Thursday, June 30, 2005

Introspectrum
I have come full circle
And I don’t see colour now
I look out through the window
It is a colourless world.

Cars pass by, labourers work
Sarees or shirts, either check or plain
Bricks or cement or iron rods
All there, but there is no colour.

The same bricks or the same shirts
When come in a picture or a painting
Acquire tantalizing hues
Stirring feelings sensational.

The tyranny of TVisuals
The chicanery of Sunday mags
The depravity of fashion scene
We are all colour-victims.

[081198]
Mutation

I was so fond of sweets
And now it’s the opposite
Why does the taste change
And how does it happen?

If taste-buds are the same
And dishes the same old
So, what was favourite
Why fails to appetise?

What we hear see or smell
Or touch does not change
Over a period of time
Why the taste keeps varying?

In view of its value
For upkeep of the body
Perhaps the food affair
Is little complicated.

The mind must foreplay
The eyes must agree
And the mouth consent
For full enjoyment.

Or taste remains the same
And we as persons change
Our likings and leanings
Get distilled with age?

[Sat-080901]

Taxonomy

The diversity observed in the human nature has always intrigued the thinkers. Writers of fictions and playwrights owe their popularity to this variety of human characters. Psychologists, from time to time, have attempted to categorise the human beings in a few manageable slots. These have certain veracity as well as utility, but their universal applicability becomes suspect.
In a realm as complex as the human psyche, any speculation is fraught with serious hazards. Nevertheless, prototypes, as foreseen in various mythologies, have been accepted as authoritative. In fact, nobody can quarrel with the creative imaginations of the mythologies, as they stand; especially, in an age when hermeneutics has acquired so much of respectability. But any absolutist or foundationalist posture may always be questioned.
So, allowing such contentious questions to simmer awhile, it would be advantageous to probe the issue of human types on the basis of current data coterminous with ancient cues. While the apparent divisions of humanity on racial, linguistic, nationalistic or such other yardsticks have to be borne in mind, on the one hand; the ultimate unity and universality of the humanity needs to be explained, on the other.
And this poses a formidable challenge. Genetic variations notwithstanding, equality has persisted to be a fascinating ideal from times immemorial. Besides, equality has been assumed as an underlying fact in consonance with the idea of common origin and common destiny of the human beings. However, it is worth the while to surmount the impasse obtained through such a scenario.
A look at the present day vocations might be of help. The modern urban society tempered by technology has thrown open complex and highly specialised professions the needs and nuances of which are widely dissimilar. Although, there is no reason to believe that people get to work in accordance with their aptitude, it is commonly observed that they develop a certain degree of competence as well as expertise in their respective professions. Because of the fact that their personal prestige and contentment also gets linked to their work, over a period of time; it is not unoften that a synchronicity of the behavioural with the professional is easily assumed.
Right man at the right place; being the most riddle-some affair for the management person, it is not surprising why he relies, more and more, upon ethnography and psychology. That each person is unique and his potentialities are different from others, is taken, almost, as an indisputable fact. In addition, the equations of age, gender, subaltern etc. remain perpetually tilted.
Coming down to a very practical level, the dilemma of a school-goer can be considered as to how he makes up his mind, much in advance, to join one of the three – Science, Arts and Commerce – streams. For, from there, in effect, starts a broad opting for a particular class of professions.
The rest is a sordid story of Herculean struggle for survival, hard-nosed bargaining and chicanery. What all that leads to and where it takes the individual, is a veritable snakes-and-ladders game of fate and free-will.Be that as it may, it hardly helps to be fatalistic. From actors to astronauts, the human situation is an elegant mosaic of multitudinous marbles. The kaleidoscopic symmetry is no less illusory than the chaotic complexities. Whether one, merely, mirrors the other or complements him is a conundrum. But the taxing task of ferreting out a reliable taxonomy remains ever necessary.
The overt and covert personality traits imbricated by practical compulsions to take recourse to hypocrisy, diplomacy and deception further complicate the scenario. Besides, humour, honour and image in consonance with the need for self-protection and positioning litter the landscape with more riddles. Age, education and emotions, too, take their toll as time passes by, thus obliterating historical stereotypes.
In the face of such drastic diversity, it is difficult to accept the Vedic notion of a universal aspiration encompassing the whole of humanity. That Light and Force, Delight and Harmony are the ultimate ideals for each human being and it is quite possible to attain them during the span of a lifetime, is something which is not easily accessible, intellectually.
Physiological, biological and psycho-somatic grip over human conduct results in a mechanicity in contrast to the freedom of intellectual flights. Differential powers of perception and convoluted tiers of cognition engender enough individual differences. Power structures obtaining in the society contribute to further fragmentation and alienation among persons. And the quest continues.......

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Plenitude

Abundance knows no order or symmetry
A précis or a summary is out of place
The summit is the only destination
Every thing spills over in all directions.

It won’t brook minimal miserliness
And betrays no semblance of being tidy
Caskets are busy running helter-skelter
Lavish prosperity is having a field day.

All symbols, icons and simulacra
Are run over by the juggernaut of plenty
All restraints whatever is thrown to the winds
But no chaos is it, simply anarchy.

Anomie or Onam, the carnival is on
El Nino brings the news of the El Dorado
Idioms of the past, get ready for Nano
Dance when it pours, in joyful abandonment.

All ugly and hideous now pass for art
Objects are multiplying, signs in short supply
Texts in demat, soon to claim the three worlds
Apologists of economy, Unclasp!

Once one qualifies for the oceanic vast
Worlds of plenitude swim in in plenty
Revel in the joy of beauty and beatitude
Why settle for the tiny, mean and puny.

[Sat-280804-Onam]

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

PRE-VISION

Many a time I come across newspaper headlines which prove to be prophetic subsequently. I may recount a few of them. Hrithik Roshan should not be front page news, wrote Wilson John in The Pioneer edit page just to make the point that the terrorist killings in Kashmir deserve more attention of our mainstream newspapers than films or fashion. But to my surprise, anti-India riots broke out in Nepal over a reported repartee of Hrithik Roshan and he was adorning the front page for almost a week, just two or three months later.Similarly, Bhasker Ghosh wrote a feel-good piece on his visit to Kathmandu in The Hindustan Times edit page. And within a day or two the Royal carnage took place exerting a spine-chilling effect the world over.More recently, just two days before the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11, Dr G.S. Rajhans was dwelling upon the need to clip the wings of Taliban and its terrorist outfits, in Hindustan.Chandan Mitra recounted the shenanigans of Report Murdroch in destabilizing the media scene in UK in The Sunday Pioneer and in a matter of a few days the Tahelka pandemonium broke out.Yogendra Yadav wrote a stern piece on the food shortage and famine-like situation in many parts of the country in the edit page of Hindustan and laced it with a ‘Vikram Vetal’ quiz. And lo, when I open the Delhi Times, an ad splashes a picture of ‘Vetal’ escorting the king ‘Vikram’ to a Delhi restaurant.The same ad featured ‘Ravana’, the next day, his ten heads adorning the single neck. I was reminded of a letter to the editor of The Statesman complaining a few days earlier that the Ramayana depicts him as ‘Dasagriva’ as well, that is, as possessing ten necks and how it is difficult to imagine their position atop a set of twin shoulders.

TUSAR N MOHAPATRA
[2002]
Sri Aurobindo's extensive mapping of consciousness and his life-long endeavour to fathom the overhead regions through poetry and yoga are seminal contributions. His emphasis on attainability of highest possible perfection through sheer human efforts and by mere aspiration is a great message of hope.Further, the adventure of consciousness is not aimed at isolated spiritual salvation. Rather, a harmonious collective living is the ultimate destination. By translating this ideal to practical terms, Sri Aurobindo draws an elaborate blueprint concerning the ideal of human unity leading to the establishment of a World-Union.

Sri Aurobindo comes at a very crucial moment in the history of thought when Marxist materialism, Nietzschean nihilism and Freudian vitalism were popular and fashionable. Besides, phenomenology and existentialism had their run along-side him. On the whole, alongwith the new-fangled science and Theosophy,these new philosophical formulations fermented enough confusion among the elite.In a way, the disparate positions arrived at in western thought find their synthesis in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy. By aligning them with the ancient Indian wisdom, he comes up with an integral vision that breathes universality as well as contemporarity.

Thus, Kant's sublime, Hegel's absolute, Schopenhauer's will, Kierkegaard's passion, Marx's matter, Darwin's evolution, Nietzsche's overman, Bergson's elan vital, all find their due representation in Sri Aurobindo's grand exposition. His thought successfully overarchs cultural as well as religious chasms. S.K.Maitra and Haridas Choudhuri are first among the academicians to discern the import of Sri Aurobindo's integral philosophy. D.P.Chattopadhyay wrote a seminal treatise juxtaposing Sri Aurobindo and Marx to examine their utopian prophecies.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Comment on this article
In praise of Thomas Macaulay
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/messages.php?content_id=71045#69893

Sri Aurobindo

The fact that you have mentioned the epoch-making work of Sri Aurobindo on Vedic mysticism is of immense import, while debates on Macaulay or Jinnah are simply time-pass. It is the most original contribution of Sri Aurobindo to the modern knowledge systems and hence the primacy of Vedic discourse should incur our curiosity.

Posted by: Tusar N. Mohapatra, India, 12-06-2005 at 1733 hours IST
TOMORROW

He will come tomorrow, the Alien
Who has the key to all our ills, the clue
To all our jigsaw puzzles and problems
In one stroke he will solve all our mysteries.

Why are we born in different skins
Why do we speak in different tongues
Why we sing and dance in divergent ways
Or what makes us write in many fashions.

He has the formula for words and things
He has the link for art and aesthesis
He will tell us the master-recipe
And bring with him the sure remedy.

Why do we worship disparate icons
Why do we believe in philosophies
What makes us fall for rival theories
Or why do we love to kill each other.

All computing are on his finger-tips
All the worlds show up upon his thumb-nails
No gadgets he needs for tele-talking
His palm is the archive for all texts.

Pathetic calculations of our maths
Thanks to him will be laid to rest for good
The tortuous aparatus of labs
Will mercifully be things of the past.