Sunday, February 28, 2010

Manoj Das Gupta’s sphinx avatar

[Incidentally, silence can be cruel when a judge hearing a case maintains a monastic silence with the inscrutable face of the sphinx. Counsel has no clue about what the judge is thinking, whether he has understood counsel’s submissions or they have passed him by. Should counsel repeat his or her arguments or keep silent like the judge? A cruel predicament indeed and an instance of subtle judicial cruelty. Matrimonial and judicial cruelty, Soli J. Sorabjee: IE » Sunday , Feb 28, 2010]

Manoj Das Gupta’s sphinx avatar is not only cruelty but also downright uncivil. [TNM]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sania, Manoj, and Varadarajan

[The fall of Sania Mirza - into oblivion Times of India - Anil Dharkar - ‎Feb 20, 2010‎
So Sania Mirza lost to Tatjana Malek in the first round of the Pattaya Open recently. Earlier she had been eliminated in the first round of the Australian ...]

[CPM veteran found dead, questions rise in party Calcutta Telegraph - Manini Chatterjee - ‎Feb 21, 2010‎
Given the fact that the party general secretary himself led the demand for action and in the backdrop of the “rectification drive” initiated by the CPM ... To be a comrade one has to be prude! Economic Times - ‎Feb 18, 2010‎
Mr Varadarajan seems to have become the first casualty of CPM's new rectification campaign with the party central committee taking the decision to remove him ...
 Missing CPM leader Varadarajan found dead Express Buzz CPM plans panel to weed out 'vices' Times of India - ‎Feb 3, 2010‎
... with people who have amassed huge assets or flouted party discipline on occasions, though CPM has been pursuing its rectification campaign since 1996. ... CPM sets up body for top-to-bottom cleanup Asian Age Former MP's open letter to Karat: Don't restrict religious freedom Indian Express - ‎Feb 2, 2010‎
Former MP KS Manoj, who had recently quit the CPM in protest against party stand on religion in the rectification document, has asked CPM general secretary ...]

Sania, Manoj, and Varadarajan, have not much in common perhaps apart from the fact that they are all human beings. Their goals have proved illusive and life has changed course. In yoga too one is entirely entitled to such turns in life and attitude. Whole life (and death) is yoga, therefore. [TNM]  

Satprem's twist

The impatience that Satprem infused into his prose and the project of new species imparts a major twist to the teachings of the Mother & Sri Aurobindo. His admirable Adventure of Consciousness, of course, has acquired almost a foundational text status, and is a mandatory read. His post-Agenda publications, however, fail to display the same level of fidelity and fall on the verge of propaganda.

The protagonist role that he played (or so, the impression his books convey) ensued partly from his victimhood (concentration camp as well as eviction from Ashram) which helped accentuate the dramatic appeal of his overall message. The hurry and the fury he rallied for his publishing as well as marketing amidst adversity is, nonetheless, commendable.

Satprem, despite his messianic zeal, is yet to regain the stature that he deserves as the recipient of The Mother’s trust so consistently. Mother’s Agenda too, all said and done, can never recover from the taint that accrued while first coming out of the press. [TNM]

Monday, February 22, 2010

At Savitri Era we rarely quote

Mirror of Tomorrow romanticizes the past while Posthuman Destinies fantasizes about the future. At Savitri Era, however, the present is very much the concern. Poetry is integral to Mirror of Tomorrow, as is post-modernism to Posthuman Destinies. Savitri Era, in contrast, unabashedly flirts with politics. Mirror of Tomorrow borrows the Ashram tag and Posthuman Destinies flaunts the American, whereas Savitri Era stands for the layperson.

For divergent reasons Mirror of Tomorrow and Posthuman Destinies are shy of religion, while Savitri Era gladly wears it on its sleeve. Mirror of Tomorrow is snowed under reams of extracts from the works of the Masters, but at Savitri Era we rarely quote. [TNM]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

At a different pedestal and quality

from Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 21 February 2010 23:33

May I draw your attention to a book titled, Ends and Means in Private and Public Life (1989) published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study in association with Indus Pub. co., New Delhi, and edited by Rajendra Prasad  which contains insightful essays such as, Ends Means and Administrative Efficiency, Ends Means and the Art of Life in the Gita, Controversies and Beyond, and Means, Ends and Pictures of the Good Life by outstanding authors.

The Difficulty of Being Good by Gurcharan Das (2009) is also a useful recent publication. [TNM]

Friday, February 19, 2010

Primacy of contingency is the key

from Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 19 February 2010 14:04
Thanks for your appreciative and encouraging words. By saying, “I may not be able to reach the goal in my life time,” you might have preferred to stick to an ethical line, but the luxury of an absolute ethics is not available to us human beings; at least, no such example is there either in history or mythology. The best compromise the tradition offers is the higher dharma taking precedence over the lower. This also is not as simple as it sounds, for the ranking is purely a subjective affair tethered as it is to one’s self-interest and self-protection.  

Philosophical writings, both in the east as well as the west, are replete with explications on the question of individual vs. society that remain unresolved to this day. But one thing agreed upon generally is that a single rule can never be valid for all people in all situations. Therefore, the primacy of the contingency becomes the key and holds promise. What you label as realpolitik operates by latching on to that faint ray of hope. The butterfly, after all, is a transformed caterpillar. [TNM] 

Legacy of Golwalkar is a liability for Gadkari

By imitating Rahul’s Dalit act, Gadkari has positioned himself as a contender to the top post. He is entitled to that but the politics-for-development line won’t carry him very far. Ideological dilemma is one front that needs to be addressed urgently with tactful fine tuning. He perhaps understands well that the legacy of Golwalkar is a liability now and must be given a decent burial. The Ambedkar card, on the other hand, appears ambivalent with niggardly yield. 

His option, in such a scenario, is too restricted, and any rescue plan calls for out-of-box thinking. The Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee factor, if resurrected, can open up some rays of hope. Through him BJP can easily claim its genealogy to Sri Aurobindo, and become a candidate to hugely benefit from that. The intellectual resource to accommodate such a changeover, however, is scant in the party. [TNM]   

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ontology down to the level of our cells


[kelamuni said... hi tusar, it's not that i'm unimpressed with aurobindo, or than i am consciously ignoring him. the fact is, i was hoping to deal with aurobindo's more philosophical version of neo-vedanta after having given my account of vivekananda's. for this reason, there have been no detailed descriptions or analyses of aurobindo's thought in my blogs, only cursory references. cheers. 12:59 PM, February 16, 2010]

While I am thrilled at the prospect of expositions on Sri Aurobindo flowing from your keyboard, thinking of him vis-à-vis Vivekananda or linking him to Neo-Vedanta alone would be an injustice to his integrality. He along with The Mother has devised an ontology down to the level of our cells that is determining the destiny of the whole humanity. Your able intervention, I am sure, would bring the much needed clarity in the post-Wilber scenario. [TNM] 3:48 PM, February 17, 2010 

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Amar's embarrassment

[Amar SinghI don't want to be a politician hereafter. The kind of politics I have indulged in; the kind of politics I have done I am embarrassed to be a part of that kind of politics...
Not by the sort of politician I was but the sort of politics I have indulged in and I have become a part of that political process and system...
Of course, because barring the (Indo-US) nuclear deal I don't see any major achievement in my political career. 'I'm embarrassed for the politics I have done' IBNLive.com]

Each political party in India propagates a particular version of history as doctrine for its adherents. Savitri Era Party has to popularize its own version too. [TNM]

Private sector ought not to mean private business in higher education

['Most self-financed colleges exploit the demand-supply gap' Business Standard - Sunday, Feb 07, 2010
It is in this dreary world of higher education in India that we have shining examples, such as St Xavier's College. It was founded by the Society of Jesus. Long before Shri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr S Radhakrishnan, Dr Zakir Hussain, Dr Humayun Kabir and my good friend Shri Kapil Sibal, there was an intrepid soul named Fr H Depelchin. Along with six Belgian Jesuits, he arrived in Kolkata and founded the St Xavier's College…  
I recognise and support the role of the private sector in higher education, but I am absolutely clear in my mind that the private sector in higher education ought not to mean private business in higher education. As far as I am aware, no great university in the world was established for the purpose of profit. I believe that some activities in a society must stand outside the world of profit and higher education, in my view, ranks first amongst such activities. For over 150 years, the Society of Jesus has done just that in Kolkata, in Chennai and in many other towns and cities. For that and for many other blessings that they brought to India, we thank them and we salute them. (Excerpts from Home Minister P Chidambaram's valedictory address at St Xavier’s College (Autonomous) in Kolkata on January 17, 2010)]

[UNIT 18 CIVIL SOCIETIES: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, NGOs AND VOLUNTARY ACTIONQuick View The modern notion of voluntary action has its origins in Protestant ....]

[Andre Béteille…notes that possibly the only field in which Indians ‘show initiative in voluntary action’ is in religious matters… Religious activity, argues Béteille, ‘is one extensive and significant domain of social action in which (Indians) show genuine initiative, mutuality, and self-reliance’ (Indias Middle Class: New Forms of Urban Leisure, Consumption and Prosperity (Cities and the Urban Imperative)Christiane Brosius).]

The right academic view should rather be not to look at society as separate from religion or politics. The basic goodness of man in a civil society has the same source as his religious leanings. [TNM]