alochana

yes Gods are crazy

Archive for July 2008

door-darshan?

with one comment

One of the persistent rants of Gunti and Friends (apologies to R K Narayan) has been the degeneration of Indian television. Doordarshan was no BBC, but compared to the trash that is delivered on the tube these days, the much-ridiculed Doordarshan was liquid gold. I am in a good mood today, so I will spare you a class-less defense of the good old days (involving Mithun-da etc), but show you the path to enlightenment: Stephen Fry on BBC.

Written by kowsik

July 31, 2008 at 05:43

Posted in life

maaya

with 4 comments

The Dark Knight is an awesome movie, almost real. Almost! The only shortcoming, the one that forces the ‘almost‘, is this: if it were real life, the joker would’ve got everything and the Knights would’ve ended-up heart-broken. I know, I belong to the half-empty school of thought. A sound school of thought, I must defend myself- emptiness seems to be the most abundant thing in the universe, the only thing I conclude that I can count on. I can’t understand my conclusion though, it is proving to be a very hard task to manage.

On an arguably related note, is it of any consolation to know that the much-wanted prize, that one was forbidden to fight for, was never a prize? Should one feel relieved, for being spared of the Albatross situation, or should one give-in to the frustration at the futility of it all? Which is worse: to find out that one is fallible, or to find out that every one is?

Written by kowsik

July 27, 2008 at 13:41

Posted in cribs, happiness, life

Tagged with

Jagannath?

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Caste-System, or the benefits of confusion

Politics in India are caste-based. In other words, caste is the classification/unification that is politically the most significant. On the face of it, going by a plethora of hazy principles, it appears to be a bad practice. Not so, I believe, if we ponder a little on the obvious (and hence trivial) observation like this:

“India is a country of no majority, just infinite minorities. No caste has more than 20 percent of the population, and the ethnic/caste dynamic is increasingly transforming toward class/interest politics.”
Teaching India

In a democracy, by definition, the common man gets to choose who rules the country. However, the common man has no motivation to make informed opinions on issues that do not concern his daily life. In a country like India, this means that the common man does not care about anything beyond his immediate security and wealth. It is a tempting blunder to add pleasure to be a concern, so we won’t.

Thus democracy works in a manner that is not entirely obvious. Different sets of people choose their local leaders whose decisions they follow, these leaders have their own leaders and this hierarchy ends in political parties. In the electoral process the representatives of these parties contest against each other and those with larger support bases reach the parliament. Those among these representatives, who are elected by the rest, ‘rule’; which means they get to chose which bureaucrats get to influence their decisions because, government is not a trivial thing that should be left to the common man 😉

In such a system caste forms the lowest level of selection, people choosing the local leaders. Since there are no majorities among the castes, there can be as little action directed at a section of the population as possible. Obviously, it is much safer than economic and religious based politics whose logical (and often inevitable) conclusion is in a Communist or Theocratic (either-way Totalitarian) regimes that exterminate all dissent.

So it is in our best interest to save the existing caste system. It stabilizes the system enough to make it look like a Juggernaut, slow to move but unstoppable.

Looking at it this way, it is not at all surprising that our textbooks demonize religion the most, and caste-system the second most. Over a period of time as people get conditioned against the caste based politics, owing to their contempt for religion-based politics, they will gradually move into the communist system of politics government which, our text book authors believe, is a good thing to happen! Once there, people don’t have to bear the burden of the political process! The hazy principles that I mentioned at the beginning are nothing but this conditioning, not very unlike the religious conditioning that we hate. How we select one school of condition over some other, most probably, is the issue that determines everything.

Before some one jumps to any such conclusion, I have to clarify that I am not defending untouchability. What I am supporting here is the sustainance of diversity, not oppression.

Written by kowsik

July 16, 2008 at 03:06

Adhah

with 8 comments

I think we, as a nation, are in our teens. Like teenagers, we hate everyone and everything related to us. We are desperate to be like others, and just like teenagers, for all the wrong reasons.

What do we hate (some favourites):

1) Our culture: Our hatred for our culture is comprehensive. As one might suspect, comprehensive feeling is not possible with even an iota of knowledge. Sure enough, we know nothing of our culture, and we reserve the best of our efforts to maintain it that way. What peripheral knowledge we do have is what is taught by those who make careers out of scandalizing the sacred, who we love for making our job easier (and hate for being such smart-asses).

2) Our origins: By this, I mean our independence and related events/personalities. Here our feelings are not as comprehensive as those concerning our culture. Though this might hint at the prevalence of some knowledge, the actual reason is our confusion as to whom to hate. For example, our understanding of the entire freedom movement and initial few years of independent India can be summed by the question: “Gandhi or Nehru, who should we hate more?” For the life of ours, we can’t imagine how Nehru could’ve screwed-up so much, further we have more difficulty in pointing out the issues where he screwed-up. For that we need to know our past, which is not a fashionable thing to do anyway! Had Patel lived a bit longer, we would be hating him too, we mildly dislike him now for denying us that opportunity.

3) Ourselves: We hate ourselves. Actually we don’t have the courage to admit it, so we claim to hate the junta. We wish we were born taller, stronger, fairer, wiser etc, all without having to change anything about ourselves. As Calvin says, we don’t want to think that we don’t deserve something.

4) Our leaders: “Our leaders are above us, not by raising higher but by crushing us to the bottom.” That, in short, is our opinion of our leaders. If there is one thing that every single Indian is convinced of, it is that we deserve better leaders (whatever that should mean!) Our hatred for our leaders raises to such an extent during elections that, we refuse to vote. Not surprisingly they never leave us.

5) USA: Odd one out actually. Poor Americans definitely don’t deserve to be hated and ridiculed by us, if only they hadn’t committed the unpardonable sin: being what we dream of being. We hate them so much, that we have started loving the British, so much so that we never miss a chance to point out how British our English is, unlike the Americans’… I know, it’s a tough world for dreamers!

The list of course is much longer, the above few are some personal favourites. We blame all the above for the source of all our problems. Not so surprisingly, we are not sure about who is to blame for what! There does exist a brighter side to this: we can’t get worse, so the only way things can change is for the better.

Written by kowsik

July 8, 2008 at 10:04