Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LIving off Inherited Glory

I, along with Shilpi, Niranjan, Rashi, and Varadharajan, had been to a very interesting magic show in IISc this Sunday. The magic show had a very interesting theme: thoughts and philosophy of D. V. Gundappa, a famous Kannada writer. Each item was presented with a very nice philosophical commentary taken from the great writer's work. I felt the concept was unique and was presented brilliantly!
One criticism though. Certain lightly said things, like how we Indians have always known various scientific theories while they have been discovered only in the last couple of centuries by the West. I feel, those weren't in a perfectly good taste. I am sure, this was some sort of inadvertent misquoting of the great DVG. As a joke, it's fine. However, certain things make it undesirable: over-repetition, unsubstantiated claims, and feeding a nationalist ego of people (us) who anyway want to believe those stories.
I feel, as a nation, we Indians are going through a very difficult phase. We have been handed down a very low self esteem resulting from centuries of difficult times. I think we are recovering, though very slowly. In such conditions, one thing that's not going to help is to get deluded by any unsubstantiated claims of our superiority (as well as inferiority). Particularly based on stories, whether real or imagined, of the glories (or shame) of our ancestors. We must stop trying to live off inherited glory, and stand up for ourselves. Of course, we should beat our drums aloud, but only when we have something great to show that's created by us, the current Indians.

(reproduced from my Facebook post)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Karva Chawth

There's a list A: the list of 'choices' that a woman exercises and does to express her individuality, sexuality, aesthetic sense, love and/or devotion.
And there's a list B: the list of things women have to do because of a male dominated society.
These two lists are built and maintained by an anonymous, distributed group of people who consider themselves the custodians of womens' rights.
I feel that two of the very important tools of female subjugation that our society employs are:
- Equating regressive traditions to choices that women make to celebrate their womanhood. Be it Madri's sacrificing herself on Pandu's pyre, today's Karva Chauth, or fashion trends for which 'modern' women 'choose' (with due consultation with beauty and fashion brands through the very balanced means of aggressive advertising) to follow expensive purchases, time-wasting routines, non-functional, uncomfortable and sometimes harmful dressing, and beauty procedures ...
- Dismissing those who point these things out while it's not yet deemed fashionable to do so by the custodians of women's rights, as regressive and supporters of rapists.
Surely a few years from now, someone will toss the tradition of fasting and praying and dressing up for someone near and dear from list A to list B.
While we wait for that to happen, thus making it acceptable to talk about them in intellectual circles, I wish a Happy Karva Chauth to all of you!

(Reproduced from a Facebook post of mine)