Friday, August 31, 2007


So finally I got to spare some time to fulfill my long nurtured dream - the first part of which is reading philosophy. Although the second part - to become a philosophy writer, and a good one at that - is yet unaccomplished but I am joyous and at peace, for I never anticipated to attain even this little.

My encounter with philosophy began with Bhagwad Gita - I aspired to be the selfless, the unattached, and also the man of action, as I identified myself more with the man of thought.
Then, I started reading western philosophers. Read a lot of it on net and in books. And the deeper I go into philosophy, the more I feel that they are writing for me, about me, and what I always wanted to write, or felt, at the least.

Be it Bertrand Russell in 'Marriage and Morals', echoing my thought - "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness if the majority of the mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible." or in the same book, echoing my experience - "Love can only flourish as long as it is free and spontaneous; it tends to be killed by the thought that it is a duty."

And there is Camus in 'The Outsider' - the book which affected me a lot, probably second only to Bhagwat Geeta, and I identified the most with the protagonist of 'The Outsider', who declares the life itself is absurd. And then I happened to lay my hands on 'Existentialism' - a collection of introduction and excerpts of works of philosophers of existentialism, absurdism, nihilism, and to some extent, post-modernism. Camus is again my favorite among all, declaring, in 'The Myth of Sisyphus' - "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy."

And then I read what, I think, is my biography - 'Steppenwolf'. It's written by Hermann Hesse, better known for writing 'Siddhartha'. I guess he put my name on one book and my story in another. Just a quote from 'Steppenwolf':
" He finds in himself a 'human being', that is to say, a world of thoughts and feelings, of culture and tamed or sublimated nature, and besides this he finds within himself also a 'wolf', that is to say, a dark world of instincts, of savagery and cruelty, of unsublimated or raw nature..... and to explain so complex a man as him by the artless division into wolf and man is a hopelessly childish attempt. He consists of a hundred or a thousand selves, not of two. His life oscillates, as everyone's does, not merely between two poles, such as the body and the spirit, the saint and the sinner, but between thousands and thousands."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Worshipping False Gods

Yes! The title is due to Arun Shourie but it's not about Ambedkar here. Shourie has screwed him more than enough with a 600 page book. But there are many more such 'False Gods' whom we worship without ever analyzing their deeds and misdeeds objectively. And what better day can there be to do that than the 60th independence day of India! Although the list is too long but I'll restrict myself to a few prominent and modern historical figures.
To begin with, what would you do to a man who jumps the gun and begins an operation much before the time planned? What about worshiping him. That is exactly what we do. We worship Mangal Pandey, who started the rebellion some 50 days before the date decided. As a consequence, most of the mutiny forces were ill-prepared and the rebellion was nipped in the bud. Although Pandey was a patriot and a brave one on that but, as they say, a wise enemy is better than a foolish friend.
And among the modern 'Independent' India's Leaders, there is Indira Gandhi - the only man in the cabinet - who practically ruined the economy as Indian economy showed a net capital outflow in her times when she closed down all the avenues of investment through the draconian acts like MRTPC, FERA, and license - quota - permit raj, and all this finally lead to what we know today as the 'Lost Decades' , stretching from 1966 to 1980; made bureaucracy omnipotent by giving it devastating powers of holding files indefinitely and allocating resources and licenses on their whims, which established bribery as a part of social ethos; and then, the political dictatorial fiascoes - from Bhindaranwale, uprooting of virtually every non-Congress state government, call to beat the Congress candidate Nilam Sanjiva Reddy through conscious vote in presidential election and later on, getting Giani Zail Singh elected, who ended up crawling when asked to bend; and finally, toppling the judgment of Allahabad high court.
Move back a little and answer this - what would you say of a negotiator who lost a battle on table despite a massive win on field? Well, call him Lal Bahadur Shastri. Indian forces were in Lahore in 1965, when he agreed to unconditional ouster of Indian forces - without claiming any compensation for the war thrust upon us or settling down the Kashmir issue.
But probably Shastri was just living the legacy that Nehru left for him. After all, it was Nehru who insisted on keeping the negotiation with the state of Jammu & Kashmir under his ambit while the remaining 561 were dealt with by Sardar Patel with swift dexterity. Nehru gave us Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah (apocrypha claim them to be half-blood brothers); he gave us a humiliating defeat from China in 1962; he gave us a crumpled economy - trickle down never worked, capitalists cornered all the dividends because capital was allocated by government, and he was too hasty in declaring mutatis mutandis for agricultural economy in 1956; a communist intelligentsia who'd open their umbrella when it rained in USSR and who laid red carpets for their 'communist brothers' when China invaded India in 1962; he also gave us a limping foreign policy and despite championing NAM, he sat in the lap of USSR, thereby alienating USA. He was the first one to recognize Tibet as a Chinese territory and congratulated Mao. Although he learned about the communist brotherhood the hard way in 1962, when USSR refused to help India on account of the communist China being the brother and the socialist India a mere friend, and it was USA who moved its aircraft carrier into Bay of Bengal for assisting India against China.
Then, there was the political godfather of Nehru - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, about whom the less said the better. He preached everything noble and refrained from everything he preached. In an attempt to be the undisputed leader of the whole nation, he appeased muslims on every occasion, e.g. - After the 'direct action day' in August 1946, he defended Nawab Suhrawardi and declared him his 'Maanas-Putra'; after slaughter of Hindus in Noakhali, he said that it was a spontaneous response of 'poor and downtrodden muslims' and they were just following their religion by killing the kafirs; and even after independence, his fast-unto-death for giving Pakistan Rupees 55 crore; a request-cum-order to the Indian government to 'evacuate' every mosque, even if abandoned and in ruins, from migrating masses; and to protect the evacuated properties of muslims who have left for Pakistan so that they can come back anytime they want. As a matter of fact, they came back - to sell the properties and left India with a pocketful of amount. His political favoritism is also well known, wherein he shamelessly promoted Nehru (who always claimed to be the 'Last English Ruler of India') over Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Patel.
In fact, I would count Patel and Bose also in this list precisely for being so submissively giving in to Gandhi's whims and preferred to follow his diktats in former's and leaving silently in the latter's case.
There are a lot many more names in this list. The irony is that despite all this being in the public domain of information, we are still lead by sycophants and we are still 'Worshiping False Gods'.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Me...

Millions of small thoughts, unlimited confusion,
a bit of poetry, few incomplete verses,
a little concentration, lots of distractions,
drizzling rains, green woods, nostalgia,
desires, memories,
lovable cartoons, soft music,
readable books, a library,
finicky cleanliness, collectible junk,
bathroom singing, arguments,
some crushes, some loves,
some close friends, some close enemies,
some more enemies, even more animosity,
some lies, lots of procrastination,
truth, malice,
belief, mother,
some teachers, faith,
estranged kins, forgotten friends,
some personal diaries, dry roses,
some sketches,
a leisurely walk,
some evenings on riverbank,
some mornings at Roomi Gate,
breaking pessimism,
spirit of warriors, anger,
long term optimism, persistence,
flights of fancy,
some scars, frozen heart,
rejections, fears,
fear of rejection, fear of approval,
some cards, an album,
an old file, lots of paper-cuttings,
arts never learned,
words never said,
missed calls, calls never dialled,
confessions never made, regrets,
lots of questions, very few answers,
and an incomplete blog entry...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Ships that sank...

It's Friendships Day today and I've received several calls, SMS, scraps, and wishes so far. Although I don't like commercial stunts like friendship day yet I enjoyed communicating to so many of them.
By the end of the day, I was thinking of the friends who went missing in the endless layers of time, and then I noticed I couldn't even identify the voice of two of my very old friends, and still have some unidentified well-wishers in my cell phone's inbox. Distances have increased - not only in terms of geography but also in terms of chemistry.
Sometimes I feel like having all my friends around, having fun together, living those good old days with the same warmth we once shared - the plans, the dreams, the giggles and screams, the laughs, the sighs, the lows and highs.....

And then I recall the times when I tried to catch-up with old friends - finding out friends of junior-high during my grads; when I'm in Ph.D., meeting friends of graduation days; and yesterday, meeting with batchmates of IIMA.... The only thing common, every time I tried revitalizing those old friendships, was we ran out of things to talk about after asking and telling each other about old friends, classmates, and teachers - we had nothing to talk about. I felt completely alienated with them and their world. They have moved on and so did I. When it happened for the first time, I was taken aback by the sheer shock of it but since then I have matured a lot more. It doesn't hurt me to lose friends now. In fact, I have stopped fishing out friends of bygone times, for their memories grow fonder till our paths do not cross. I try to accept all this as a part of life and reiterate:

कुछ दोस्तों से वैसे मरासिम नहीं रहे
कुछ दुश्मनों से वैसी अदावत नहीं रही


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