the fight against tyranny of the authorizing state. I strictly stand on the fact that it is never easy to convince those who have acquired power forcibly of the wisdom of peaceful change. Aang San Su Kyi is doing non violently same in Burma and Che Guevera had opposed American interference in Latin American countries through violence.

In both of these struggles, injustice and anarchy are condoned by those who hold official responsibility for protecting the citizens from acts of violence. State tends to act as guardian of the citizens like the morality police, legislating on modes of behaviour they considers harmful to their citizens. When normal human urges are suppressed, they all too often express themselves in violent acts.

It is necessary to cultivate the habit of questioning arbitrary orders and to stand firm in the face of adversity. Political awareness can be blunted by the state but the natural instinct that led an individual to seek justice and freedom can't be suppressed. The root of discontent that is in protests of the young reflects general malaise of the society. State fails to recognise the reality of human behaviour, an instinct for freedom. Humans are not animals that are driven by hunger and mating behaviour only.

Here it also reflects that economic power is built on the ability to access information and resources asymmetrically. Economists have pointed out the link between the presence of huge energy reserves in a country and political instability and human rights abuse. The reason many suggest for this is that countries rich in energy reserves don't need the efforts of citizens to raise revenue, and consequently such states usually become (and can afford to be) undemocratic like Burma and Saudi Arabia . The price of economic development always comes through exploitation of many. Its not the justification of the act but basic flaw of top - down model of economic development.

I wanted to write about state and violence initially. But ended up at different shores in completion. I realized now that deeply held convictions are always on trial in the fight against arm repression. Today is ours independence day, 15th August. The political and economic changes had put India out of crisis, but there is a little intellectual tradition to support social change. Each youth generation should seek for new model or improvement in existing process for evolving, and today its mine responsibility.

PS: Read more about Authority : I don't walk Left and Irrational Faith -3.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Delusion of Religion

Just look at the mass delusion of religion, its the embarrassing dark age fiction through which people put faith in and justify their actions. As cognitive and behavioral imperative, religion was born to understand the phenomenon of the nature. It was built around the primitive knowledge and has intermixed the myths and facts with the deep human experiences. With the more and more use of logic in the ours quest for explaining nature, we observe religion on a hundred fronts losing the argument with science. Also, a class of people have became priestly clan in the religious camps and grow on the basis of collective fear and paranoia of masses. Thus, religion became authorizing in its claim of knowledge and truth, and there starts its fall.

What can be canceled, logically, must have once had value. And thus there can be reforms with new generation as new logic will emerge on the basis of time and new human experiences. That's why fraudulent practices or wrong theories are corrected in science through scrutiny with the time. When the religions are aware of the limits of their claim to the truth, when they allow doubt, the chance of reforms develop from inside.

Religion does not grow in the ideology that continuously goes through scrutiny of several groups and individuals. Any ideological bias can be extreme but they are backing it with the reason. Logic is there in the development of all these ideology. What mankind often does with religion is often more self-serving and abominable as they are mere unproven beliefs. They are treated as factual by many religions and the extremes to which some followers have taken them. Religion takes the path of extremism without any basis of reason.

Nadeem F Paracha summarized about Extremism extremely well : Extremism is nobody’s friend. It only deals in might gained from coercion. It does not rest after it has defeated its ideological opponents because then it goes on to destroy even those supporters whom it deems too soft or moderate.

Perhaps the world can come to realise that the real war is between those who believe in the ultimate sanctity and value of a human life and those who do not. If you are not willing to seriously investigate your faith and ask questions then you are at the mercy of others who will define it for you. Isn't searching for truth personally better than bracing false hopes in existing answers ? Science, constructive doubt and investigation are the tools while faith is positive suspension of critical thinking.

I will produce here a thought about Dharma perceived by Buddhist monk : Excessive faith without sufficient wisdom leads to the blind faith, while excessive wisdom without sufficient faith leads to undesirable cunning. Too much energy combined with weak concentration leads to restlessness while strong concentration without sufficient energy leads to indolence. But as for Mindfulness (sati), one can never have too much of it, it is never in excess but always in deficiency. We need to cultivate Mindfulness.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's in a Surname?

I read a book review of 'The Indians' By Sudhir Kakar & Katharina Kakar in the blog of my freind Abdusalaam al-Hindi. I will quote a paragraph of the book as it shows about Indians particularly deep rooted in Hindus.

The inner experience of caste : The preoccupation of the caste system with high and low has been associated with suffering and humiliation for several millions through the centuries. As the Marathi poet Govindraj puts it, Hindu society is made up of men 'who bow their heads to the kicks from above and who simultaneously give a kick below, never thinking to resist the one or refrain from the other.' The hierarchy is so fine tuned that even a low caste will always find another caste that is inferior to it, thus mitigating some of the narcissistic injury suffered by it at being seen as inferior. Thus for instance, 'among those lowest scavenging sections which remove night soil there is still a distinction: those who serve in private houses consider themselves higher than those who clean public latrines.' [pp 27, 28]

Few trends happening in our society are shocking and need immediate attention : Khap Panchayat rulings and rape cases against lower caste women. These are two sensitive news stories traced by me on these issue.

Doomed by Caste Damned by Gender: Rape continues to be a weapon of oppression against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, despite the state having a Chief Minister who is herself a woman and a Dalit. Tracked by Shobhita Naithani of Tehelka.

A Taliban Of Our Very Own: Murder, rape and exile are routine punishments for these parallel Parliaments. Neha Dixit of Tehelka tracks Khap panchayats across north India and covers this burning issue.

There is the bulk of crime happening in the name of honour and caste. Even if the coverage amounts to drive-by journalism generates a ton of anecdote and graphic details about individual case but not a pinch of leavening context to help frame and explain crime and mentality behind it. Let me quote of Dr. Ambedkar in this scenario:

“It is usual to hear all those who feel moved by the deplorable condition of the Untouchables unburden themselves by uttering the cry “We must do something for the Untouchables”. One seldom hears any of the persons interested in the problem saying ‘Let us do something to change the Touchable Hindu.’ ”

When the elite practices social and castiest discrimination in the daily lives, the social order below will follow that only. Bottom up civil consciousness on caste or gender discrimination is absent in our country. Our society is clashing with the struggle between doing the right thing and doing the honorable thing. There should be absolutely no place for traditions that deny another human being dignity.

Mistakes are understandable in this fight. Surrendering isn’t. Whether who will prevail is another matter, there is a limit beyond which law cannot be further broken and conscience further outraged. I have asked a question in the title of the post: What's in a Surname? Its answer is : In A Casteist Society, Everything !

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interview With Jere Van Dyk

It is the most illuminating interview I have yet heard/read on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Jere Van Dyk is a journalist and author who has focused much of his writing on Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the early 1980s, working as a correspondent for The New York Times, Van Dyk lived with the mujahideen in Afghanistan as they fought against the Soviet Army, an experience that was recapped in his Pulitzer Prize-nominated articles. 20 years later, he returned to Afghanistan to report on the U.S.-led war, only to be captured and held by the Taliban for 45 days in 2008. This harrowing experience, as well as his insights into this "pointless" war, are detailed in his new book "Captive: My Time as a Prisoner of the Taliban." He is currently a consultant on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and al-Qaeda for CBS News.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I stop for while

Its like a drug
I fall into the abyss
The time ticks on slowly
I fear to be hit by the bottom

Fear grows in me deep
To be hurt at any moment
Dark fathom awaits me
I want to stop for while

A will to survive inside heart
Logic prevails for the death
The beauty has long gone now
Alone awaits ego in the journey

No reason to live now
And I fall into the abyss.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reforming the Hindus -1

In Indian society one is surrounded by false values right from birth irrespective of religious background. Rare People try to change the notion of modernism and put reforms in this plural democratic nation. Today, the language of secularism and equality is different from ground realities.

Despite faith based flaws of Abhrahmic religion, it considers all humans equal. While Hindu considers and see people in  hierarchical manner. Leave this old theoretical aspect of religion and culture aside. Look into Hindu Law (not obsolete and biased Manu Smriti) through insight of an excellent article of Ramchandra Guha :

Those who want to explore the details of these changes are directed to Mulla's massive Principles of Hindu Law (now in its 18th edition), or to the works of the leading authority on the subject, Professor J.D.M. Derrett. For our purposes, it is enough to summarise the major changes as follows; (1) For the first time, the widow and daughter were awarded the same share of property as the son; (2) for the first time, women were allowed to divorce a cruel or negligent husband; (3) for the first time, the husband was prohibited from taking a second wife; (4) for the first time, a man and woman of different castes could be married under Hindu law; (5) for the first time, a Hindu couple could adopt a child of a different caste.

BJP is termed as Brahmin Bania party in public and it has gained popularity with economic reforms and growing Hindu nationalism. It always jumps on proving the role of Hindus as reform supporting and secular. That is indeed true but not because of them for sure. Now, our RSS and BJP supporter guys should be asking for the constructive role of their party in the Hindu law reforms. I will tell that also ( same source as before) :

In the vanguard of the opposition was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In a single year, 1949, the RSS organised as many as 79 meetings in Delhi where effigies of Nehru and Ambedkar were burnt, and where the new Bill was denounced as an attack on Hindu culture and tradition.

A major leader of the movement against the new Bill was a certain Swami Karpatri. In speeches in Delhi and elsewhere, he challenged Ambedkar to a public debate on the new Code. To the Law Minister's claim that the Shastras did not really favour polygamy, Swami Karpatri quoted Yagnavalkya: "If the wife is a habitual drunkard, a confirmed invalid, a cunning, a barren or a spendthrift woman, if she is bitter-tongued, if she has got only daughters and no son, if she hates her husband, (then) the husband can marry a second wife even while the first is living." The Swami supplied the precise citation for this injunction: the third verse of the third chapter of the third section of Yagnavalkya's Smriti on marriage. He did not however tell us whether the injunction also allowed the wife to take another husband if the existing one was a drunkard, bitter-tongued, a spendthrift, etc.

Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B.R. Ambedkar are the reformers who pushed the limits of high caste and class oriented Hindus towards reforms. There was opposition from upper caste leaders of  congress but that were brushed aside by charismatic and soft dictatorial nature of Jawaharlal Nehru. Again quoting the same article:

These three great reformers were Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B.R. Ambedkar. Gandhi and Nehru, working together, helped Hindus make their peace with modern ideas of democracy and secularism. Gandhi and Ambedkar, working by contrasting methods and in opposition to one another, made Hindus recognise the evils and horrors of the system of untouchability. Nehru and Ambedkar, working sometimes together, sometimes separately, forced Hindus to grant, in law if not always in practice, equal rights to their women.

I will like to express one more blow on the defenders of new Hindutva forces. Like any other religion, they also shed their brains in the matter of faith (as defenders of Islamic forces shouted on the ban of the veil in France). Around 1987, BJP insisted, that if a widow volunteers to burn herself on her husband’s pyre, her choice should be respected. Look in the Hindu article for details.

It is most difficult to enact resides where our old, entrenched interest have grown deep, stubborn roots. The strength of any culture will always be reason and flexibility, not dogma and posturing. That had helped in past and will guide Hindus in the future also. Hindus don't have to be brilliant to see this but must be committed towards equality of gender and cast, seeing the initiative through. And upcoming this requires massive popular will. The inability to argue out issues without being tagged with labels has allowed a cobweb of ad ideas to persist in our approach to democratic discussion.  Don't know what I will be tagged as after this post. :)


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