Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gandhi, Ambedkar, Deendayal, & Lohia

“Common man in the economic ideas of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar & Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya”: that was the theme of a Seminar organized by India Development Foundation on September 25, 2010 at the Constitution club. None of the speakers, unfortunately, could do justice to such a wide-ranging subject and Dr. Mahesh Chandra Sharma observed that the three great men were rather philosophers and not economists.

DU is hosting a three-day Conference on “Social philosophy & Socialist politics after Lohia : Chasms & Bridges” during March 28-30, 2011. Major political parties in India today are indebted to these four leaders. But it is often forgotten that they were products of their times and their socio-economic thinking, therefore, should not be treated as frozen. It is easy to rouse popular passion by criticizing the rich and their enterprises. But earning such political dividends corrodes the economic well being of the nation and its people.

The nuclear quagmire in Japan has sent shock waves over the future of the present model of development that leans so heavily on science and technology. But to propose that there is an alternative route is sheer chicanery. Risks of technology will have to be combated with more technology and not by hurtling back to the dark ages. There is nothing wrong in paying homage to these great patriots our country produced, but following the economic policies they espoused would be a mistake. [TNM]

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Mother at exam time

[How I discovered Sri Aurobindo and the Mother 
I joined AIIMS as an MBBS student in 1965, and spent 40 years there, almost without a break. Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch is less than 4 km from AIIMS, but it took me 27 years to discover this oasis of peace. And, it is not that I was blind to matters religious or spiritual. Before I went to the ashram, I had done a decent amount of study on these subjects, and had tried to construct mentally an ethical code by which I had tried to live my life. But being a rationalist, I had generally kept away from places of worship as well as any rituals or ceremonies. Anyway, I went to Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time in 1992 on a Sunday morning at 10 am for a satsang. The discourse was good, but what impressed me more was the cleanliness, order, punctuality, and the intense spiritual energy of the place. Moreover, there seemed to be no obvious or mandatory rituals, customs or dress code. In short, the emphasis was on what is within you, rather than on the surface. ]

There are several medical practitioners among the top erangelists and Dr. Bijlani is one. But having come to The Mother so late in life, he can't really be said to have lived Integral Yoga. Textual presentation of prescriptions with clinical precision is one thing, but the tale of relying upon The Mother during each ordeal and examination in life is quite another. [TNM] 

Savitri Era Party is against anti-market rhetoric

Baba Ramdev has been probably most successful of God men of recent times...
The current times have been the one where the politics has been wearing the clothes of religious identity. Baba is going one step ahead. He is trying to ride on two horses, the one of spirituality-religion and the other of entrepreneur-politician, at the same time. His association with those who have done politics by abusing religious identity, the communalists, is very clear. That may be the reason as to why he is creating hysteria around corruption by one political party rather than against corruption as a phenomenon related to our socio-political structure. ]

Rajiv Dikshit claims that the manifesto of 

Bharat Svabhiman is a reaffirmation of the nationalist exhortations of Sri Aurobindo published in the Bande Mataram. However, Savitri Era Party is against the hawkish anti-market rhetoric parroted by Dikshit. [TNM]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paid-news is steering political events

Paid-news phenomenon constitutes a watershed in the evolution of democracy in India. It is an obvious extension of the TV news channels churning out back-to-back breaking news while frantically chasing TRPs. The media is no longer a mere intermediary, but an active agent and a powerful player. The infotainment industry is not just peripheral as earlier. Rather, it has acquired substantial muscle in steering political events.

The Constitution of India was crafted in relatively innocent times. That the proceedings of Lok Sabha would be telecast live was simply unthinkable. Adapting to technological changes, therefore, is a challenge now for the Indian democracy. Panel discussions over at TV studios are effective alternatives of Parliamentary debates. The more they are institutionalized and internalized the better.

Political parties running captive TV channels is an accepted practice now in many States. This being replicated at the national level is only a matter of time. Such transparency needs to be welcomed in the interest of integrity and fair-play. Citizens skilled in deciphering slants in reporting and bias in paid-news would then be the right antidote. [TNM]

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fathoming Foucault and Derrida

[Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy Since 1960 by Gary Gutting – review The Guardian - Gary Gutting The theories of Derrida and Foucault are revisited in this fair-minded history of French deconstructionism, and guess what? It wasn't all bunkum… But was there anything inside the texts of Derrida and his fellow deconstructionists? Gutting is scrupulously fair-minded on this point. On the one hand, he says (in an argument that gives him his title), post-structuralist thought has been no less than an attempt to "think the impossible".

On the other hand, impossible thinking makes for impossible writing, and he boldly admits that "for almost all of us (even those of us who spend a good amount of time on recent French philosophy), [it] cannot be understood through a close, line-by-line reading". Far better, he concludes, to treat this stuff like poetry – as essentially unparaphrasable and never fully explicable.]
Venturing through this poetry of the last half century can be hugely rewarding even for Savitri Erans who wear poetry as second skin. [TNM]

Friday, March 18, 2011

The confusion that is India

Major languages in India are powerful anchors of sub-nationalism. No meaningful co-operation between various States has occurred due to this basic difference. Religion, geography, and caste are other contributing factors subverting the national identity. The tension between tradition and modernity remains a perplexing affair for people of all ages. Increasing secularization of life and society robs the cushion of mythological beliefs and metaphysical assurances. Exposure to overseas customs and practices triggers drastic lifestyle overhauls. The flux is accentuated through easy communication channels and sundry gadgets. Travel and trans-national jobs are also transforming the text-book definitions of nationalism and patriotism.

India in such a scenario is perhaps the most confused nation. On the top of it, the political power wrests with a foreign-born woman. English language and Western manners carry a premium and the cream of society across the country firmly follow the colonial legacy. Paradoxically, this influential elite that dominate the media and the academy claim to be the close friends of the marginalized. Motivated sociological doctrines coupled with highly distorted history books have taken their toll. To sum up, people of India are yet to understand their own nation. [TNM]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Indian exceptionalism is suspect

[Sri Aurobindo'S Theory of Nationalism Sri Aurobindo was looked upon as a prophet of the Indian nationalism. In association with Bankimchandra, Tilak and Dayanand, he contributed to the t.]

It is impossible today to see India in isolation. And hence the difficulty of formulating any precise notion about it. From Dalits to Diaspora, the diversity is vast and complex. From Software to Soft Power, its influence pervades everywhere. The way the media and entertainment industry is reinventing itself and integrating with Global trends, the distinctive elements of culture are likely to be extinct. This technology-enabled phenomenon can hardly be thwarted.

Thus, increasingly, the assumptions sorrounding India are turning nebulous. As a nation now alert to occupiy its rightful place, the trajectory seems normal. But as an ancient civilization that must leverage its tryst with modernity to be the harbinger of a harmonious life upon the planet, the promise is not secure enough. That is a tall order and why should it at all be saddled with such an onerous responsibility is  a valid objection.

Indians share the same physiological existence with the rest of the species and are not entitled to any anatomical advantage. Neither geography offers any particular edge over the others. Besides India can't boast of any superior social, political, economic, or educational system. Thus, the claim of Indian exceptionalism sounds hollow and becomes suspect. [TNM]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Collective transformation

While on his campaign trail for the presidency, Barack Obama talked to no end about the "change" that would visit upon America, a change so profound, so sweeping, that it would "fundamentally transform" ...]

Transformation is a watchword within the teaching of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. It entails a constant aspiration for embracing change and mustering courage to replace the existing dispensation. Not only in personal longings but also in matters collective or political. [TNM] 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Carlson's complain

[Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s failure to follow through on their teachings Comment on Indian Nationalism, Pluralism and Sri Aurobindo by Richard Carlson by rc via Comments for Posthuman Destinies by rc on 4/03/11]

An amusing quip as Carlson fails to notice the contradiction. The Divine, obviously, is not compelled by a particular recipe of political correctness. [TNM]

Savitri Erans must unite under a single banner

[Political Islamism: dividing, dying Indian Express I was eager to talk to him because he had used my 1991 book, La Revanche de Dieu (“The Revenge of God”), in his famous article and subsequent volume,...]

Savitri Erans must unite under a single banner in order to present a credible face of the alternative that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have so laboriously fabricated. [TNM]