Wednesday, 28 November 2012


In Communion with Mother Nature

Constructive Criticism

Mainspring of Creativity 

Creativity: We generally attribute this action to the expressions of various arts. However, the basic force of creativity is only to conserve life. From conception of life to feed a baby and the innumerable actions onwards that follow are the parts of the creativity. Because of our mechanical way of living, we are not conscious; that's all.
Bhill youth playing bamboo flute
Bhills make their bamboo flutes by themselves. Its history indeed goes back to millennia.

2. Ancient bone flute (30,000 yBP)

 The bird bone flute was found (in 2009) by the archaeologists. It has five holes.
Interestingly Bhills too use five holes to their bamboo flutes.

Constructive Criticism

I learnt what may be called constructive criticism/critique from Anand K. Coomaraswamy. It was useful in many ways. Mainly, I left subjective reaction and moved to objective response to any event.

By the study of environment, which is the very foundation of “shelter” or architecture, I could go beyond personal and societal spheres.

My beloved Tukaram has major share in making me understand ecology: “plants vines wildlife (are) our kin”. To understand this mantra, came to help my physical labour and community participation in the fields of paddy - vegetable farming and cooking, mud house building, and cotton spinning and weaving (this under Gandhi's Basic Education) during childhood at my native village.

While learning architecture I came to understand how vary many rooms in buildings are interdependent in their planning. If a room or an element is shifted, changed or removed, the whole schema is affected. Hence it needs reworking.

Tukaram's five words also reveal how environment, ecology and energy (EEE) fields are interlinked. It helps if we meditate on simple looking work such as farming, cooking or shelter etc. to understand how the three – EEE – are interlinked and interdependent in the Nature.

This path is as much abiding and arduous that much joyous. No shortcut. No books. Only field work helps.

AK Coomaraswamy died in 1947 after Independence of India. From this time onward the change that came with British Raj accelerated in India.

The change was taking place in almost every sphere of life at large. It has affected most the majority i.e. agrarian society. Their rehabilitation should have been taken up on priority basis as soon as the British left.

The root cause perhaps is the development in Science and Technology by the turn of the last century in India. It has been taking place all over the world. The west, however, grew along with this change from the rise of Mechanical-Industrial Revolution; while in India it was imposed.

In 65 years we have not grown 'up'; we have only grown 'old', and culturally we tend to respect 'old' age - man or stone.

Indeed the change (which we tend to call 'development' is a misnomer) affected the primary needs: food-shelter-clothing and natural autonomous functions of all living beings: work-leisure-health-learning-propagation, not only in human world, but all living-beings in land-water-air across the world.

When these fundamentals are affected, then what about social, political, religious... blah, blah, blah institutions or Heaven and Hell?

Needs in Wanting Constructive Creativity

When we watch now the TV channels 24/7 throughout year that show us buttery love and marriage stories combined with crime and violence, with innovations aplenty, as if none else exists to entertain us, or rather to Think about.

In Mumbai, for example, about 200-300 movies are produced annually. But at what cost of resources, at what environment-ecology-energy cost, for what except passive entertainment, and for what social ends?

Presently millions of Indian ryot are going through crises of survival facing a billion problems of food, water, work, health, literacy, shelter etc. and scarcity of resources due to lack of equitable distribution. Who is going to answer them? Is it Government, Parliament, a trillion Rupee Bollywood-Tellywood entertainment industry, stock market, or economy?
Only ryot can answer these questions. 

For any planning, project, or progress, 'Ryot is the Means and the goal'.

Constructive Criticism raises the issues or context missed in the schema of any event, not only literary work, and comes up with relevant suggestions in larger interests.

Purpose of Art

Art takes place as self expression at any age or in times. Art has no definition. Civil Society may have put art in many divisions, trends or schools etc., but they are superficial.

One may express self in a spontaneous dance, song, scribble in soil, scratch or draw on a wall, make a clay toy, or tell a tale...

Civil society is fond of divisions, grades, castes or classes and hierarchies. Hence it deviates from the essentials. So let us ignore all that nonsense.

Art as self expression comes from experience of reality and emotions. The reality could be Nature, Natural phenomena, other beings - persons, plants, animals... and experience of emotions out of these relationships.

Art transfers energy created from emotions in a creative work, which arrests Entropy. It could otherwise cause mental or physical malady. Art is not a prerogative of the professional or a class.

Community Participation: Paddy farming in Konkan | Image by Pooja Rani
Farming is not recognised by the elite society, though it uses the canvas of land, works in harmony with the Five Elements, fulfills the mainspring of creative art.

Incidentally, Indian tradition recognized 64 arts, which have been life supportive, for society as well as a person and family. My favourite claim is that Farming is the highest art form, which of course, the high culture of civilized society does not support. This is obvious because of its vested interests in the centralized power rested in higher castes/classes.

Purpose of Science

'Life', too, like ‘Art’, is not defined, not even by sciences, though there are dictionary meanings. We, however, understand what Life is (by death of a being that ends 'it' in an inert matter?).

‘God’ concept possibly came from extreme natural phenomena (in the remote aborigine past) to express their power in graphics and rituals.

Scientists, now, may call it a 'God particle' - whatever they claim to have discovered. It is not Truth. The Mystery of Nature continues to deepen!

Science works with analysis, whereas, Art is synthesis, in the civil society. This division did not exist once upon a time when fire, lever, flute, bow and arrow, pottery etc. were discovered.  Art, science or technology, whatever we may call, then, was for the well-being of the people.

There was a time when art, science and technology were not separated, just as now the line between science and technology is diluted because of vested interests in economy.

Critique of Creativity

Creativity for Everyone

 The true purpose of art, science, technology, other disciplines, and also the institutions is the welfare of, not only people, but also of the ‘Other’ (humans) and all the living-beings and their habitat.

Constructive Critique should be levelled at not only art and its various divisions, but also other disciplines, public and private institutions, at a street level. They should be subjected to the Justice by Peoples' Audit, not by courts of law: Justice is above the laws of the State.

Creativity is a buzzword now. It is applied to, from arts to sciences, warheads, engineering, ET-IT, commerce, politics... Almost everything in one go, which comes under the purview of market and consumerism, whosoever their godfathers are, sitting in their plush boardrooms!

However, the quality of creative object is hardly discerned; whether it is constructive or destructive, keeping in mind the 'Other' humans and all other living-beings and their habitat, their dependence on the natural environment, ecology and energy. Keeping in mind the present fast changing scenario, we cannot remain in our protective shells! Remember Tibet!!

It is crucial to look up at Constructive/Destructive Creativity, not in the compartments made by the so called experts, but in the Holistic way of Mother Nature, where no departments exist.

1. Please see the paragraph - Indian Architectural Terms, Essays in early Indian architecture (Book Review)
2. Image 2, Ancient bone flute (30,000 yBP). Image source: New York Times, Flutes Offer Clues to Stone-Age Music.
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Monday, 5 November 2012


A Story of Birthday Bash (Meta-fiction)

By Remigius de Souza

THERE IS AN INCREASING TREND of celebrating birthdays of children at junior schools and at homes, particularly in cities. This, of course, is presently prevalent among the elite class and English-medium convents/missionary and other schools. It is almost an unavoidable ritual.

It was perhaps started at missionary schools imported from abroad or perhaps from Hollywood-Bollywood-Tellywood. It is now customary. Even it is followed for the grownups.

My parents and we the children, coming from peasant families, were spared from this custom. We never celebrated anyone’s birthday then, or none in our native village. None suffered Identity Crisis. Now it is initiated at age one year. I fail to understand its logic.

Identity Crisis

Perhaps it helps to build-up one’s image, individuality, personality, identity or ego? It may be one of the instruments to prepare a child for the forthcoming judgements and comparison in her/his every walk of life.

Perhaps it gives an opportunity for the elders for celebration in otherwise fragmented / mass society; a sense of identity. Children are fully involved in learning — reading books and writing copybooks: talk-talk, read-talk, write-talk, copy-talk, and perhaps once in while think-talk.

They are hardly exposed to learn any other life-supporting skills for self-sustenance until they are adults, or even middle aged. That’s in the elite class.

Particularly in the recent times, the birthday bash must have come handy to bribe the generation of the unwanted, those born after the world-wide family planning campaign. It perhaps also helps to cover up the guilt of adding to the world population. Is it a consolation?

It comes as an easy package to assure the children, who have lost social contact in the stress and strain of urban life. Besides they are also spared from all other possible manual work and skills as a promise of better life by their ambitious parents.

The children, as they grow up, would capitalise on their talk-talk skills acquired at the successive classrooms. More the talk-talk skills acquired at successive stages — school/college/university — better is the income? No wonder the planning, expertise and equity at social levels are in shambles, not only in India but all over the world.

We have heard, the wealthy sometimes celebrated their birthday at sixty by ‘Tula” —  weighing gold or silver or eatables such as ‘Laddus’ equal of their body weight and distribute it among the well-wishers and their subjects.

Proverbially, the age sixty also marks a beginning of second childhood, or the beginning of fading ‘Buddhi’ – intellect/intelligence, or the drooping learning curve.

For centuries we have been celebrating Krishnashtami, Buddha Jayanti, Mahavir Jayanti, Isu Jayanti (Christmas) and others, Jayanti means victory day. They are the great souls. Their “Think-Act-Talk” is synchronised.

Then recently came state-sponsored birthdays: Gandhi Jayanti, Children’s Day, Teachers’ Day, and Ambedkar Jayanti etc. usually in the form of public holidays.

The role of the Government and/or Market

In our Nation, the Agency started campaigns, such as 'HUM DO, HAMARE DO' – We two, ours two. Thanks to the Managers of people's welfare could not reach the masses – royt – in our magnificent cultural diversity, as usual. The slogan failed, like our Public Distribution System (PDS) of Essential Commodities.

Omnipotent Omnipresent Market now supplies Event Managers for every occasion from birth to the final destination (undertaker!). Of course if you are ready to splurge!

Recently I saw Bollywood’s Big B's Birthday Bash on the KBC episode on a TV channel! Very sexy! Amazing feat! A trendsetter!

Who am I?

For me the birthday is very important date. Over the years I have been filling-up hundreds of form, which are mandatory, issued by several establishments.

Sometimes I have to prove even ‘who I am’ by showing an identity card with my photograph issued by another establishment. That’s in real life.
“Who am I?” has been the eternal question before man; but that’s for the philosophers to bother.

A child feels elated – a king for the day. We continue to blow up the candles ten, twenty sixty… times to be forgotten. It is a make-believe world.

Remigius de Souza
04-11-2002 (updated: 01-11-2012)
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.