Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Amidst the Flames

Fire! Fire! , Fire Everywhere
Hungry and at rage, my life does it seek
What is it that I fear more?
The raging fire or my loss of words to speak

In my thoughtful utopia, free birds fly
Reality has cast chains, will they ever break?
Should my duties lead me, or for my rights; cry
At crossroads, what remains is one path to take.

Learnt, I have of battles won and lost
Is it the fear of the eventual loss?
Or the mere reluctance before the battle-cry
At dusk, wherever I stand, my eyes shan’t be dry

Drowsy in gloom, yet I know that I must move
I know I might just burn up in the flames
Amidst all pain, my soul smiles and says
“I am so glad you never ran away”

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Divinity on Earth

There are different kinds of values, different kinds of virtues, that we see in this world. We like all of them. But there is this one virtue that is truly powerful and leaves us overpowered by emotion. That is truly forgiveness.

It is forgiveness which binds humanity strongly despite all the bloodshed, spite and violence , which we have silently witnessed and endured. When someone wrongs you, our first and most humane instinct is to fight back, but it takes a brave man or woman to let go and forgive. It is this noble virtue of all virtues that keeps the world going on and on.

Unknowingly or knowingly we wrong a lot of people. We do not really even know at times of the other person`s existence at all, yet it happens. And the most important part is that we get forgiven a lot. Both are blessed, the forgiving and the forgiven.

It was recently while reading about Mother Theresa, I came across this interesting anecdote. Mother Theresa, once while walking in the streets of Bengal, saw in a garbage dump, an old woman, with barely any clothes, left there to die. Her face had been half eaten already by ants and rats. There was just that small tidbit of life left hanging in her body with hope.

Mother Theresa brought the lady to her home for the Dying and nursed her and prayed for her. She found out that the lady had been thrown there by her own son. In those last moments, before her tormented soul left her body, she was asked to pray to the lord and to forgive her son, by mother. She, with tears in her eyes said, "I forgive my son, my child I love him, Thank You", and then passes away.

What really struck me most about the story was how the lady seemed to regain some peace and happiness in her broken heart as she became one with divinity in those moments of forgiveness. The truth is forgiveness is not at all easy. It is not practical and hence it is the most apt example of being a divine virtue. We, as humans have never been able to forgive, be it in the form of riots, or in the form of capital punishment, we seek our revenge with a monstrous passion, which is frightening.

Therefore in every moment of our life, we come across these situations, where we just cannot keep quiet, we fight with our brothers, with our sisters, our society. Our mind has not been capable of maturing with the ages. But Life always seems most colourful and full of hope in those rare moments where we witness some divine act of forgiveness. These incidents are few and far but they do exist. Let us learn to forgive. It is surely the right path towards that which we seek in our quest to completion of meaning for our lives. Forgiveness is truly a work of art. Let us become those great artists who can paint those masterful strokes of forgiveness upon our lives, thereby crafting portraits of divinity upon earth for the generations to come and learn.

To preach is not what I yearn for. Just making a mental note of those small things which I learn from life, which I hope to note down and share.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Silent Valley

Like the small flowers of green thick hills
With fragrance, did her words; bloom
Wild yet passionate in love, are the tribal's
So was hers, for them and theirs

Sad was her heart, at the jungle's ruin
Starved was her pen, of any words
To the children, she lent a voice, therein
To save the jungle, her poetry and birds

While planting seeds, with hope they croon
Cast your magic, of life, dearest monsoon
As the clouds poured, and lent some life
To life, the jungle sprang, and they all sang

Like the mother herself, she nursed and cared
Days later, the deers came smiling
For lifetimes, shall the tribals sing, her praise
Her story of life, her pen; still flowing.
This is a small tribute to noted Malayalam poetess and social activist, PadmaShri SugathaKumari, who through her beautiful gems of poetry, refreshed the love for forests and also organized the Adivasi people into infusing life once again into the once dead forest at Attapady, in Kerala. These words are dedicated as a mark of respect for her efforts in bringing back the forests.

I wish to thank, noted writer and good friend, Scharada Bail, through whose book,"Icons of Social Change", I came to know of this extraordinary work of this great poetess, who has also won the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award.

P.S: This is to inform all blogger friends, that due to a new internet usage policy at my workplace, I have been deprived of access to blogger, to write new posts and comment on other wonderful posts in the blogosphere, and also to reply to your most encouraging and inspiring comments. I shall not be capable of blogging as frequently as I had or rather desperately want to, but shall always be reading your blogs. Please remember, I shall always be there, just an email away.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Changing Identities.

At times the wayside onlooker joins a group of people. The group of people, all strangers to him, but still he walks along with them, his head held high in pride, enjoying those few moments of self given importance. The group finally reaches a junction, where they take one way, leaving the onlooker at crossroads. His moment of transient importance is now over. he wanders about and becomes an onlooker again.

The onlooker in question is not on the roads anymore but, now everywhere we see them in our lives. In essence all comrades leaning left in India are in a way such onlookers or they have been reduced to that effect due to certain grave ideological differences in the way the common good was perceived. Communism itself has had a number of stages of change according to the people who patronized this struggle or revolution for "Common Ownership" of the means of production. The ideas and thoughts changed each times according to the then current need, right from Lenin to Stalin, Karl Marx to Mao Zedong, Trotsky and so on. That should only improve the basic ideology but that has seriously suffered at least in the case of India.

Take, for instance the Singur issue in West Bengal. It is an important step, which a surprisingly progressive CPI government took, for the industrialization of West Bengal which was suffering due to lack of investment, and issues of unemployment. This step which could have been a breakthrough found opposition from farmers, the very farmers who are supposed to be represented by this party, with the Sickle in their flags. With some members within the government and the party themselves opposing the move, the comrades of India suffered a major identity crisis. Either they had to be for development or upliftment of the poor, but Singur is in the very sense, a perfect deadlock.

It is at this stage that we ask ourselves why did Communism fail in India while it could catapult China`s position aggressively. Where is it that Indian Communism failed? Are there no dynamic thinkers left or is it totally in a mess. The truth is that we learned the lesson wrongly. We forgot that with "Common Ownership" there comes "Common Responsibility" as well. We forgot that work is the primary identity and that ideology comes afterwards. This is perhaps best illustrated in the situation in Kerala, which despite having the highest literacy rate and good living conditions is still dependent on rubber and tourism to make a mark of it`s contribution to the entire nation. The reason, is of course simple, because they romanticized the revolutionist aspect of Communism. The primary identity of a farmer or a labourer was pushed backstage.

Now this is not merely a political rant and neither is it that I abhor Communism. It is plainly that often the beauty of thought and ideals is lost in it`s application and Communism in India serves as a perfect example. The trend of changing or rather losing identities is seen even in the case of Social Activism. There is no more that silent persistent movement for social change as in the likes of Mahashweta Devi or Aruna Roy. Today instead we have Medha Patkar who first claimed her identity with the cause of Narmada Valley. She has been seen everywhere and has been leading these people all this while through protests and hunger strikes, but do we see a positive development of the issue?. When the media ultimately lost interest in the same, she now runs over to Singur to lead the farmers there against the government. So what will happen to the Valley and it`s people. Are their troubles over now or is it because the camera men have left Narmada ?.

As long as there are issues there are people swarming in to spearhead their campaign, but how many of them really make a difference or are they too mere onlookers who sense this sudden opportunity to shine in their moment of glory. This is again not to discourage people who have a genuine intention of making a difference, but show us the difference first, hit the headlines later.!

There is no dearth of problems in India. There are farmer suicides in Punjab, there is the ULFA attacks in Assam and the list goes on. We do not need onlookers, in search of temporary identity, we need the grass root workers. We need land for the farmers, work for the labourers. Once they find their primary identity, the problems shall disappear by themselves. On the contrary if they selflessly lose their identity to provide an identity, a claim to recognition for these so called 'activists' or politicians there shall remain no winner eventually.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Moment of Need.

Art Print By Richard Hall, pic courtesy allposters.com

As human beings part of this great truth called Life, this great reality called the universe, we are all part of a perhaps pre-planned routine of nature, where we do our duties, do our time and then wait for the truth and reality to envelope us into it`s fold, thereby making us immortal or leaving us satisfied that there has been a lending of meaning to our otherwise seemingly monotonous lives. We may have faltered, or grown strong and yet we still do yearn for that something, that something which will drive us with great passion towards a new dawn during every sunrise.

After 25 years of life on earth I can sense, my mind struggling in a state of restlessness and agitation. I wouldn`t really call it a quarter life crisis, rather a sudden moment of anxiousness trying to make meaning out of these 25 years. I realize that I need more. I need that something which can stimulate my passion for life.

What is it that I need more and why do I need it, is what I am seeking to find and discover, and the first place, I am going to look for these answers is within myself. This new year, as usual, I made no resolutions, but it`s not because I am perfect or have done wholesome things, but because I need some guidance, I need some relief from the pace of this routine. I need some dead moments in which I can plan and draw out things and travel with that soul of mine. I do not know whether I will be successful but there is this patience in me to persevere.

It is a moment of need, not just for me as an individual, but for the greater fabric of society as well, and I trace my identity in a comparison of my challenges, with the greater challenges of the society on the whole. It is a new year, but has it been happy around the world. Let us look at India itself for example, as we start this year we are already witness to the most brutal and inhuman aspect of the human mind, in the context of Noida Killing or be it the incidents of abduction or violence against children reported at several places.

Where to, we are moving together as a society is the most dreaded question rising in our minds. We might not have water, we might not have forests, wildlife, farmland in the near future, but more frightening is the situation wherein we are not sure whether there will be any kind of humanity left in human beings. We talk about economic development alone, we talk about conservation of nature, but will there come a stage where mankind has to start the process of conservation and purification of the human mind, with moral values and humanity as a virtue. Will the need arise for a global and universal social and spiritual revolution. Only change is permanent and in the hope that things will change for the common good, I continue my search for sense of completion, a quest for the meaning and reasoning of this wonderful earthly existence.