Friday, May 07, 2010

Random thoughts from Mumbai

D.Dhanuraj

I was reading about life and its philosophy today morning. I wonder how beautiful this life is! (I am not the first person to say this J)What we do, what we learn, perceptions and imaginations........... a lot. Sometimes one may feel that this is a holistic nocturnal journey one is having on the earth. I happened to read about a person in Cochin who did a PhD about life before birth. It seems that he could say about what we were doing in the previous lives (if someone believes in it !). The perception about life varies from religion to religion but classics in every language and continent are same in the sense that they adore the beauty of life. Emotions and feelings at different ages are in sync with the evolution of the human race of different times. War and peace are images of the ugly and the beauty of life. Sometimes I wonder what makes a human being to get closer another fellow being. What prompts it to happen? Theories say there are many reasons; some may agree and sometimes, they come out with revelations. Some are blessed with the presence of so many around while some others are weary of their presence. Life turns an ugly turn when someone feels alone on this populous earth. What a nightmare it might be for them!! why so happens? Are they relativistic or realities? Life is moving fast for everyone. Systems and process have undergone virulent changes over the years. One has to think about the philosophy of Hartals when someone breaks into the privacy of another person. Privacy is not the same as what Gandhi thought in 1927. Your privacy ends up with some social networking websites today where you have a conflict within by posting a pseudo picture in your own gallery. Passenger next to you may not identify you but your tweets may be familiar to them. You post about meetings and relationships and then you register a case with the police alleging hacking by the intruders to your privacy. Over the centuries, many discussed about the three layers of conscious mind. Today they discuss about images of your social consciousness on social networks; whether it is about your night life or flamboyant life styles; the world is becoming flat nevertheless the concept of identity is getting lost to oblivion at the same time attacked by the state machinery.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Hartal and a street vendor

by D.Dhanuraj

Today morning, I was speaking to our vegetable vendor near my home. When I asked for the fresh pieces, he started discussing , yesterday’s strike. Knowing my interest in politics, he started asking; “are we living in a democratic country or not?” I was not sure what he was referring to. Then he showed me a basket of rotten tomatoes and mangoes. It was shocking site for me since he is a medium level vendor who makes a living out of that. When I asked him what had happened; he was so angry for the strike called yesterday. He had gone to Ernakulum market on Monday to buy vegetables and grocery to sell it on Tuesday. He was told that there was motor strike only. so he bought on a regular basis. Yesterday morning, when he opened the shop, he was asked to shut it by the local politicians who support the strike. He had no other way except accepting their muscle power.

He keep on narrating what happened to the nearby shops that include hotels, restaurants, grocery shops and so on. All of them had opened it in the morning but had to close as soon as the supporters of the strike barged into them. A restaurant was on business as usual in the morning but then they had to close and throw away food prepared for the day’s business. I remember a study which estimated Rs 700 crores loss per hartal in Kerala. I am not sure what is the loss yesterday but it will be more than what state has to pay for the increase in petroleum products. If the state is concerned about the price hike, then why does not government look at the tax structure? They say half of the price is attributed by the tax. I am also not sure why the protest marches head BSNL offices. BSNL is already in a crisis and whether they want to speed up the layoff proceedings? The vegetable vendor kept on saying his difficulties. interestingly, none of his remarks were against the government or the state policies as we believe most often, but were against the disgruntled and moderate political leaderships and their muscle power. When I was about the leave the shop, he again asked; “are we living in a democratic country or not?”

This time I answered; “ I don’t understand why the same political forces stop their print media (news paper) and television channel from working at least for a few hours as a mark of protest? I don’t understand why don’t they force to close the state Beverages corporation outlets?”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Random thoughts

Dhanuraj

One of the early lessons that I learnt in my geographical classes is the description of Malabar in different contexts; north of Shornur to erstwhile Madras Presidency. I always believed that from Shornur onwards to north of Kerala, the region has a rich culture, tradition and uniqueness. I wonder why Wayanad is still not discussed in a Malayali life unlike many other places of Kerala. Manathwady, Sultan Bathery, Vythiri, Kalpatta – it looks like a question how many cities we know in China? I could smell and stand up to clean water, air and environment in the last few days. Awesome we say !! I can’t even forget Malabar cuisines. What worries me is that this region is still backward in terms of accessibility and infrastructure. No wonder if any one criticises me for anti environmental writings; no it is not my intention but to say, there are opportunities to be explored in this part of the country. We don’t mention any of the towns mostly in our future Kerala discussion but at the same time, this region was the most connected one in renaissance period and produced many tall figures in the history of this country. It is like Kolkata has been ignored in our discussions related to future of India.

This region has a gold mine for history students. Last time when I visited, thanks to our friend, I had the opportunity to visit many mosques on the west cost of Malabar. When we went there, it was a very enriching experience of visiting the grit of yesteryears folklores and warriors. I visited many tombs of many local warriors who fought against the imperial tendencies. They are old and Persian script is seen on the top of the Khabar. Nearby I could see century old temples. It is the reflection of secular culture rooted in Malabar. Yesterday I visited a temple of a few hundred years. The serene surroundings around it takes you to the lineages of the civilization.

Random thoughts

Dhanuraj


It has been an exciting experience for me to spend some time with tribal group and share their thought processes. We were taken to a visit ADIYAR group 5 km from Kerala – Karnataka boarder. Though it was a live demonstration of how community radio works in the tribal areas, my attention was with the plight of Adivaasis. I do blame myself to use the word Adivaasis as I believe in the cultural and social connotation this word entails. Years after years, they are living in utter penury and dilapidated conditions. One of the striking story shared was all the tribal households are marked as APL category when the new ration cards are issued in late last year. Though I don’t believe in the PDS, I find them the real time consumers and the most needy community. Unfortunately that is where they are deceived by the government machinery. They had lands and now they are taken over by others, they had Non timber forest products and now none, BPL cards are reissued as APL cards.. the story is never ending. I was asked to give my comments at the end to air it on the community radio; ‘I blame ourselves for their plight; it is hard to believe that such people are fighting for their lives in God’s own country’. They have exciting traditional songs and themes but knowledge how on Ayurveda and related. But the state exploits them through various ways; I was shown a community cultural centre built by government. It was a project of 1.5 lakhs but I can see that they are fooled for at least 1 lakhs gone to some one’s kitty. I don’t think the present system can any way help them. We need to innovative answers to improve their living conditions. I was awestruck when I saw a DTH connection in that society. I am sure if the Government had distributed that gadget, it would not have reached them so quickly as they have today. Why can’t the State build DTH like platforms to transfer cash or food articles so that the leakage can be removed..there are not many schools and most of the children are drop outs. Why can’t they give scholarships and allow them to study with children outside their community? Why can’t we have private property as a fundamental right? In a state where the left movements are of great penetration, I don’t understand why this community going from worse to worst....

I do enjoyed Gheer they prepared. It was so tasty and I wished we could have helped them. I was reminded of my previous visits to tribal areas, fisher men communities and beggar communities during 2005 to 2007 at different parts of this country. Most of the times I had dined with them. Still, I do consider their food was tastier than the food I had from the most flashy seven star hotels in this country. I don’t believe in middle class family complaints of ‘tribe lose their culture if they become upwardly mobile’; what else they can lose? that is the only solution to these perennial problems; capacitate them for that upward mobility as we all engross in today..

Random thoughts

D.Dhanuraj

One of the early lessons that I learnt in my geographical classes is the description of Malabar in different contexts; north of Shornur to erstwhile Madras Presidency. I always believed that from Shornur onwards to north of Kerala, the region has a rich culture, tradition and uniqueness. I wonder why Wayanad is still not discussed in a Malayali life unlike many other places of Kerala. Manathwady, Sultan Bathery, Vythiri, Kalpatta – it looks like a question how many cities we know in China? I could smell and stand up to clean water, air and environment in the last few days. Awesome we say !! I can’t even forget Malabar cuisines. What worries me is that this region is still backward in terms of accessibility and infrastructure. No wonder if any one criticises me for anti environmental writings; no it is not my intention but to say, there are opportunities to be explored in this part of the country. We don’t mention any of the towns mostly in our future Kerala discussion but at the same time, this region was the most connected one in renaissance period and produced many tall figures in the history of this country. It is like Kolkata has been ignored in our discussions related to future of India.

This region has a gold mine for history students. Last time when I visited, thanks to our friend, I had the opportunity to visit many mosques on the west cost of Malabar. When we went there, it was a very enriching experience of visiting the grit of yesteryears folklores and warriors. I visited many tombs of many local warriors who fought against the imperial tendencies. They are old and Persian script is seen on the top of the Khabar. Nearby I could see century old temples. It is the reflection of secular culture rooted in Malabar. Yesterday I visited a temple of a few hundred years. The serene surroundings around it takes you to the lineages of the civilization.