Much controversy is in the air relating to the presentation of Indian culture and society to international community through a recent movie, Slum dog Millionaire.The biased presentation, as it appears to be, and expressed by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan also,to quote from 'Sound Bites' of Sunday Pioneer, "They (Academy Awards) are great in their place and we are so in our place. It is not that the Oscars are the ultimate recognition." but somehow,story continues. Whether a representation is correct or wrong depends on the glasses the presenter and the observer wear. Films like Awara or Sri 420, which placed Mr. Raj Kapoor in the hearts of Russians, represented the India as it was then, poor but with smiles on lips and faces glowing with innocence and a lot of hope and zeal for the future but simultaneously, black marketing and immoral acts also. Films and literature is the mirror of the society. The question is how honestly the creator does the justice to his or her creation. I do remember, when madam Arundhati won the Booker, some critique raised the similar points that she had misinterpreted and misrepresented the Indian society and culture. Fortunately, we are better informed now so we are with better ability to judge the mischief played under various vested interests. And we must be. Such actions and reactions go on side by side. I think the greatest learning one may have in cultivation of one’s own personality, is to develop the ability to “see” without any bias. In my last note to your post on Secularism, I tried to raise the issue to develop this capability in the people of our country. We know it is not so easy because biased interpretation, or say pseudo-secularism, is more infectious than unbiased vision since the former involves sufficient incentives to attract people. Nothing can have one side only. If certain biases are apparent there are other things which go beyond the representation of the society, it is the music, the lyrics and other dimensions as well. If one aspect has hurt by misrepresentation, the other aspects have boosted our self esteem and self confidence.But we know it very well that pinches of one's acts are sure to reflect somewhere else in time and space.
The cognition of the very conscience of India people, as Mr. Mark Tully, in his No Full Stop in India, states, is true. The tolerance and the liberal view beneath diversities in sects, the people have been following in India, is a direct repercussion of millennial long realization by we Indians or better say, Bharatiya, of the Cosmic Unity, Tat tvam asi or aham brahmaasmi.To see traces of this fact, one, be it an Indian or a foreigner, does not need to go for some theological course. If one has his “eyes open”, and if one is "sensitive enough", he or she can observe in the day to day behavior of common people in India. It is so deeply rooted and thoroughly immersed in the psyche of people, that every act of people goes unconsciously or without any deliberate intention. What we call Dharma, is in fact the “Order within Cosmic Unity”. This cosmic ordering principle "keeps on working" and as soon as a “person” begins to exist on conception becomes bound by this cosmic order. It has nothing to do with the “faith” or method of worship, i.e, religion that new born person would follow in his or her life. Thus the ordering law of cosmic unity is entirely independent of the path of worship one chooses. "The situation is analogous to the Indic position on religious salvation—that a human being has access to it not by virtue of belonging to this or that religion—but by the mere fact of being a human being." The fact of matter is that the duality inherent in our own reasoning makes it more convincing to believe in all those things which are consequences of duality. And the process goes on, leading to very many interpretation and consequent uses and abuses by those superior in power, be it intellectual power, might or wealth. It is due to this fact, for centuries deliberate interpretations have been made by power brokers to satisfy their vested interests.
Like Mr. Tully, Kerry Brown observes, “… the culture that we know now as Hinduisms and that the Indian ones call Sanatana Dharma - the Law Eternal - precedes this name by thousands of years. This is more than a religion, more than the theological direction in which the west understands religion. One can believe in all divinities or in no divinity and remain Hindu. This is a manner to living." It is due to this prevalent undercurrent, Tully observes that Indian secularism does respect all religions and rejoices in the diversity of faiths we Indians follow but, “the Western world and the Indian elite who imitate it ignore the genius of the Indian mind. They want to write a full stop in the land where there are no full stops.” This is why he writes, “for thousands of years, in changing historical circumstances, in different countries, and cultures and climates, people had experienced what appears to be the same reality, although describing that reality differently, I saw that a universal God made far more sense rationally than one who limited his activities to Christians.” This is why Shri Guruji Golwalkar, said that theocracy was alien to our culture and tradition. If we have to succeed, we must strive to work hard to check various misinterpretations of the words like secularism and identification of Sanatan as religion and to clear minds of the people from any pre seated misunderstanding.
The Issue Unresolved As a point of reference let us begin with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, exactly thirty years after the 1959 Declaration. To strengthen it further, on September 2nd, 1990 it entered into force as international law. Four of the Convention’s 41 substantive articles have been given special emphasis because they are basic to the implementation of all rights contained in it. Known as the Convention’s ‘general principles’, these are: Article 2 - All rights guaranteed by the Convention must be available to all children without discrimination of any kind Article 3 - The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children Article 6 - Every child has the right to life, survival and development Article 12 - The child’s view must be considered and taken into account in all matters affecting him or her. It may be noted that the Survival rights recognise the child’s right to life and the needs basic to the child’s existence. These include nutrition, shelter, an adequate standard of living and access to healthcare. Development rights outline what children require to reach their full potential, for example, education, play, leisure, cultural activities, access to information, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Protection rights require that children be protected from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Participation rights recognise that children should be enabled to play an active role in decisions affecting their own lives, in their communities and societies in preparation for responsible adulthood. The basic principles of the rights of the child is that society has an obligation to satisfy the fundamental needs of children and to provide assistance for the development of children’s personalities, talents and abilities.Articles 1-41 of the Convention set out the rights of children and the corresponding obligations of governments to safeguard and vindicate these rights. Assuming that the UN convention is a reflection of world civilisation via its leadership and representatives, what when different local leaderships, local Governments themselves violate it and deprive children of their fundamental rights. Now let me come to the point and begin with an existence,a new born, taking his or her first breath on this plannet, being most innocent as we all know, purer than pure, free from all the worldly conceptualisations and prejudices. As soon as this creature takes independent breath on this earth, becomes an independent citizen of world civilisation besides its local identification based on geopolitical classifications. It is for this innocent creature, is it justified for the governments to punish this innocent being by depriving from many of his/her fundamental rights, pointed above and legitimise their actions on the grounds of social justice and their civil and constitutional laws, solely because this creature of nature has taken birth within a particular geopolitical boundary it is belonging to?
An article, referring to a BBC report,, remarked ,"This is not helpful. Dubious science plus bad diplomacy equals problems, in the region of the world where we least need more." For let us consider the second thing first," Dubious science plus bad diplomacy equals problems."Correct. Even when taken in isolation, dubious science may cause problem, and it does so.But we must remember that every research has its time.It may be relevant or irrelevant at one particular time but not on the other.It is the general nature of usability.Now,"in the region of the world where we least need more."Well, in an increasingly networked and globally interdependent existence and events, it is unwise to say,as above,which region one needs most, it may appear to be irrelevant at one point of time but within no time it may become critically important.Again it depends on the rapidly changing global strategies and sheer unpredictability of human behaviour which rule various power centers.So vision la prevision rules the decision.Thirdly,on "This is not helpful".In a state of rapidly changing power center behaviours and existence of international threats by terror which is getting more and more complex with advanced technologies,a combination of the so called dubious science and dubious strategy can well be resorted if the end appears even a little better.Of course, resorting to any such move will certainly influence the existing power nodes and induce further changes in their behaviours, but whosoever it may be, after all,every thing, every strategy is now a deterrent only and for all the parties.But belong all science, technologies and businesses,costs,monetary or strategic, protection of innocent people is of paramount importance.So, deterrence will counter deterrence but people will have better protection.This makes the exercises worth doing.drssd
A headline in the Times of India today,"Girls to marry militants, orders Taliban," see 2 Jan 2009, 1524 hrs IST, PTI, does not come to any surprise since Taliban's social dictum were exposed during their rules in Afghanistan. The news opens with,"On the heels of their crusade against girls going to schools, the Taliban have now issued new dictum in the areas under their sway asking parents of the grown up daughters to marry them to militants or "face dire consequences".This new force-marriage campaign is being run in most of the areas in the Pakistan's troubled NWFP through regular announcements made in mosques to congregations.
How long after all, can they borrow or can be able to misguide youth in poverty to be their guns? It is very natural if one looks from the standpoint of Taliban.
But my concern is with the humans of the Islamic community or say true Muslims of the world.It is they who have not only to define but decide whether Taliban is inclusive or exclusive to Islam. With due respect to Islam, I, being a student of perennial religion, know that Islam or any religion, in its core of heart and true conscience and original form, never proposed cruelty. There is no point to doubt in it.It is its preachers and followers,but not all of them, who have been abusing it for their own vested interests and sheer benefits, specially because most of the people have been ignorant of their own religion they have been following.Qualitative variations, however, have been there with respect to whether a religion was "prophetic" or otherwise. It is this fact which has been leading to fanaticism and superstition besides greed. Without saying a single word hurting the religious sentiment of any body, may I ask those who belong to the Islamic religion if the fatwa or such dictum as given by Taliban correct for their own children, born or yet to born in future? Is it meant to preserve the breed and purity of their civilisation? Where are those who die for human rights in the community in question? Silence generally means surrender. Should we think that the barrel of gun has turned its point now and is no more straight? The fact of matter now is that only the people of this very community have to choose and decide the way they want their children to live in future. Action or reaction is warranted from within the world Muslim community to reveal whether they accept or reject. But, for the sake of human civilisation, this action or reaction must come immediately.My point is to know how the community itself finds some way to deals with such malpractice within it for the sake of their own children. It is here lies the solution rather than in changing hats.
Every moment is a new moment.We are never the same in the running water of time. With every thing hectic everywhere,chaos and a RUN going on continuously, to know our displacements in time and space, we humans devised certain measures, measures based on some referents in a certain frame of reference. What have passed, good or bad,happy or sad, are now our memories only,what we plan for our future too, are only memories.The feed forward helps us re-shape our future for our well being.But to reshape we only have moments of present.Here we find that there is an other way round.Our continuous momentary "present" is our real existence,but it runs so fast, no one can hold it on.By the time we think on it is becomes past and grabs its place in memories. So the cycle moves continuously, and we have only moments to reshape the future. Here,I would not say,"if possible", because we trust, "it is possible". What is required is that, the fast running moment of present IS the only "life" we live in. So let us live and love this life and WISH:
Nothing else, perhaps, expresses our WISH as Tagore expressed clearly as a poem in Gitanjali:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; ... Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; ... Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous NEW Year.