Monday, 28 January 2008

The Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar -3

The Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar -3

Bharat Ratna Award Race

ByRemigius de Souza

BHARAT RATNA AWARD, for which some political parties fielded their leaders for its claim. The highest award thus became a commodity for the high profile. Of course, the Time or the Future would be the better judge of their credibility.

NDTV news channel quickly invited the viewers to poll for the candidates claiming Bharat Ratna Award 2008, added some famous personalities in different fields to the list. In retaliation, a religious organization, having objection to some names, attacked and ransacked NDTV’s Ahmedabad office.

Who are these attackers? They gave some name of the organization. As we know any organization, from a school to a government, is a faceless entity, some persons head it. The attackers came from lower rank and file in the hierarchy. They are manipulated capitalising their grouse for their plight in their ‘ordinary’ life. It is doubtful how many of they are familiar with the work of the listed. The have to simply follow the orders of the higher ups. Perhaps they may have some impressions, not information.

Whoever polled in the NDTV to choose awardees by spending their own money for SMSs, emails, and phone calls at a premium rate, did so, perhaps, for their favourite idols / heroes in various fields. How did they compare the others’ work? Again by impressions rather than information.

But the moment the stakes for the position and polls come in the picture, the entire episode turns into a realty bazaar – may it be parliament or Bharat Ratna election. In one the people have stakes, in the other the sponsors.

We have heard that during the elections for parliament, assemblies etc, the voters’ palms are greased by cash or kind, or punched by extortion, openly or privately.

However the so-called masses are intelligent, not fools, when election matters. They don’t go by impression, even in the remote places where media don’t reach. They are also sensitive to environment like plants and animals, unlike urban elite. They can smell “Rain is coming” though there no cloud.

No wonder, for decades now, we notice the ‘caretaker’ governments at the Centre and states, which the politicians popularly call ‘coalition’ government to fool them, and the people, as long as it may last. (In the case of recent, better wait till the next election results.)

While pondering upon few names that I know I linger at Anand Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947). He was truly a world citizen, keeping in Indian maxim “Vasidhaiva kutumbakum” – the earth – my family. Like Prince Dara Shiko, he made known India – her culture, her ethos to the whole world. He wished to die on the Indian soil. But when the Time arrived, in peace he went the garden of his home, lied down on the soil, and breathed his last. (Not that I write this to propose his name for Bharat Ratna.)

I don’t know, and don’t want to know the process and basis of selecting the awardees: I am indifferent. It is certainly a legacy borrowed from the feudal powers of yesteryears. (Perhaps from past our colonial masters – Britain, which could hardly be called a democracy. Otherwise how could they establish the colonies?) It certainly is not in the Spirit of Democracy.
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Remigius de Souza


© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Sunday, 27 January 2008



by Remigius de Souza
24x7 ENTERTAINMENT EXPLOSION has reached the global dimension. Forty years ago, P S Rajan, one of the young architects in Ahmedabad, used to say, ‘in the Hell they are shown Hindi movies through 24hours’. We, then, didn’t imagine that Hollywood-Bollywood-Tellywood, and much more trash that takes place around, will be a 24x7 reality on the earth, here and now. Well, in the Hell as well as in Heaven everyone is immortal, therefore, must be thoroughly bored like people in the Industrial Civilisation.

A journalist from the US, probably from New York, I read somewhere some time ago, had said, ‘people want constant excitement’. Obviously, media has been obliged to provide it, and ‘discover’ more. And people fall for it until their senses go numb.

ET-IT facilitate this 24x7 entertainment explosion enormously through cinema, TV, computer, world wide web, YouTube, iPod, cell phones, and many more gadgets to come, and of course, print media. As I started browsing through the blogs I noticed this frenzy spreads through blogosphere. Entertainment, YouTube, Shopping etc. tags get highest ratings on the search engines.

Anything, and perhaps everything – fashions and fads, gadgets and products, from "deconstruction" by Derrida to Porn to war on insects (and humans) – invented in the First Worlds in the "West" or "North" reaches sooner or later to the markets in the First World in India and other countries in the "South" so it becomes global. The entertainment industry and tourism industry, i.e., leisure, are colonised by the capitalist consumerism to ‘commodify’ free time of the employed and the unemployed.

In India globalisation begins in the cities and spreads in the towns. What about the Indian villages? TV is a powerful medium for the illiterate and the marginally-literate, if thy have access. Perhaps, the farmers in villages of Vidarbha, Maharashtra, and other places, may forget their woes and stop committing suicides, or their suicide rate may rise on and on, after watching affluence, consumption and waste of resources in the First World India, but certainly not out of boredom. We heard that a guru was teaching tem ‘Pranayam’ – a breathing technique in yoga – on a mass scale; never heard about any results.

No, the farmers do not suffer perpetual boredom alike the urbanites. The evident disparity between their condition and the extravaganza of the First World India that is projected through, for example, TV, could only lead to their frustration and anger. Some day it may lead their tolerance of five thousand years of subjugation by the feudal powers to a breaking point to result in another epic war of Mahabharata. Thankfully, the majority in India do not have access to TV and education both.

There may be several such 24x7 obsessions in different fields, occupations and professions, from primary schools to politics, which turn them workaholics, or force others to be. There may be several reasons – psychological, social, environmental, economic or political. But there is certainly one reason. Lost in the modern urban jungle they are looking for their lost identity and community, or for intoxication, in the virtual world: everyone – the producers and the sellers as well as the buyers – are a bored lot.

© Remigius de Souza., all rights reserved.

The Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar -2

The Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar -2
By Remigius de Souza

The kidney transplant racket by the doctors is one too many. How many and what other professions / occupations do indulge in such a black trades to make money at the cost of the poor, helpless, hapless, illiterate, the ignorant of the elite ways people?

How many do indulge in legal as well as illegal means market ― flesh and souls, land and waters, minerals and fossil fuels, plants and animals, to name a few ― at the cost of large anonymous majority people to mint money? It’s just for their unsuitable greed for power, profit and pleasure.

By claiming India an underdeveloped / developing country, it is the First World India thrives at the cost of the people in the Third World and the Fourth World ( of adivasi – aborigine people), by whatever means: beg, borrow or rob.

The words, ‘Democracy’ and the latter added ‘Socialism’ (why add such a tag? Isn’t democracy enough?), which remain dormant in the constitution, or are talked about to have an intellectual kick? The status quo is maintained to keep the social – economic – political disparity by denying, in the first place, equitable distribution of relevant education and the resources – tangible and non-tangible or natural and economic – to the large majority.

The kidney transplant racket is one of the many, reported or not reported, instances in this vast nation; a steps to annihilation of the poor. It is typical of militarily and economically advanced societies worldwide; the history is witness to it in other times and other continents.

However, they now notice the great lies, hollow slogans of development and progress, the glaring disparity (at that compares with that displayed in Bollywood / Tellywood exhibition of extravaganza and violence, in virtual reality, though with limited accessibility) maintained by the status quo of the Agency.

Yet, Democracy is rising; its sparks are flashing. The great uprising is due sooner or later. The People (not the population numbers favourite of statisticians) shall prevail, not only in India, but all over the world is history is witness. They shall come like a tsunami.

Sri Krishna says: “… Sambhavami yuge – yuge” – I shall reincarnate in ages after ages. In this age, however, a billion reincarnations!

Remigius de Souza

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

The Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar

Illustration: Great stone sculptures at Easter Island

The Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar
By Remigius de Souza

ON THE EVE OF REPUBLIC DAY –2008, the Great Indian (Realty) Bazaar is a reality taking shape in various ways. Bravo! A few decades ago, India was eyed by the prosperous western countries as a ‘great untapped market’. The First world India has made it accessible. See the rising (dropping at a sneeze by the great economies in the West) Sensex in Mumbai, the financial capital of India!

KIDNEY TRANSPLANT RACKET by the doctors busted in Gurgaon, near New Delhi, was flashed by TV media; along with the President’s address (I was not interested to hear her). It is reported that about 500 kidneys of some poor labourers/unemployed were bought at Rs 50-80 thousand and were sold at Rs 10-15 lakhs to foreigners (and Indians). There are several different atrocities which also now come to light.

BHARAT RATNA AWARD, for which some political parties fielded their leaders for its claim. The highest award thus became a commodity for the high profile. Of course, the Time or the Future would be the better judge of their credibility.

The irony is, we address sadhus–fakirs –sanyasis–Sufis–Bavals–saints as ‘swami’ – Master; they are not only on our tongues but also in our hearts, while kings, emperors, sultans, warmongers, money mongers, plunderers/squanderers of the land’s resources, either coming from foreign countries or at home, may find place in the history (text) books.

We have heard a story of beloved saint-poet Tukaram. Poor though he was in material possessions, he promptly returns the gifts that king Shivaji sent to help him. Like many others such as, Lalla, Meera, Janabai, Kabir, Chaitanya, Raidas, Jnaneshwar…, he doesn’t need media promotion or the State pension.

INDIA PREMIER LEAGUE materialised after hectic multimillion dollar bids, fashioned after soccer – football – basketball leagues of foreign countries. The cricketers, like horses, will run, be replaced, be rested, be shunted, come and go. The great Indian Cricket Realty show must go on, even if our children may not have playgrounds or afford to play or have one-time meal. We are indeed great patriotic people.

SINGUR: NANO PRINT – FAT WAD. ‘Tatas to pay Rs 1k cr for Singur land’ in a phased manner for lease of 90 years, to West Bengal Industries Development Corporation (8cm x 4 cm size news, Times of India, Mumbai ed., 23 August 2007, p. 21). I am ignorant of how this money shall be disbursed. What fraction will the peasant receive, once the money is in the hands of the agency? How much money shall be sucked by the administration in its pipeline?

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) materialised in knee-jerk action to quick-fix economic development. No second thought was given to rehabilitation of the peasants, not even a thought to the fertile agricultural lands. No field work. No environmental (social-political-natural environment) assessment.

Industries shall come, go defunct in time as usual, or change hands / products. But the living soil and the wild life which are important parts of ecology will be killed perhaps forever when, sooner or later, the industries are abandoned. It may take decades/centuries to restore.

Remember the great prosperous metropolis, Angkor, that collapsed by its own strength and overtaken by the forest! Remember the Easter Island that turned into desert by a civilised society! India, too, turning land into desert, soil and waters toxic. For radiation, wait until the Nuke deal materialises. And finally the annihilation of her second class citizens. Thanks to the First World India for its craze of development by aping the West. Remove the departmental blinkers that would open up ‘holistic vision’.

LEAD INDIA, a realty show, initiated by Times of India, is coming to close. Leadership is a buzzword in circulation; a frantic effort by the industrial society to hold powers over the masses which is slipping from their grip as democracy is taking deeper roots. Lead India episodes reminded us of the story of “Elephant and seven blind men”. Here, six men and one woman relishing their ego flights, along with the sponsors and judges, in the contest to chose ‘Mahanayak’ – great leader, as one after another are eliminated. What is India? Is it a palm-size map? Perhaps you could read better your fate-lines. Only Akshay Kumar, a film hero commented, “we need only leaders, no followers”.

MISSION USTAD, another realty show, to promote “End Poverty by 2015”, a slogan by the UN. It reminds us another slogan: “Garibi Hatao” – Eliminate Poverty – by the late PM Indira Gandhi; people on the street aptly converted to “Garib Hatao” – Eliminate the Poor. People are not fools. Like Bollywood/ Indipop songs, those by the Ustad – maestro – also shall come and go. Could anyone take the place of Meera, Kabir, Tukaram…? Safdar Hashmi, who sang on the streets, was murdered in broad daylight, in our times. Who is ready to face that fate? No. Not me, never, being a first class hypocrite, even though I write poetry.
Remigius de Souza

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Life is larger than all...

In the name of social and economic development i.e., industrialisation, those who deny and destroy livelihood and even life of other humans and the living beings, even by proxy, are no less than cannibals and murderers; Remi may not be an exception.

Life is larger than all religions and philosophies, arts and sciences, trades and tools, sovereign states and governments, that civilisations, including the modern industrial societies, have created in all times and places.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Monumental tomb of 20th century

Monumental tomb of 20th century
We built out of swarming humanity.
The masters spent their lifetime
To build a global tomb while
Millions gave up life in anonymity.

We are touchy of our buried past,
Glorify our colonial and feudal masters
Now and then ready to bury ourselves:
To build the community who shall be left?

Time is not frozen in the ticks
Of clocks, neither in the pyramids,
Nor in the portals of Victoria Terminus.
Time flows in the cuckoo's song,
And sings in the dance of spring
In the vanishing woodlands.

Remigius de Souza .
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© Remigius de Souza. All Rights Reserved.