Broken Republic, by Arundhati Roy

The polemic writing leans too far to one side and fails to deliver a well balanced approach to the subject. The author has undertaken painstaking research into the subject of Maoist insurgency. Alas, in many of the cases, she has chosen to over-emphasize the facts/comparisons/connections that lend themselves well to her narrative and fails to explore the other part of the story in sufficient detail. There is a dire need for more balance in the narrative.

Shakespeare & Schrödinger

Shakespeare: To be or not to be, that is the question.

Schrödinger’s Cat: To be and not to be, there is no question.

Funny Things

  1. We have equal opportunity employers but not parents.
  2. It is more important to click a pic than to close the eyes & embrace the feeling.
  3. A spoken word is now worth much more than a thousand pictures (read: selfies).
  4. Now would be a good time for Atlas to shrug.

The Andromeda Complex

Its has been too long that I’ve written from the heart. Maybe on & off in my diary, but never regularly. Being bound by the need to sound meaningful, deep, informative, etc. has killed the imagination. I want to put random fleeting thoughts of the mind to paper, not write long-winding analyses on academic topics. I do that enough in my college projects.

Reading a friend’s blog, has made me realize what I started with, but lost along the way. I thank you for you’ve made me remember why I wanted to write in the first place. I’ll try to be more regular now, starting with short posts.

Looking up at the stars in a clear night sky, it seems as though I’m looking at an inhabited city from a great height. The stars are just houses, cars, factories & people going about their lives. It happens to me generally on the mountains (the sky is quite clear there, unlike in Jamshedpur) . Whenever it happens, I’m filled with a sense of great distance from everything else as I imagine everything is so far away. Oh random feeling, I dub thee “The Andromeda Complex”.

The Cost of Progress

We live in the age of wonders and miracles. It has been called the “Age of Science” & all the different aspects of our life that have changed in the preceding centuries have been attributed to science. This is completely true, but its only one side of the coin. The flip side is that as we have advanced more & more in the field of technology, something fundamental to humanity has been left behind. Values such as empathy & the concern for our fellow human being are gradually being

eroded due to the onslaught of ever-evolving lifestyles, aided by the marvels of technological advancement. Taking the example of the Internet, on one hand, accessibility to information & knowledge at the click of a button is a veritable boon to everyone (esp. students) & has made our lives much simpler. On the other hand, it has severely limited the actual contact with teachers, friends & elders, and thus, the learning that a person gains is incomplete as he/she can’t take the advice that another person can give with the vast knowledge & experience at his disposal.


Today, a small child can access & navigate the Internet with an ease that still astounds the older generation. But what’s even more astounding is the neglect of the basic human traits of friendship, society, relationships & family values. Due to all the technological advancements & gadgets available today, children often miss out on the most enriching of childhood experiences like playing outdoor games (like soccer, cricket, etc.) with friends, which apart from being immensely enjoyable & physically exhilarating, also develops traits such as teamwork, physique, discipline, etc. from an early age. But now, when the concept of friends is gradually being limited to virtual friends on social networking sites, one shudders to think of the implications with regard to the personality development of a child because the time spent with computers or mobile phones for entertainment can never really substitute the holistic benefits of outdoor play. Such examples can be found aplenty in the course of our daily lives.

Now if we compare the hustle & bustle of modern city life & the peace & calm rustic village life, we can see that in cities, life is race with a variety of factors. It’s a race which everyone tries their level best to win, but nobody actually wins as the race never ends. Seeing as everyone wants to be happy, is such a race justified, when viewed through the prism of actual human contentment? Is not the village person, with his simple needs & easy smile, more content with his life? This question will of course have different answers depending on who we ask.

As for me, I think that this age of rapid development has created at least as many problems as it has solved, if not more. The reason is that the basic goal of life, which should be the pursuit of happiness, has now been replaced by the pursuit of money. Money & happiness are considered analogous in our present society, but they actually aren’t.  In this mindless pursuit of money, no one has the time now to appreciate the beauty of life, which consists not of multi-billion dollar skyscrapers, but a simple act of kindness to someone in a time of need.
So, there is an urgent need to stop for a moment & think about where we are actually heading – is it development or destruction? Do we have to wait until mankind has grown so far apart from each other that we can’t even see the suffering of our own species due to our mindless greed, or can we still mend our ways?

To answer this question, I’ll take the help of that most magnificent of human feelings – Hope. I sincerely hope that we, as the most intelligent species on earth, take our fair share of responsibility & sincerely think about the path which we should follow. Though mankind will likely last for a long time though its determination & sheer ingenuity, but we’ll have to make sure we don’t lose our humanity somewhere along the way.

WAR


We all know what war is, but very few of us know what it really means, & I don’t claim to be one of them. But for me, it is a fascinating concept that we human beings can bring about so much death & destruction to the world, kill our own brothers, ravage entire nations & wipe out entire races on the pretext of war. So I decided to delve a little deeper into this subject due to my own interest.

War has been used for hundreds of thousands of years as a way of attaining a certain goal through the use of force. While some people see warfare as an inescapable and integral aspect of human culture, others argue that it is only inevitable under certain socio-cultural circumstances. But whatever the argument for war might be, it is never enough. There is always a heavy price to pay for a war, which is ultimately paid by all of humanity. Different nations who go to war give different reasons for it, but for the soldiers & common people who die in it, it does not matter what reason is given. Even if war is waged for a good cause, the ends seldom justify the means. War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? So no single reason can be totally justified. Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.

Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship,
or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All that is to be done is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. And it is being done in all parts of the world for thousands of years.

Even the concept of victory in a war is misguided. Even if an army is victorious, it suffers a number of casualties, & even among those who are alive on the V-Day, are psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives. To win a war simply means that the victorious side has killed the most number of people, & that is hardly something to be proud of. The world is full enough of hurts and mischance without wars to multiply them.

It’s true that those who have not experienced war can’t even begin to imagine what it is like. We often say in our day to day discussions that war is the solution to many of our problems. “If a neighbouring country is creating problems, then just wage a war & get it over with.” is the general thinking among many. But such things are said without fully grasping the magnitude of the damages that are suffered during a war. The enormous psychological impact alone is enough to drive people to hopelessness. Other than that, the economic impact upsets the development process & pushes the country into economic turmoil. When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die. War settles nothing. To win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.

But then there are some things that are more valuable than life itself. Freedom is one of them. Any war waged for freedom justifies itself, as living under the rule of some other power is not life at all, it is slavery. If the colonialized countries of the world sat quietly just because they valued the lives of their people, then
independence would never have been achieved in many parts of the world, & all those people would still have been slaves. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

The appalling things that have been done in the name of war, from the ancient Roman Conquest wars in which the prisoners of war were crucified upon a stake, to the World War 2 when the SS on the command of Adolf Hitler, orchestrated mass murders of the European Jews, Poles & other minorities to such an extent that after the war was over 6 million European Jews were dead ( what is commonly termed as The Holocaust) & even continue to be done till this day ( like the Bosnian Genocide of 1995), poses a very important question: Will God ever forgive us for what we have done to each other?

One thing is for certain, that we have not seen the last war yet but whenever that happens, it will be a welcome day because at that time, the whole of humanity can finally come together as one to rebuild what has been destroyed, without the fear of everything being ravished by war once again. The rulers of the world have to understand that the mark of a great ruler is not in his ability to win wars but in his capability to achieve peace. Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.

The Perpetual Sleeper


I have been thinking of writing a blog for quite some time now (actually it’s a modest way of saying that I am too lazy to do anything productive, at-least that’s what my mom says when she is fed up of my sleeping marathons). But the truth is every time an idea came up in my mind & I thought about writing anything at all, a sudden urge to sleep overcame me & helpless as I always am against an attack of drowsiness, I fell asleep. This happened so many times that at last I finally gave up the idea of writing anything altogether.

But the appetite of the sleep monster was not to be sated so easily. The next victim of my endless sleep was my college attendance (not that I am even remotely concerned about that). But alas, my professors didn’t understand my predicament at all, & responded the only way they could, decreasing my internal marks. My friends didn’t bother to wake me up anymore, because I, they said, was an Eternal Sleeper. My parents had already had enough of it in the short time when I had been at home during the vacations. So, as the whole wide world was conspiring against my sleep & trying to come in the way of me & my sleep, we stood our ground, resolute & firm.

Also I was encouraged by some PRO sleepers (now I won’t divulge names here) who encouraged & indeed inspired me to sleep to my fullest potential. So my sincerest THANKS to those great people. But was after a series of unfortunate incidents (which was all due to my faults actually), that I learnt to love sleep so much that it became my only pastime. To sleep is to forget, became my motto. I thought of alcohol, drugs & the whole lot of materials which make you experience HEAVEN, but none of them seemed so appetizing to me as sleep, where I had the choice of creating my own heaven, my own utopia in my dreams, so I decided to go with it.

As a matter of fact sleep provides the ultimate escape from reality in a way that no other drug or addiction can. It is the perfect addiction if you want to forget everything in the world that’s bothering you & escape into the world of unrealizable dreams & distorted realities (that’s why maybe Inception is my favourite film). But the one thing a person gets while he/she (now I won’t be politically incorrect here) is asleep & dreaming is Absolute Freedom, of the kind that can’t be achieved in the real world. To become truly free, one has to leave all the worries, thoughts, anger, ambitions, guilt, sorrow, & all other feelings behind. There’re only 2 ways to do that – Death or Sleep. And since I’m not so inclined to die anytime soon, so I slept, slept & then slept some more.

Enough of the metaphysical stuff anyway, coming back to reality now. Just when the sleep disorder was screwing me in every way imaginable, came a ray of hope. My saviour had found me at last. I got a new laptop………. & just like that, all my troubles with the sleep monster started to go away without so much as a customary goodbye. Sleep altogether deserted me. With the combined powers of my laptop & the Ultra High Speed Internet provided to us by the Govt. of India (& I’m extremely thankful for that, believe me), the monsters which are far more powerful than sleep, were unleashed in my life, e.g., Video Games & FACEBOOK.

And just like that, from being an Excessive Sleeper, all of a sudden I found myself in the risk of becoming an Insomniac. And as all habits start initially, I didn’t even care about anything else anymore. For me, the time for sleeping was gone. And the transition happened so rapidly & quickly that I hardly had time to realize that my beloved sleep had deserted me and now I was truly alone. But just when I thought all hope had been lost, FACEBOOK came to the rescue, & thanks to it, now I am an Accomplished Insomniac, waking for the past 40 hours straight as I sit writing this blog & I ask myself, now that sleep & laziness are not blocking my path of moving forward, will I do something worthwhile with my life? Or will the new addictions in life prove to be too big a temptation to resist…

On this profound note, it is fair to say that its too early to tell & too late to plan anything. But what fun is something that is planned beforehand, eh? So I’m just going to go with the flow & see where that takes me. I’ll take the road not taken & maybe I’ll not reach where I want to, but in the end, I’ll certainly be where I need to.