Monday, August 31, 2015

VISHU AND MAHABALI: Onam is More or Less Nostalgic?

Image Courtesy: D .K
Part 2
Propagandists have often proclaimed that Onam has a Hindu connection. The myth involving Vishnu and Mahabali is one instance for this coagulation. There is lighting of traditional lamps, special pujas in temples and so on. That being said, the festival of Onam also resides in contours adjacent to what may be called a religiously neutral space. But the origin of this neutral position has to come from the story of how the term Hindu evolved. That might take a long time and space to narrate.   
Image Courtesy: Google

Taken as the name of a culture, the term Hindu does have a connection with Onam as the term is connected to everything in India or everything that is part of the Indian culture. “Hindusthan” is a name we are called in antiquity across the world. At some point in time, Hindu seems to have acquired the status of a religion though. From that moment in history onward, we had taken this word with extra care. This care went for and against compartmentalization of people as well. The discussion I initiated in this page too has its bearings on the same back and forth movement of the meaning of the term Hindu.

A person celebrating Onam working through floral carpets on his courtyard, kids playing in the land around the house, all are part of a very intimate nostalgia every Keralite is brought up with. Even if one lives in the present day, Television-ruled era of celebrations, this nostalgia comes across and is fed into one’s consciousness. The problem with this constant supply of nostalgia is that it demands its own sustenance from the person who harbours it. 

To be contd. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

HAPPY ONAM!

Part-1
Image Courtesy: D .K
For the past fifteen to twenty years the people of Kerala, in celebrating Onam, have switched from their land and courtyard to their sofas and settees. I am no different.

By ‘land and courtyard’, I mean the way we used to occupy ourselves during this festival. Kinds running around in fields surrounding the household for flowers and spreading floral carpet on the courtyard are a few of those memories. It was great fun in the country than in the city back then. Onam was mostly an occasion for getting together with family and relatives, during my childhood.   

Image Courtesy: Google
Unlike the Wikipedia article on Onam, the celebration does not have much to do with a specific religious practice with the way things are in the above drawn memory picture. Or should I say the way things “were”? Onam has a pan religious appeal. In order to explicate that I would like to tell you what I have seen recently in a church. In a place named Mattannur, about 20 km away from Chalode, my place, we have a Catholic church. The previous week, they announced that they will make an Onam floral carpet as part of the celebrations. I went there the previous Tuesday evening and found a beautiful floral carpet on the church floor, close to the bottom of the pattern of cross that adores the holy ground. The peculiarity of this church is that it does not have fixed pews. The chairs are all movable.

The Wikipedia article I mentioned registers that Onam is a Hindu festival. Perhaps, Wikipedia has its own political views and agendas. However, if such a politics is palpable, it is not independent of what appears to exist in actuality. 
To be contd. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bestselling author Anu Lal on 69th Indian Independence Day, Self-reliance, and Courage: FULL ARTICLE

You are reading this article for free.
You are free to use any of the links above and order author Anu Lal’s bestselling titles from Amazon and/or any other online retailer.
Anu Lal

Read the full article below:

Part-1
69TH INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: Dependence or Independence Where Do You Stand?
That middle class Indian may not have personal means for conveyance. He or she would take a bus or train for daily commutation. Within that context, freedom of movement does have a seriously limiting meaning. In essence, freedom to move is limited and knitted with illusion in the life of a person taking buses for his daily travel. "Independence" may have a political meaning. This word also has a strict personal meaning too. In a philosophical sense, independence is possible only in the form of pure consciousness. Therefore, this state of being is beyond the usual sense of understanding the term. In a political sense, the same sense the term is used with these days, "independence" may mean 'no dependence on a colonial power'.  
Image Courtesy: corporate.gettyimages.com

Part-2
INDEPENDENCE DAY: What Do We Give Others?
It is not political independence that matters anymore. Mostly because political independence is as much an illusion as the thought of a distinct national identity. Everyone, instead, must feel something personally connecting with this thought, “independence”. To be independent, as we all realize by now, is not to depend on anyone else. It also belongs to the same old category-illusions. Perhaps, a term that stands closer to the notion that I would like my nation to use this weekend is 'self-reliance'.  
Image Courtesy: Google

Part-3
NATION AND MEANING: You and I and our Collective Totality
The first thing every young person looks for professionally, after a college degree would be opportunities. Either as artists or as skilled laborers without opportunities one may succumb to terrifying levels of fruitless struggle and depression. Instead of waiting for opportunities, some are ready to take risks and create a sense of fulfillment from opening new venues of activity. Imagination and creativity are two scarcely used commodities in the Indian politico-economic context.  If someone employs these two, affiliating one's sense of purpose with 'conscience' to borrow a terminology from Thoreau, one will be rewarded on a personal level. These personal moments of fulfillment are sure to uplift the confidence and productivity of a nation as a collective totality.  

Image Courtesy: orig06.deviantart.net
Part-4
69TH INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: Thoughts on Self-Reliance 
Today, I am very proud to witness these young people doing what they can to experience fulfillment in life. The pattern of their involvement with the creation of the film mirrors self-reliance. They helped each other out. But they also quit waiting for opportunities. Instead, these young students created a space for what I would call dream-living. What was just a crazy thought in their mind, now, is a tangible, solid reality. I am reminded of my spiritual guru's words. "Whatever you put in your imagination expands," says Dr. Wayne Dyer in I Can See Clearly Now, suggesting a possibility that is at the same time at the stretch of a hand away from us and miraculous. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

69TH INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: Thoughts on Self-Reliance


Part-4

Image Courtesy: Indu
A few students from Kannur, Kerala, discovered their passion for filmmaking and went for fulfilling their desires. I would like to share this story with you, in order to take my argument through.

The problem these young students faced in the beginning was lack of resources. This was single most important impediment they could not cross in the starting stage of the project. I came across one of those students, during my work as an Assistant Professor on contract at a college where they were doing their Graduation. They were dreaming to work in films in some distant future. I asked one of them, had he ever seen Sholay, the Bollywood classic, or The Shawshank Redemption. He said, No. He hadn't watched any of the Robert Duvall movies or even heard of Alfonso Cuarón. That was the moment I felt he required help. At first I wasn’t aware there were more of them with an intention to be movie stars. This I came to know later, after starting my sessions with this student of mine, who was ready to talk and ask for help.   

How I helped him isn't the important part. The young men who wanted to be in movies, I realized later, were skilled in areas that are related to film industry. I could only give the student of mine, a single session of how to pursue his desires and goals. However, thanks to social media, he kept his contacts with me regularly. I remember suggesting to him why don't they make a short film or start a Youtube channel and showcase their talent in front of the world.  
Image Courtesy: Google

Our first communication on the matter of films and more importantly of living a fulfilling life through following dreams happened almost a year back. A few days ago, this same student of mine rang me up and told me that they made a short film named "Phone Book". He told me that the film would be available through their Youtube channel, Uprising Creations on the 15th of August onwards.  

Today, I am very proud to witness these young people doing what they can to experience fulfillment in life. The pattern of their involvement with the creation of the film mirrors self-reliance. They helped each other out. But they also quit waiting for opportunities. Instead, these young students created a space for what I would call dream-living. What was just a crazy thought in their mind, now, is a tangible, solid reality. I am reminded of my spiritual guru's words. "Whatever you put in your imagination expands," says Dr. Wayne Dyer in I Can See Clearly Now, suggesting a possibility that is at the same time at the stretch of a hand away from us and miraculous. 

Please subscribe to the Youtube channel created by my students in this link: Uprising Creations 

You can watch the short film, “Phone Book”, by tapping the title.  



While celebrating this nation’s 69th Independence Day, the message of self-reliance gets through to our minds through this humble attempt made by these young students.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NATION AND MEANING: You and I and our Collective Totality



Part-3
Image Courtesy: Indu
I believe, as I already mentioned, that it is the message of self-reliance that we must ponder over. In order to make sense in its content, every message must mean something to us personally. This personal connection can take any message to its intended goal. The question is, are we capable of invoking any personal connection in the young minds of India with the old tale of the British versus the natives? Projecting self-reliance upon the young minds of India, one may create significant output beyond immediate profit. Channeling our discourses towards a new and improved psychological spiritual goal would enable the young minds of India regain its passion for nation and their own existence. This will in turn strengthen the presence of meaning in their lives.     
Image Courtesy: Google

The first thing every young person looks for professionally, after a college degree would be opportunities. Either as artists or as skilled laborers without opportunities one may succumb to terrifying levels of fruitless struggle and depression. Instead of waiting for opportunities, some are ready to take risks and create a sense of fulfillment from opening new venues of activity. Imagination and creativity are two scarcely used commodities in the Indian politico-economic context.  If someone employs these two, affiliating one's sense of purpose with 'conscience' to borrow a terminology from Thoreau, one will be rewarded on a personal level. These personal moments of fulfillment are sure to uplift the confidence and productivity of a nation as a collective totality.  

To be contd. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

INDEPENDENCE DAY: What Do We Give Others?

Part 2

Image Courtesy: Indu

I would say it's a lack of true vision that makes these contemporary critics of this once great nation babble about status quo when a majority of people die of lack of food and violence committed on the streets. Let's face the reality. None of us, including this humble author, is not talking about what really matters. Within the Indian geo-political context the term ‘independence’ has a different significance now than that it previously had, say ten years back. India has changed in ways that would help write a new future for this country. This point in time and space in the story of India, one must look carefully for a more fulfilling meaning for “independence.”  

It is not political independence that matters anymore. Mostly because political independence is as much an illusion as the thought of a distinct national identity. Everyone, instead, must feel something personally connecting with this thought, “independence”. To be independent, as we all realize by now, is not to depend on anyone else. It also belongs to the same old category-illusions. Perhaps, a term that stands closer to the notion that I would like my nation to use this weekend is 'self-reliance'.  
Image courtesy: Google


India is celebrating its 69th day of independence. Years back, we were a colony of Britain. Years before that, our forefathers lived in relative violence still, committed upon them by their own brethren. At least with the British, we had an external invader to fight back, to rightfully channel our hatred and anger. 

Temporarily, at least, India has been under the Raj. One of the most important contributions or rather let’s say cultural traces left by the British was English language. The bridges, roads, and railroad facility the Empire left behind were immensely useful too, for the emerging India to construct the base for its growth. What must the 69th Independence Day instil in us, not just the people of India, but whoever touched, at least once, by this great nation and its culture? 
To be contd. 
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