Saturday, 18 November 2017

To Mock at Rooted Beliefs

To mock at deeply held beliefs of a community in a book or a movie is not 'Creative Freedom'. It is Uncouthness.

A uncouthness that only the modern, deracinated liberal is capable of. My village people respect the rooted beleifs of others, because they have their own roots intact, and know the meaning of roots.

Piyush Manush What was mocked
Aparna Krishnan To understand that one needs to start from a position of essential respect for people, for their ways, their roots.
Aparna Krishnan There are rooted ways of questioning. Kabir, Basavanna, Narayana Guru, Gandhiji.
Aparna Krishnan A society throws up its own who question and correct. We need to tune into those processes.
Piyush Manush Amma u make a statement that starts with ..to mock .. what is being mocked is not being narrated nor answered and u bring in Kabir etc ..
Aparna Krishnan I dont debate any more. The answers are best found on the ground, with the people. They are available to all who seek to learn from people, their practices, their gods, their customs. The only requirement is humilty and openness. Anyway, please treat the post as one with a wider message. Please ignore it if it seems meaningless.
Piyush Manush I have only asked a question .. where is the debate .. so u do not know what is being mocked and went on to write the statement is it
Aparna Krishnan As you wish.
Meenakshi Negi Mere simplicity cannot be the lighthouse to intelligence..
Jayshree Shukla But what should the punishment for being uncouth be? The Karni Sena is threatening to behead Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Bhansali. Elsewhere they have also threatened to cut Deepika's nose and ears like Shoorpnakha. One cannot lose perspective. Am no Bhansali fan. His movies are loud and gaudy and in bad taste and also stereotype communities. But one cannot lose perspective and demand their heads. That is far more than uncouth. It is criminal.
Aparna Krishnan They are goondas. I have not even discussed them here.The post is a more general post.

The modern deracinated liberals are demanding something they call freedom of expression which to them includes painting gods in the nude, or twisting stories that people revere into cheap versions. That is simply an indication of their lack of culture, and total loss of roots. And sooner or later people will retaliate in ways we cannot predict. And I for one will not run to their defence. I expect civilized behaviour, I demand it. I understand the value gods have for the people of this land. Hindus or Muslims.
Aparna Krishnan Respect for the common man, his beleifs and his practices is something the modern educated liberal simply does not have. Activist liberal, or mainstream liberal.
Jayshree Shukla There are all kinds of people in this world. There are no monoliths so one should not fall into the trap of viewing all liberals as one. There are many shades of opinion there. Be that as it may, "retaliation in ways one cannot predict" cannot include violence. Violence cannot be excused. Because taste and interpretations of culture will vary, not just between cities and villages but also person to person. I recently saw pictures by Sanghi websites showing Gandhiji with foreign women. The pictures were photoshopped and in extremely bad taste. I was deeply offended. But I have not called for any heads. I am simply reiterating that violence under no circumstances is acceptable. I know that you in this post are not advocating violence. Just elaborating on another aspect :-)
Meenakshi Negi The common man thinks commonly and sometimes that is not the way of the truth, in fact most times..
Aparna Krishnan Jayshree Shukla Those a criminals and deserve the strongest punishment that the law can give. but as I said this post is not about them.

It is about those who claim the right to paint Saraswathi in the nude, and suchlike. It is not just uncouth, it is deeply offending to the common man who is a sincere beleiver. The simple people of this land are religious in a deep and simple way.
Aparna Krishnan Meenakshi Negi The common man thinks more wisely than the educated breed. His roots are intact. I have known both communities very closely.
Meenakshi Negi Aparna Krishnan I beg to defer the educated or uneducated both can be commonly thinking.. commonness has not much to do with education or the lack of it
Aparna Krishnan but have you known both communities equally closely ? That is important before you can have an opinion.
Meenakshi Negi Aparna Krishnan yes indeed I do have some insight. Poverty and elitism are neighbours in India and there are crossovers on a daily basis.. of one has eyes to see and ears to hear both narratives speak..
Aparna Krishnan Equally. And one has to immerse. Once has to live among them. That is when an understanding of a community comes.

Otherwise one can understand a small part, thats all.
Meenakshi Negi Aparna Krishnan this may be true and may not be.. people can be married for decades and remain strangers.. we have to know that we do not know yet from that lack we function.. I admire your lifepath though I may not always agree to purist views on many subjects..
Aparna Krishnan sure.
Dipankar Khasnabish How do you define a community? And how do you define deeply held beliefs? And how do you define hurt?

How much of these are based on information - both past and present?

And why do we feel that the ones who are the creators will hurt the sentiments events without an inkling of the creation? And who are the ones who are custodians? Who appointed them?
Aparna Krishnan One has to immerse in a community to understand. It is not abstract, it has to be experianced. I moved to a village 20 years ago, lived as a neighbour, drew water from the same well. Got the thatch on my roof repaired when they did, took my turn at the...See more
Dipankar Khasnabish That is exactly I said, what may be sacred in one village may not be so in the adjoining one. And why then go for village, why not move to household or for that matter individuals?

I am sure there will be at least one individual who will be offended b...See more
Aparna Krishnan These are theoritical positions. You have to understand the truth on the ground. The English educated crowd is a miniscule minority in this land, and it is as unrepresentative of the country as possible.

The stories from my village match the stories from friends who have also immersed themselves elsewhere. There is a commonality. I do not ask to be believed. But if you wish to understand, you will need to make the move to another world. The learnings and gains will be immense. It is recovery of roots.
Dipankar Khasnabish This is exactly the problem I see in many cases - that one is theoretical, that one has to understand the truth, that the English educated people are not aware.

This is exactly where the conversations - break down, on assumptions on others (and maybe about one's own self).

BTW in India, it is assumed around 40% of the population is in the cities, and the large cities are like a mini country - with the economy itself upwards of USD 200B. There are stories and realities in cities - not all have no go to the villages to understand or appreciate them.
Aparna Krishnan No, one has to be a neighbour and co-exist with the community one wishes to speak of. Or to understand through someone who has co-existed, but that is very second hand.

One can be a neighbour to IT colleuges and one understands that world. I have been there.

One can then be a neighbour to the poor in the cities and understand that world.

One can also stand outside, and see and help. That is laudable. But then one often only sees the poverty and misses many many riches, which come only in the nuances of day of day living.
Aparna Krishnan All these bytes will serve no purpose. If you wish to understand what I am saying you need to walk that mile. Yourself.
Dipankar Khasnabish I don't wish to - the same way I am not asking someone else to walk my mile. I believe everyone has a journey, and no journey is superior to another one. Each on their own - so long they are not degrading the society.

But again I suggest - don't assume who are the others, and what they are doing or not doing. We just don't know, even for our neighbors. People are complex - we just see the tip of it. So always best to remain at ideas and events level, below that it degenerates.
Aparna Krishnan You, or anyone, is not in my mind. To assume anything.

My point is just that to comment on a community very removed from our, one needs to immerse. Otherwise ones understanding stays very partial, and misleading. One can see a wise and wonderful and poor community, as just poor.

I am not asking you to move to a low income community, just saying that that complete engagement is what gives us the whole picture !

Gandhi in a Labour Meeting.

"He spoke like a man inspired. I wondered what would happen in an American labor meeting if a union leader tried to persuade the men to depend on God, to offer prayers for better working conditions!"
‘When Gandhi mounted the platform and bowed to the people, a wild shout of welcome arose. “Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai!” echoed against the distant hills. Here, I saw, was a great man. This frail framework of bone and muscle clothed in a few yards of homespun cloth had, through his love for his fellow men, attained the lonely grandeur of greatness. It seemed to me that this was no longer a labor meeting, but convocation of men to hear the voice of one they believed holier than they.
‘Gandhi raised his hand to still the deafening acclamation. The gesture commanded complete silence. Then he began to speak, to exhort each man to give his utmost effort in the knowledge that God would watch over him. Above all, he urged abstemiousness in all things, and complete faith in prayer. He spoke like a man inspired. I wondered what would happen in an American labor meeting if a union leader tried to persuade the men to depend on God, to offer prayers for better working conditions!

Kannan Thandapani 'Urging abstemiousness' - how old fashioned! :)

English Education - Hind Swaraj

English Education
To give millions a knowledge of English is to enslave them. The foundation that Macaulay laid of education has enslaved us. I do not suggest that he had any such intention, but that has been the result. Is not a sad commentary that we should have to speak of Home Rule in a foreign tongue?
And it is worthy of note that the systems which the Europeans have discarded are the systems in vogue among us. Their learned men continually make changes. We ignorantly adhere to their cast-off systems. They are trying each division, to improve its own status. Wales is a small portion of England. Great efforts are being made to revive a knowledge of Welsh among Welshmen. The English Chancellor, Mr Llyod George is taking a leading part in the movement to make Welsh children speak Welsh. And what is our condition ? We write to each other in faulty English, and from this even, our M.A.'s are not free ; our best thoughts are expressed in English ; the proceedings of our Congress are conducted in English ; our best newspapers are printed in English. If this state of things continues for a long time posterity will—it is my firm opinion—condemn and curse us.
It is worth noting that, by receiving English education, we have enslaved the nation. Hypocrisy, tyranny, etc., have increased ; English-knowing Indians have not hesitated to cheat and strike terror into the people. Now, if we are doing anything for the people at all, we are paying only a portion of the debt due to them.
It is not a painful thing that, if I want to go to a court of justice, I must employ the English language as a medium ; that, when I become a Barrister, I may not speak my mother tongue, and that someone else should have to translate to me from my own language ? Is not this absolutely absurd ? Is it not a sign of slavery ? Am I to blame the English for it or myself ? It is we, the English-knowing men, that have enslaved India. The curse of the nation will rest not upon the English but upon us.
Hind Swaraj (1908), Ch. XVIII

Objections to Sanskrit

"To cry 'saffronisation' at any mention of Sanskrit takes a special loathing our own past, language, culture, roots. A special brainwash" !!

Adharshila Learning Centre I think its also about choice over imposition, which in any case doesn't work in the long run.
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Gangadharan Kumar @Adharshila: Curious - Where is the question of imposition here? There are a set of optional languages kids choose from and Sanskrit is being made available instead of German. How does that become imposition?
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Aparna Krishnan And choices, I am afraid, are manufactured choices. The mindlessness, and unthinking sheeplike choices, I see in the present day youth, who are 'far freer' than I was a generation ago, make me wonder. The corporates and consumerism seem to dictate choices very deeply, though subtly.
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Aparna Krishnan Anyway, English is 'imposed' in most schools as the medium of instruction. I think its fine if an Indian, knowing the richness of Sanskrit, 'imposes' it as the second language. There are always vernacular schools parents may choose to go to, if they are anti-English for their wards. Similarly there will ne non-Sanskrit-teaching schools also, if they wish to avoid Sanskrit..
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Naveen Manikandan Periasamy There are more universities in countries like US and Germany that have Sanskrit studies than Indian Universities. Linguists and scientists in the Artificial Intelligence domain see Sanskrit as the most suited language for interactive computing in the future, because the language is phonetically consistent and it's grammatical formulations are impeccably perfect. None of this is an exaggeration or extrapolation. With this being the scenario,the so called "freedom loving leftists and communists" with poor intellectual fiber are hell bent on resisting any attempt to bring in Sanskrit in the curriculum. They don't mind the soft power push or tactful imposition that Angela Merkel tried on the India delegation at the G20 summit on Indian government's decision to remove German from the KV curriculum. Dravidian politics is the worst of all as they welcome imposition of English, but are vehemently against "north indian" Sanskrit - while the truth is every Indian language has it's roots in Sanskrit. Agitation against imposition of bollywood Hindi is totally understandable though.
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Adharshila Learning Centre Nothing against Sanskrit or any other language being offered. Could have been in addition to German rather than instead. More the merrier. Though cant figure out why was German there in the first place ?? it is not just this. when this is heard in conj...See more
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Aparna Krishnan My own understanding and faith is in a deep strength and rootedness of the Indian culture and tradition. The Left in my understanding on one hand discards religion, and therein loses a certian essential understanding of our roots. Having said that, 
1. All is certainly not well in India 

2. If someone appropriates and distorts the concepts of Hinduism, then the need to own it up more intensely as my heritage, and own up the responsibility of correcting and affirming. 

Not just because of 'heritage', but because the lives of my village people is rooted in rthis eligion.

In my years in the village, I have seen that religiousness (in a simple and holy sense - including gangamma, and vinayaka, and even jesus) is a cornerstone of existence. And the Mahabharatam, with a million and one subtales, many of which I learnt there, anchors life and ethics and goodness. As mine is an ordinary, and just-off-the-road village, and just 50km from the town on Tirupathi I would somewhere also generalize

3. Of course there is vast diversity, and all has to be incorporated, We will have to fight for that also.
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Aparna Krishnan Bharatam - of the people, for the people 

The Bharatam is a eighteen day drama event, based on the Mahabharata. . ... Annaswamy, now about 70 years, says he has seen around ten Bharatams in his life in places in the vicinity. He says that the Bharath
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The utter generosity of the poor humbles us. They…
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Sashikala Ananth I think we are waiting for the time when our european mastets can cone and teach us about our vedic traditions! Its already happening, our sports teams have european yoga teachets, so that no minority sentiments can be hurt. What a tragic and distorted level of self hate and hindu hatred! Particularly when the subjects such a yoga ayurveda and vaastu were never the basic building blocks of a monolith religion.
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Sanjeev Deshpande Curious: In which part of india the masses spoke sanskrit and for how long? Would be interesting to see the upholders of tradition practising their language of choice at home or among themselves instead of blindly adopting the language of our english masters.
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Aparna Krishnan one is not talking of speaking Sanskrit. there is culture - of the mahabharatha, which forms the lifeline of much of rural india, and much else - and knowledge (including Ayurveda which is a very valuable inheritance). All this is anchored in Sanskrit.
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Subha Bharadwaj You definitely belong to the CENTRE
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Subha Bharadwaj you said not right not left, so centre
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Aparna Krishnan in this day and age, we are the nowhere people !!
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Vidyasankar Sundaresan For all those who have a problem understanding why Sanskrit is an unalienable part of Indian identity, think of ancient Greek and Latin instead. Nobody speaks Latin, only a few stuffy Vatican officials write it, yet Latin informs intellectual life enormously in today's world. Today's Greek is quite different as compared to ancient Greek, yet if we need a new word for anything, whether in science or in law, people go back to Latin and ancient Greek. That's the same kind of role that Sanskrit continues to play in Indian civilization, yet we Indians want to queue up to disparage any attempt to keep some familiarity with Sanskrit going. We always want to be dependent on someone else, never stand on our own feet. This is exactly what a colonized mindset is. A pity that Indians want to perpetuate it, almost a century after our colonizers physically left our land! And that is why the rightwing derogatorily uses the word Macaulay-putra.
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Aparna Krishnan maccauly putra is a fact. I see it in myself ... and most vividly after I moved to a village. actually delhi to california is a smooth move, compared to delhi to a village. delhi is far closer culturally to California, than to a village. (I was in us for a year before I resigned and moved to a village. so I am speaking from seeing both moves.). Urban English medium educates Indians are all brown sahibs. The education itself ensure that.
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Vidyasankar Sundaresan Yes, I think those of us whose life experiences are informed largely by Indian city life have never been forced to hold a mirror to ourselves and answer for who we are, really. It is only those who have had to find a footing outside, whether abroad or in an Indian village, who see the difference. And I agree, moving from Mumbai to LA was not that big a deal. Anyway, I can quite resonate with your not right, not left, but I prefer to think of myself also as not center and not nowhere. I think we can comfotably situate ourselves along a third dimension that is orthogonal to left, right and center! But we are definitely somewhere. 
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Aparna Krishnan Yes, orthogonal to left and right and centre sounds like a nice place to be in ! Thanks.
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Aparna Krishnan I hold no brief for this government - or for any government. A State is top heavy and authoritarian, and were the gram swarajya model possible, it would be a different debate. Having said that - I would like to stick to just the issue. Our country has ended up in a state where it despises itself (shown by the overt and covert respect given to him who can speak English fluently, and stunbles over Tamil, compared to him who stumbles over English, and is well versed in Tamil.). That is a deep crisis that we need to face and address urgently and in all ways. A country that does not value itself (and that includes its heritage, its present mores, everything) is lost and defeated.
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Aparna Krishnan I suspect when things swing to one insane extreme, as they have done today - with western clothing, language, mores being preferred over all things native - society will swing to the other extreme as a reaction. maybe we need to watch that also. Meantime introspecting and correcting in sane and deep ways, so as to control the takeover of the swing by the rightwing forces.
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Aparna Krishnan A young village mother brings up her three children on 1000/- p.m. there are city youth in Chennai who blow up 20,000/- in a night club. Since I heard of this, I am all for heavy handedness and closeing of such clubs. I am all for such 'autocracy'. I am all for moral police. Do you see - when things swing to insane extremes such as this, a society (and I) react violently.
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Swarna Latha the liberal use of the phrase 'disposable income' is extremely disturbing...