Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MNS bids Farewell to Peace in Mumbai

To unify people and country and take them to the road of construction calls on the likes of Leaders or Statesmen such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Patel, Mandela etc. The much easier route is to gather hooligans in the name of 'karyakartas' and vent out their angst on helpless people.

When society is divided into layers and subliminially pitted against each other, when urbanization challenges go out of control and when youngsters having wasted their years in doing anything but preparing themselves for a professional life, democracy throws an opportunity at a person who is hungrily looking for the seat of power no matter how it comes. Such conditionalities give birth to netas such as Raj Thackery.

Emerson stated that Power is as good as the person who wields it. In this case if we use converse reasoning- the use of power can somewhere hint at the character of the person who is actually weilding it today in the designation of Head of MNS.When the divisive tendencies in the country are giving way to violence by another similar brigade (Bajrang Dal) against Christians, by terrorists againts masses, communal riots etc, the need of the hour is to come out with political leaders with the metal and vision to unify the nation. Here we see a neta emerging who wants to create further lines. I really lament at the fact that people who take birth in families from where they command a natural source of power (irrespective of their own credentials) most of the times end up in being very mediocre or opportunist power hungry netas. Rarely have we experienced people from a certain family giving way to bring Statesmen.

The State continues to allow Raj his way as somewhere they understand that if this person is muzzled, it is likely that the ruling party's vote bank would also get a hit. There is a seperate political angle to it which can be best understood from this piece by Kumar Ketkar

If he wants to create a strong cadre of local youths who can really contribute towards a true 'Navnirman', the focus should be in helping them develop skills by which they can compete with any individual on the basis of merit. Only a naive can have an imagination that by making thousands of these people roam on the streets, breaking glasses, assaulting people would make them more employable or useful for the society? If the problem is that locals are not getting opportunities on account of people from outside coming in, then there are better measures to come to a robust solution.

Statues of Ganesha and Shivaji can be erected anywhere (Mayawati who is possessed by self love is her near cousin in this mission) but the real Divine Spirit which exists in all of us and is weakly represented by these external manifestations is getting silenced by these acts of a political group. The more he continues these acts, the more the society would be drawn towards jungle RAJ. All pomp and show of celebration of one's culture sound hollow if the fundamentals of love for the mankind is absent.

Our toothless and highly politicised judiciary will not be able to do much against him till they really introspect where all this can lead to. But I guess the damage has already been done. Not in terms of terrorizing others but removing the feeling of brotherliness from the heart of tens and thousands of people who are on the roads and probably lakhs of people who are silently providing their support. Enforceable laws have their own limitations. They can't change the thought process of lakhs of people. Can unenforceable laws of love be institutionalized in such situations? The worst sin that a man can do is to make a poor and vulnerable person feel that he is actually poor and that he is really vulnerable and helpless. And he has done exactly that.

When I was in my school, I remember witnessing skits with four kids dressed as Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian giving messages of unity of religion. But now, thanks to netas such as these there would be several roles that our children would have to enact in their schools to give out further such messages. It would not involve just 4 but maybe 20-30 or more depending upon say region,caste, creed etc etc.

But will it change anything? Though that appears to be our only hope.............

Monday, October 20, 2008

Views on 'Cinema'

I along with my wife have been visiting the Asian Film Festival since past few days and we treated ourselves with some amazingly sensitive movies.

The medium of cinema always fascinates me.

To talk about cinema, let me take a dig at the psychology of it as it seems to me. I feel that movies allow us to experience characters in reel life which we either may want to live, may not want to lead (like villains), would want to connect emotionally, physically relate to etc etc. When someone imitates an actor's dress, hairstyle, conversation style etc in effect they want to connect to him/her physically. The reason a movie like Rock On! catches onto youngsters is because somewhere they sense a hope in chasing their dreams. In this case, the personalities in the movie and also their mission is what the audience connects with.

Similarly we have a lot of people enjoying the character of the emerging revolutionary in Motorcycle Diaries or the role of Forrest Gump. We love these characters probably because they are special and we somewhere want to be like them deep within our subconscious level but rarely do we gather the courage to become like them. At times there are certain elements in certain characters that appeal to us and not the total self (which is very often the case i must say) and also we have to understand that in our limited lifetime, we can't lead multiple lives. But still to what extent we can stretch ourselves, is completely our personal call. I feel a lot of movies like Rang De Basanti, A Wednesday appeal to us simply because we somewhere try to identify our inner vaccums with what the character tries to portray over here. The loving character of Rajesh Khanna in the movie Anand where he constantly smiles despite knowing that his life is going to come to an end. I have not met a single person who was not touched by the character.

At other times it might just be a brilliant performance, script and direction that mesmerizes us.

This ability to connect to the audience in a way such that the audience finds himself/herself emotionally connected to a character can be one of the tests or challenge which the director might like to take up.

I guess this power of cinema to allow people to lead multiple lives (albeit in an imaginary mode) provides the logic of why it is such a popular genre of entertainment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Share and Grow

Wonderful example of how knowledge sharing between nations can help in solving key social issues.

Operation Flood being replicated in Africa

As the social sector grapples to solve the intricate challenges at the grassroot level, it would be worthwhile to understand how agencies can really crash the journey along the learning curve by sharing their knowhow and avoiding the pitfalls.

Where is the gap then?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Against compartmentalized Living

I find it strange as to why we all get into a tendency of narrowing our scope of learning or interest to just a few things. I have felt that people from a certain field tend to prevent themselves from understanding or knowing about other fields and feel comfortable i existing in pigeon holes of knowledge. Somewhere we forget to understand that all aspects of knowledge have been derived or must say have actually been extracted from facts, experiences and theories of what we see around us and the more we know about varied things, the better would be our relationship with the world at large.

For that matter why should some MBA working with a corporate agency be oblivious about political philosophy like tenets of democracy even though he is supposed to have the calibre of understanding it and even while he is not required to work towards it, he needs to know it if he is living in a democracy.

Or for that matter someone who is an artist can also try to dabble in the field of social entrepreneurship or science for that matter.

I am understanding this gradually that there is just no limit to our mind with respect to what all it can grasp and also how it can apply. Its our intellect through which we decide to lead narrow and constrained lives and that too completely at our loss and we don't even realize it.