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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Stories -the design and development


           Not only economic growth story for that matter every story can be defined narrowly                    through 10 Ps and they are influenced or impacted by three Ps.


                   The ten Ps are:-

1.    Plot,

2.    Personalities [characters],


3.    Place [ context, situation, settings etc],

4.    Philosophy [ the main theme or idea or concept that story tries to relate to /reveal to us] ,


5.    Phrases [ the words, expressions and language used to communicate these],

6.    Pertinent theme/topic [ projection of ideas/thoughts etc through a theme],


7.    Projection of symbol [symbolically project something to ensure that the very symbol rings a bell in the mind about everything discussed above – for example Krishna on Chariot],

8.    Predominant genre [classification according to domain of  activity either based on human feelings/emotions or social/environmental/religious/ cultural concerns traditionally sometimes classified as comedy, romance, fiction, science, motivational etc],


9.    Providing imagination [ blank reality or blunt facts are boring after sometime so spice it up with imagination which manifests either artistically or as master pieces of confirmation bias or tools to perpetuate certain prejudices],

10. Positioning of power as perceived [ as victor/winner/achiever etc in terms of personality or victory of a way of life/philosophy/idea etc]

  The three Ps that influence or impact or by which everything is  influenced or impacted are:-

Perception,

Proper evaluation and

Projection of  pertinent Data and if necessary we can introduce the fourth P i.e

Pinpointing the target 

We shall see how these must preferably operate in any domain more so in analyzing economic growth story.

Perception

Our perception by itself is feeble because of certain inherent but inevitable aspects of our mental abilities and approaches.


It is not often our perception but the scale of observation and frames of reference which create the phenomenon. The scale of observation depends on man; it is he who creates it. In nature, different scales of observation do not exist. There is only one immense, harmonious phenomenon on a scale which, in general, escapes man. The structure of man's brain necessitates dividing into arbitrary compartments and cutting up into isolated pieces. With the aid of several instruments science creates more phantasmagoria: "on our scale of human observation, as pointed out before, the edge of a razor-blade is a continuous line. On the microscopic scale, it is a broken but solid line. On the chemic scale we have atoms of iron and carbon. On the sub-atomic scale we have electrons in perpetual motion which travel at the rate of several thousand miles per second. All these phenomena are in reality the manifestations of the same basic phenomenon, the motions of the electrons. The only difference which exists between them is the scale of observation" [Human Destiny, Lecomte du Nuoy- a marvelous book that everyone must read – if I remember correctly this comes in 34th page.

Besides we have the option of further spoiling our comprehension of anything by irrelevant methods of evaluations coupled with our presumptions and prejudices

Proper Evaluation

Milton Friedman said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their [ presumed-italics mine]  intentions rather than their results”.

A very important element or aspect of any evaluation especially in the realm of art is quality. Even in social/political and economic development oriented activities Jane Davidson explains, “how important it is to combine a mix of qualitative and quantitative data with "relevant values" (such as needs) to draw explicitly evaluative conclusions” in his book ‘Evaluation Methodology Basics: The Nuts and Bolts of Sound Evaluation’. 

That’s why even great research works on evaluation like the bulky  ‘Evaluation: A Systematic Approach‘ by Peter H. Rossi, Mark W. Lipsey, and Howard E. Freeman first published  get such reviews like ‘There is never any clear instruction about how one should begin an evaluation or how one should proceed’.


The most comprehensive book on evaluations ‘ Making Evaluation Matter-a practical guide for evaluators’ by Cecile Kusters with Simone van Vugt, Seerp Wigboldus, Bob Williams and Jim Woodhill also emphasizes certain factors repeatedly and predominantly they are context/situation, situational responsiveness, stake holders, inherent qualities of the project /program/person being evaluated ,multiple roles, consequence awareness etc


Even this material also throws lot of light on evaluation ‘American Journal of Evaluation-2011-Smith-565-99.pdf’.

In the realm of political decisions and business organizational management methodology etc these types of game play matter, but not in evaluating art, as Messick, S. (1994). Writes in The Interplay of Evidence and Consequences in the Validation of Performance Assessments. Educational Researcher, 23(2), 13–23, “Validity, reliability, comparability, and fairness are not just measurement issues, but social values that have meaning and force outside of measurement wherever evaluative judgments and decisions are made”.


Projection of  pertinent Data- its analysis, usage and interpretation
Data in various forms and formats though is available aplenty we can spoil it through how we interpret it or selectively twist and apply it out of context.

Data is a very vital and extremely useful tool for many purposes; I repeat many purposes because it gets its strength from its contributory utility. These trends of worshiping data are all the result of conclusions arrived at due to the ecstasy of revelations of research into reverse engineering.


Tweaking anything and everything to create something new or come out with some modified version of some existing thing is both interesting and easiest way to unleash the human creative instinct and also draw certain conclusions, but all these have a saturation point.
Even in natural evolution certain designs are adopted others discarded based on the adaptive utility of a particular organ at a particular place and period.


While a large volume of data can throw up lot of ideas it cannot interpret or suggest proper utilization of those ideas.


While a large volume of data can throw up lot of thoughts it cannot do the thinking beyond a certain extent and besides a specified path of predefined command.


While a large volume of data can throw up lot of knowledge/information inputs it cannot initiate or ensure to neither enhance understanding nor can even restrict frames of reference for understanding.

While a large volume of data can throw up lot of insights into the working patterns based on permutations it cannot provide the wisdom to choose that comes with churning that life undergoes chronologically in the form of experience.

while judging and  exploring the facts we must desist getting distracted from the following major traps:-

1] Mutilating the facts,

2] Analyzing them with preconceived notions or prejudices,

3] Generalizing the particular and particularizing the general,

4] Approaching facts with unloving criticism or uncritical love,

5] Evaluating facts with our pet isms or philosophies,

6] Resorting to statistical justifications,

7] Unleashing unworkable utopia,

8] Mask them with logical fallacies,

9] Bury them in pleasant jargons, and

10] Give historical justifications.

Mark Twain has said, “First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure”.[ here they do it fit their preconceptions] and armed with these selective, filtered and twisted facts they do what Maya Angelou perceived and stated, “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth”.

“Everything changes as you move through three stages of awareness:
first, that beliefs are the result of conditions;
second, that beliefs are the cause of conditions;
and third, that beliefs are themselves conditions.”
― Eric Micha'el Leventhal

I always maintain evaluation must be contextually relevant, based on intrinsic merit or inherent attributes of whatever or whomsoever that you are evaluating.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Confused Hindu : Victim of Macaulayism by Sita Ram Goel

The Confused Hindu : Victim of Macaulayism by Sita Ram Goel

The term derives from Thomas Babington Macaulay, a member of the Governor General’s Council in the 1830s. Earlier, the British Government of India had completed a survey of the indigenous system of education in the Presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras. A debate was going on whether the indigenous system should be retained or a new system introduced. Macaulay was the chief advocate of a new system. This, he, expected, will produce a class of Indians brown of skin but English in taste and temperament. The expectation has been more than fulfilled.

There is a widerspread impression among “educated” classes in India that this country had no worthwhile system of education before the advent of the British. The great universities like those at Takshashilã, Nãlandã, Vikramashîla and Udantapurî had disappeared during Muslim invasions and rule. What remained, we are told, were some pãthashãlãs in which a rudimentary instruction in arithmetic, and reading and writing was imparted by semi-educated teachers, mostly to the children of the upper castes, particularly the Brahmins. But the impression is not supported by known and verifiable facts.

Speaking before a select audience at Chatham House, London, on October 20, 1931, Mahatma Gandhi had said: “I say without fear of my figures being successfully challenged that India today is more illiterate than it was before a fifty or hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root and left the root like that and the beautiful tree perished.”

What the Mahatma had stated negatively, that is, in terms of illiteracy was documented positively, that is, in terms of literacy by a number of Indian scholars, notably Sri Daulat Ram, in the debate which followed the Mahatma’s statement, with Sir Philip Hartog, an eminent British educationist, on the other side. Now Shri Dharampal who compiled Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century: Some Contemporary European Accounts in 1971 has completed a book on the state of indigenous education in India on the eve of the British conquest.

Shri Dharampal has documented from old British archives, particularly those in Madras, that the indigenous system of education compared more than favourably with the system obtaining in England at about the same time. The Indian system was admittedly in a state of decay when it was surveyed by the British Collectors in Bengal, Bombay and Madras. Yet, as the data brought up by them proved conclusively, the Indian system was better than the English in terms of
1.      the number of schools and colleges proportionately to the population,
2.     the number of students attending these institutions,
3.     the duration of time spent in school by the students,
4.     the quality of teachers,
5.     the diligence as well as intelligence of the students,
6.     the financial support needed to see the students through school and college,
7.      the high percentage of lower class (Sudra and other castes) students attending these schools as compared to the upper class (Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya) students, and
8.     in terms of subjects taught.
This indigenous system was discarded and left to die out by the British not because its educational capacity was inferior but because it was not thought fit for serving the purpose they had in mind. The purpose was, first, to introduce the same system of administration in India as was obtaining in England at that time. The English system was highly centralised, geared towards maximisation of state revenues, manned by “gentlemen” who despised the “lower classes” and were, therefore, ruthless in suppression of any mass discontent. Secondly, the new system of education aimed at promoting and patronising a new Indian upper class who, in turn, would hail the blessings of British Raj and cooperate in securing its stability in India. The indigenous system of education was capable neither of training such administrators nor of raising such a social elite, not at home anywhere.

The system of education introduced by the British performed more or less as Macaulay had anticipated. Hindus like Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Swami Vivekananda, Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahamanã Malaviya, Veer Savarkar, Sri M.S. Golwalker, to name only the most notable amongst those who escaped its magic spell and rediscovered their roots, were great souls, strong enough to survive the heavy dose of a deliberate denationalisation. For the rest, it has eminently succeeded in sweeping an ancient and highly cultured people off its feet. Macaulay does deserve the honour of a whole ‘ism’ of which we have not seen the last yet.
It is not easy to define the doctrine of Macaulayism in as authentic terms as we could do in the case of Islamism and Christianism. Doctrinally, Macaulayism is quite diffused. It does not swear by a historical prophet whom it proclaims as the latest as well as the last and the best. It does not bestow a monopoly of truth and wisdom on a single book. It does not lay down a single code of conduct distilled from the doings of a prophet or the sacerdotal tradition of a church.
Nor is Macaulayism malevolent like Islamism or mischievous like Christianism. It is rather mild and well-meaning, more like an imperceptible breeze which blows in silently, fins up the psychological atmosphere, creates a mental mood, inspires an intellectual attitude, and finally settles down as a cultural climate-pervasive, protean and ubiquitous
Unlike Islamism and Christianism, Macaulayism does not employ any meticulously matured methods to propagate or proliferate itself. It is not out to use a specified section of Indian society as a vehicle of its virulence. It is not a potent potion like Islamism which destroys the body of a culture in one fell sweep. It is not subtle like Christianism which subverts a society surreptitiously. But at the same time, it is a creeping toxaemia which corrodes the soul of a culture and corrupts a social system in slow stages. And its target is every section of Indian society.

Yet, as we survey the spread of its spell over Hindu society, particularly Hindu intelligentsia, we can spot some of its paralysing processes. The most prominent are the following five:
1.      A sceptical, if not negative, attitude towards Hindu spirituality, cultural creations and social institutions with solemn airs of scholarship and superior knowledge. Nothing in Hindu India, past or present, is to be approved unless recognised and recommended by an appropriate authority in the West;
2.     A positive, if not worshipful, attitude towards everything in Western society and culture, past as well present, in the name of progress, reason and science. Nothing from the West is to be rejected unless it has first been weighed and found wanting by a Western evaluation;
3.     An intellectual inclination to compare Hindu ideals and institutions from the past not with their contemporaneous ideals and institutions in the West but with what the West has achieved in its recent history-the 19th and the 20th Centuries;
4.     A mental mood to judge the West in terms of the ideals and utopias it proclaims from time to time, while judging the Hindus with an all too supercilious reference to what prevails in Hindu society and culture at the present time when the Hindus have hardly emerged from a long period of struggle against foreign invasions;
5.     A psychological propensity to scrutinise, interpret and evaluate Hindu culture, history, society and spirituality with the help of concepts and tools of analysis evolved by Western scholarship. It is never granted that the Hindus too have well-developed concepts and tools of analysis, derived from their own philosophical foundations, that it would be more profitable to use these concepts and tools of analysis for a proper understanding of the Hindu heritage, and that it is less than fair to employ alien and incompatible methods of evaluation while judging this heritage. If the Hindus use their own concepts and tools of analysis to process and weigh the Western heritage, our Macaulayists always throw up their hands and denounce the exercise as unscientific and irrelevant to the universe of discourse.
The intellectual and cultural fashions and fads of our Macaulayists change as freely and frequently as the intellectual and cultural climate in the West. Now it is English Utilitarianism, now German Idealism, now Russian Nihilism, now French Positivism or Existentialism, now American Consumerism-whatever be the dominant trend in the West, it immediately finds its flock among the educated Hindus. But one thing remains constant. The platform must first be prepared in the West before it could or should find an audience in India.

And this process of approving, rejecting, judging and justifying which Macaulayism promotes among its Hindu protagonists does not remain a mere mental mood or an intellectual inclination or a psychological propensity, that is to say, a subjective stance on men and matters. It inevitably and very soon expresses itself in a whole life-style which goes on rejecting and replacing Hindu mores and manners indiscriminately in favour of those which the West recommends as the latest and the best. The land from which the new styles of life are imported may be England as upto the end of the Second World War or the United States of America as ever since. But it must always be ensured that the land is located somewhere in the Western hemisphere. “Phoren” is always fine.
The models which are thus imported from the West in ever increasing numbers need not have any relevance to the concrete conditions obtaining in India such as her geography, climate, economic resources, technological talent, administrative ability, etc. If the imported model fails to flourish on the Indian soil and in India’s socio-economico-cultural conditions, these must be beaten and forced into as much of a receptive shape as possible, if need be by a ruthless use of state power. But if the receptacle remains imperfect even after all these efforts, let the finished product reflect that imperfection. A model imported from the West and implanted on Indian soil even in half or a quarter is always preferable to any indigenous design evolved in keeping with native needs and adapted to local conditions.

Starting from the secular and socialist state and planned economy, travelling through a casteless society and scientific culture, and arriving at day-to-day consumption in Hindu homes, we witness the same servile scenario unfolding itself in an endless endeavour. Our parliamentary institutions, our public and private enterprises, our infrastructure of power and transport, our medicine, public health and housing, our education and entertainment, our dress, food, furniture, crockery, table manners, even the way we gesticulate, grin and smile have to be carbon copies of what they are currently doing in the West.

Drain-pipes, bell-bottoms, long hair, drooping moustaches; girls dressed up in jeans; parents being addressed as mom and pa and mummy and daddy; demand for convent schooling in matrimonial ads: and natives speaking their mother tongues in affected accents after the English civilian who was helpless to do otherwise-these are perhaps small and insignificant details which would not have mattered if the Hindus had retained pride in the more substantial segments of their cultural heritage. But in the current context of kowtowing before the West, they are painful portents of a whole culture being forced to feel inferior and go down the drain.

The Hindu may sometimes need to feel some pride in his ancestral heritage, particularly when he wants to overcome his sense of inferiority in the presence of visitors from the West. Macaulayism will gladly permit him that privilege, provided Kãlidãsa is admired as the Shakespeare of India and Samudragupta certified as India’s Napoleon. The Hindu is permitted to take pride in that piece of native literature which some Western critic has lauded. Of course, the Hindu should read it in its English translation. He is also permitted to praise those specimens of Hindu architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance and drama which some connoisseurs from the West have patronised, preferable in an exhibition or performance before a Western audience. But he is not permitted to do this praising and pride-taking in a native language nor in an English which does not have the accepted accent.

The Hindu who is thus addicted to Macaulayism lives in a world of his own which has hardly any contact with the traditional Hindu society. He looks forward to the day when India will become a society like societies in the West where the rate of growth, the gross national product and the standard of living are the only criteria of progress. He is tolerant towards religion to the extent that it remains a matter of private indulgence and does not interfere with the smooth unfoldment of the socio-political scene. Personally for him, religion is irrelevant, though some of its rituals and festivities can occasionally add some colour to life.  For the rest, religion is so much obscurantism, primitive superstition and, in the Indian context at present, a creator of communal riots.

It should not, therefore, be surprising if this self-forgetful, self-alienated Hindu who often suffers from an incurable anti-Hindu animus a la Nirad Chaudhry, turns his back upon Hindu society and culture and becomes indifferent to their fate. He cannot help having not much patience with the traditional Hindu who is still attached to his spiritual tradition, who flocks to hallowed places of pilgrimage, who celebrates his festivals with solemnity, who regulates his daily life with rituals and sacraments, and who honours his forefathers, particularly the old saints, sages and heroes. He also cannot help being indulgent towards those who are hostile to the traditional Hindu and who heap contempt and ridicule on him, no matter to what community or faith they belong, though he may not share their own variety of religious or ideological fanaticism.

The traditional Hindu, on the other hand, wants to live in peace and amity with all his compatriots. He is normally very tolerant towards his Muslim and Christian countrymen, and gladly grants them the right to their own way of worship. He goes further and quite often upholds Muslim and Christian religions as good as his own. He shows all due respect to Muslim and Christian prophets, scriptures and saints. He does not try to prevent anyone from freely discussing, dissecting, even ridiculing his religion and culture. He never mobilises murderous mobs against those Hindus who do not share his convictions about his ancestral heritage. He turns a blind eye to his Gods and Goddesses being turned into cheap models in calendars and commercial advertisements. Nor does he go out converting people of other faiths to his own.

The traditional Hindu, however, does get stirred when the Muslims and Christians cross the limits and threaten the unity and integrity of his country. He does want to retain his majority in his only homeland against Muslim and Christian attempts to reduce him to a minority by fraudulent mass conversions. He does believe that Hindu society and culture have a right to survive and put up some defence in exercise of that right. But the Hindu addict of Macaulayism stubbornly refuses to concede that right to Hindu society and culture. He cannot see the need for defence because he cannot see the danger. And he has many strings to his bow to run down the Hindu who dares defy his diktat. His attitude can by summarised as follows:
1.      To start with, he refuses to recognise any danger to Hindu society and culture even when irrefutable facts are placed under his nose. He accuses and denounces as alarmists, communalists, chauvinists and fascists all those who give a call for self-defence to the Hindus. Better, he explains away the aggression from other faiths in terms of the aggression which “Hindu communalism” has committed in the first instance;
2.     Next, he paints a pitiful picture of the aggressor as a poor, deprived and down-trodden minority whom the Hindus refuse to recognise as equal citizens, constitutionally entitled to a just share in the national cake;
3.     At a later stage, he assumes sanctimonious airs and assigns to the Hindus an inescapable moral responsibility to rescue their less privileged brethren from the plight into which the Hindus have pressed them. In any case, the Hindus stand to lose nothing substantial if they make some generous gestures to their younger brethren even if the latter are slightly in the wrong;
4.     In the next round, he harangues the Hindus that any danger to them, if really real and worth worrying about, arises not from an external aggression against them but from the injustice and oppression in their own social system which drives away its less privileged sections towards other social systems based on better premises and promises. Does not Islam promise an equality of social status because of its great ideal of the brotherhood of men? Does not Christianity present an example of dedicated social service a la Mother Teresa?
5.     If the Hindus are not convinced by all these arguments and become bent upon organising some sort of a self-defence, he comes out with a fool-proof formula for that eventuality as well. The Hindus are advised to put their own house in order which, in his opinion, is the best defence they can put up. They should immediately abolish the caste system, start inter-dining and inter-marrying between the upper and lower castes, particularly the Harijans, and so on and so forth. It never occurs to him that social reform is a slow process which takes time to mature and that in the meanwhile a society is entitled to self-defence in the interests of its sheer survival;
6.     If the Hindus still remain adamant, he tries his last and best ballistics upon them. He suddenly puts on a spiritual mask and lovingly appeals to the Hindus in the name of their long tradition of religious tolerance. How can the followers of Gautama and Gandhi descend to the same level as Islam and Christianity which have never known religious tolerance? The Hindus would cease to be Hindus if they also start behaving like followers of the Semitic faiths which have been conditioned differently due to historical circumstances of their birth. But he never dares put in one single word of advice to the followers of Islamism and Christianism to desist from always having it their own way. He knows it in his bones that such an advice will immediately bring upon his head the same abusive accusations which Islamism and Christianism hurl at the Hindus. This is the outcome which he dreads worse than death. He cannot risk his reputation of being secular and progressive which Islamism and Christianism confer upon him only so long as he defends their tirades against the Hindus.
But the stance which suits Macaulayism best is to sit on the fences and call a plague on both houses. The search for fairness and justice is somehow always too strenuous for a follower of Macaulayism. The one thing he loathes from the bottom of his heart is taking sides in a dispute, even if he is privately convinced as to who is the aggressor and who the victim of aggression. He views the battle as a disinterested outsider and finds it somewhat entertaining. The reports and reviews which some of our eminent journalists have filed in the daily and the periodical press about happenings in Meenakshipuram and other places where Islamism is again on the prowl, leaves an unmistakable impression that these gentlemen are not members of Hindu society but visitors from some outer space on a temporary sojourn to witness a breed of lesser beings fighting about Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

An adherent of Macaulayism can well afford to take this neutral, even hostile stance, away from and above Hindu society, its problems and its struggles, because, in the last analysis, he no more regards Hindu society as his own or as his indispensable benefactor. He has already managed to monopolise most of the political and administrative power in this country and the best jobs in business and the professions. He has secured a stranglehold on the most prestigious publicity media. The political upstarts and the neo-rich look up to him as their paragon and try to mould their sons and daughters in his image.

But what is uppermost in his mind, if not his conscious calculation, is the plenty of patrons, protectors and pay-masters he has in the West, particularly the United States of America. The scholars and social scientists over there in the progressive West approve and applaud whenever he pontificates about India’s socio-economico-cultural malaise and prescribes the proper occidental cures. They invite him to international seminars and on well-paid lecture tours to enlighten Western audiences about the true state of things in this “unfortunate” country and the rest of the “under-developed” world. He can travel extensively in the West with all expenses paid on a lavish scale. Even in this country he alone is entitled to move and establish the right contacts in social circles frequented by the powerful and the prestigious from the West.

And, God forbid, if the worst comes to the worst and the “fanatics like the RSS fascists” or the Muslim fundamentalists or the Communist totalitarians take over this country, he can always find a safe refuge in one Western country or the other. There are plenty of places which can use his talents to mutual profit. The salaries they pay and the expense accounts they allow are quite attractive. The level of living with all those latest gadgets is simply lovable. In any case, he has all those sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, cousins and close relatives ensconsed in all those cushy jobs over there-the UN agencies, the fabulous foundations, the business corporations, the universities and research institutions.

So, Hindu society with all its hullabaloo of religion and culture be damned. This society, and not he, stands to lose if he is not permitted to work out his plans for progress in peace. In any case, this society cannot pay even for his shoes getting polished properly.

..

Media and left

I am happy that the media mafia menace reaching a saturation point, I mean that they along with Cong and the leftover Indian Left will disappear from public attention.                  

 Actually these peddlers of poverty and illiteracy have ensured to keep poverty intact. Yes a sickening and outdated ideology to be kept in the attic of a museum of fossil genetic samples but it unfortunately permeates into political discussions. 

While polarity principle is inherent in all spheres of life, some people can never get rid of the old scripts as those types of stereotypical sloganeering get sensational attention, mostly in political and religious domains, namely the slogans on the victim hood versus victor, the poor versus rich, the have versus have-nots, the hero-villain etc.

They magnify and mutilate to present the polarity as a difference injected to inflict specific sufferings depending on the targets they want to choose and the result they want to achieve. That's why poverty is a very rich business and victim hood portrayal is lucrative ideology.                    



Monday, August 31, 2015

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is an embodiment of unique brand of humanitarianism.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is an embodiment of unique brand of humanitarianism.

Everybody who is somebody has said something about A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for various reasons. So, let us move away from his bio-data and biographical sketches, as they have been well documented by many.

Normally people of extremes grab the attention of biographers, i.e. those who deserve to be vilified or venerated. It is so because of the impact that they create, through instigation or inspiration, with their ability, dexterity, utility etc.

We normally classify all of these under one broad banner as contribution to humanity for our convenience because we do not know and also do not want to take the trouble of learning the art of unbiased appreciation of activities, attributes in terms contextual relevance.

He neither perceived life through the prism of prejudices nor did he comprehend life through the confines of confirmation bias base on any specific ideology be it religious, cultural, social, political, academically anointed isms, national, scientific hypothesis etc but carried on life with a love of life in its completeness with carefree abandon of childlike inquisitiveness, natural humility, unqualified inhibition-free love to learn and share what he learnt with all.


I am cautiously refraining from giving any credits to any of his actions like what he shared was useful or worthy etc because there are several reasons. One we are in a nation imbued with unloving critics and uncritical lovers; people susceptible to be easily emotionally surcharged, all the more surprisingly, because he was not alienated or isolated from or away from any of the big whirlpools of identity mentioned above [namely religions, political ideologies, socio –cultural bias etc] that engulf ordinary mortals or at least entrenches them with its dampness.

He was in the midst of both tall statesmen like political leaders and small political manipulators, in short had to be in the thick of politics but never overtly showed any political affinity not made any political statement.

His cultural interests were influenced initially as they ought to be by regional socio- cultural milieu, religion in which one is born into and the religions that one sees practiced around etc but as he matured with unbiased appreciation and inhibition-free inquisitiveness coupled with  his incisive mind and open heart made his cultural interests to be impacted by aesthetic sensitive in tune with his inherent attributes of  sense of balance and calm disposition that he ventured into learning a lot of  things from other religious texts, various forms of Indian classical music, literatures of different genres and of many languages etc.

Despite all great strides that he has made in the field of science he was never a prey to any fanatical academic fixation preaching that some particular scientific approach as the panacea for all of India’s short comings.


The hall mark of his greatness was his ability to maintain a sense of balance in the midst of all trails starting from the pangs of hunger and poverty to the dealing with delicate obligations of tackling perversions of political world.

By birth, name, charitable disposition, untiring hard working instincts and focused sincerity of devotion and courage of conviction he is a Muslim; by academic qualifications he is a scientist; by  the topmost post he held he is one among the great  Presidents of India; by profession and passion he is a teacher; by some of the things he liked and practiced he is a greater Hindu than most Hindus are, especially his not unduly bothering about the results nor claiming credit for any great result and not bothering about any material possession- a great manifestation of detachment to the fruits of karma as preached in Hinduism; a greater Christian than most Christians are ; by cherishing with pride the greatness of India’s rich heritage and living it by practicing in his day to day life he is a greater nationalist than any of those mere real-estate-expansion venerating patriots or publicity peddlers singing refrain of India’s past glory; his foresight in terms of economic advancement of the nation is commendable because it was not influenced by any imported theories of  economic development but was purely based on our nation’s strengths and requirements- strength are its demography of  youth and vast natural resources and requirements are creating enough opportunities for their education, developing scientific temperament and development of rural life with availability of certain basic vital resources like water, electricity etc. But by the way he lived his life, inspired [especially young children and youth] and loved everyone to live it that way and enjoy life in its fullness and share it with all, he is a highly qualified, sensible, humble and simple humanitarian above all.




His humanitarianism was not one propelled by any blind faith nor any institutionalized publicity posturing nor any NGO funded exhibition but born out of real sensible concern for life in general and the welfare of the great nation which has given him and offers to all sincere souls such unique opportunities. This made him use his discretion and not discrimination for any consideration. He carried on his activities with very high caliber, clarity of thinking, contextual relevance. He did not succumb to sanctions, sermons or diplomatic wheedling. He did not shower any undue favor to anyone on any basis or refuse to help any deserving soul.


He was preaching peace with scientifically enhanced strength through our nuclear power, harboring harmony, spreading happiness, hosting honesty and humble humanitarianism based on care and compassion for other human beings beyond restraints of religions and the constraints communal divisions, of course with recognition and respect for the higher or superior or invisible divine power with the necessity to take care of the economic, material and environmental welfare of the society at large.


He was an example of a person with unique aesthetic sensitivity, scientific temperament who presented a more polished psychology of human personality; chemistry of human rhythm which moves the inner self in perfect  harmony with the outer world because such souls do not take a stand and stand put there forever; but understand the importance of contextual relevance to effect the necessary changes; these attributes anoint an attitude wherein it creates a physics of gravitational force of love and supplies a sociology of inter-human contours and proper perception of philosophy of life.

Serendipity is an invisible angel who favors this great nation, against all odds, listening to concerned minds through clairaudience and cares for the silent pleadings of the collective consciousness of the nation and invariably sends souls to it in suitable situations or to create suitable situations. So it was no surprise that A.P.J. Abdul Kalam chose and was chosen by groups/people with mutual understanding and good intentions of the nation above everything else.



I made a twitter slide after his demise, not with a photo with him, but the following message which I thought needed no elaboration. However, as I have been asked to write a short biographical sketch I decided to write what all needed to be etched from his life in our hearts. I am sharing the script of that twitter slide more to make people learn the art of appreciating the appropriate greatness of great souls with  appropriate frames of reference- a useful link to one such essay of appreciation is given in the end.

Script of my twitter slide below sums it all.





Laughter






There is a vast scientific literature out there on the health benefits of laughter,why we laugh and the neurological processes of laughter etc.




This writing is not meant to pander to confirmation bias. So, we shall as
ordinary human beings with humility, not like the academic struggling to
explain by squeezing jargons as to why we laugh, observe what makes us
laugh.


If we observe, the consciously aware human species likes or is subjected to too
much of two behavior patterns, the inevitable polarity principle, one is
repetition/routine/normal /expected activities and another is
anomaly/abnormality/unexpected/ unusual activity/actions/ any deviation
from the normal/usual way . Let us not get into their relative merits or
demerits.



These two behavior patterns, for the sake of brevity and convenience we shall
classify them as repetition and anomaly. They predominantly pervade our
lives on:-




1. Physical plane [inevitable/pleasant repetitive actions we perform] when there
is some deviation/contortion/uneasiness/uncouthness in performing such
physical activities they trigger, as anomaly, humorous feeling and we burst
into spontaneous peals of laughter. These are portrayed as visual humor that
appeal to all very easily and many great films, plays and circuses use these
effectively.




2. Mental plane – this includes a wider area like language based communications, emotional interactions, socio-cultural exchanges [most of which we carry on repetitively either with seriousness or out of habit or necessity or hypocrisy or to fit into our scheme of confirmation bias] when there is a manipulated /mutilated usage of language, perverted or surprising twist in emotional expression or unexpected socio-cultural exchange etc again they evoke laughter because we encounter some anomaly away from expected/repetitive behavior.


If we observe closely all actions, reactions, situations etc which have caused us to laugh we would notice this.

Most emotions, actions, reactions, thoughts etc manifest in varying degrees of intensity two vital emotions Love and Fear;


Similarly, most behavior patterns are manifestations of either Repetition or Anomaly.
As various manifestations of fear are negative and the emotion of love provides the much needed anodyne.


Repetitions and routines on the one side keep us in our comfort zone and pamper us in our status quo addiction and also help many rituals, rules, healthy routines and traditions to be retained and replayed with rejuvenated celebrations. These very same repetitions on the other side bore us, burden us or by their sheer familiarity or seriousness do not instill any great enthusiasm nor create any great impact so we go about them very mechanically.


Whereas, when we encounter any anomaly or abnormality it attracts our attention and has a greater impact. In a way, laughter is a spontaneous acknowledgment of happy feeling created by unexpected, new, unusual, abnormal, exaggerated manifestation of actions/speech/expressions/usage of language/picture etc.



However, not being the rule laughter is the most important side dish to the main menu of monotonous life. I purposely say it is a side dish because it is a surface phenomenon/manifestation/ outward reaction of some feeling felt deeply inward.



Though there are many new trends like laugh your way to health, laughter the best medicine etc. If we observe without bias laughter has often been associated more with things which were considered frivolous, negative and/or weak.



Guy Murchie in his The Seven Mysteries Of Life writes, “Although laughter is widely accepted as the supreme outward expression of human pleasure, a little thoughtful research shows it can just as often be the surface manifestation of escape from a hidden conflict. Or, as Freud explained it, the humor that sets us laughing is a benign device for mastering our forbidden urges. And a modern psychologist might nod and say, "Indeed: like a cork on a bottle of potentbrew."…. “And no less delusory, if a lot grimmer, is the weird disease called kuru or "laughing sickness," whose obvious symptom is anything but a laughing matter, for it has been found only among members of the obscure Fore tribe in eastern New Guinea where, to those who catch it and laugh, it is 100 percent fatal”… “There is even a spot in the septal area of the brain called the pleasure center, where, if delicate electrodes are implanted and just the right electric current applied, the delightful satisfaction imparted (according to one estimate) is "greater than the satiation potentials of all other known appetites combined."




As Michael Graziano writes, “Laughter is supremely irrational and crazily diverse. We laugh at clever jokes, surprising stories, the slapstick of people tripping and falling in the mud. We even laugh when we’re tickled on the ribs. According to the ethologist Jan van Hooff, chimps have something like laughter: they open their mouths and make short exhalations during play fights, or if someone tickles them. Gorillas and orangutans do the same. The psychologist Marina Ross compared the noises made by different species of ape and found that it was the sound of bonobos at play that comes closest to human laughter, again, when play-fighting or tickling. All of which makes it seem quite likely that the original type of human laughter also emerged from, yes, play-fighting and tickling.” http://aeon.co/magazine/science/should-we-ever-take-a-smile-at-face-value/






However, let us also treat ourselves to some good quotes on laughter here:-

However, all said and done, a life without laughter will be really boring.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Media's decade of decadence

Decades of decadence of Media that I have been observing and its mafia and menace is reaching a saturation point that naturally people will discard them like they have done to some political outfits.


Let us wait and watch the fun but be ready with appropriate elegies for individuals who have contributed to this decadence, do not forget to use your choicest epithets appropriate to their profile, their petrified prejudices, putrefied projections, puerile perceptions, selective amnesia, collective indifference, cemented confirmation bias etc.


I shall try to collect and present here the many links that I have written about media menace for a longtime.