Timeless History

Which histories are more difficult to write? While the lack of reliable sources plagues our explorations of the ancient pasts, the present is troubled by an overload of information surrounded by a political environment that has embraced the historian just as much as it has the reader. Also lingering is the unsolved questions for which any historian will have to resort to her moral/political judgement. What Nehru writes in his books, in the given political scenario of his time, is markedly different from what the imperial historians or the modern day historians will write of the ancient Indian civilisation.  In historical writings of more recent phases (such as the freedom struggle)- which bear a great weightage on any nation state- the challenge is even greater since the political environment is much charged up, and the rulers define what questions are legitimate.

During my college years, I had practiced the old saying- just learn your lessons from history without glorifying it. While I do largely agree to it, my recent readings of history have made me a little skeptical of lessons learned. Often what is taught as history is some person’s wet dream. Even the ancient past, that looks so far away from us that in our beliefs it could not possible touch us, haunts us through it murky ghosts. The nature of Hindu society, the Hindu-Muslim relations, and the status of Shudra in Varna system being some of the questions that need a modern political solution than the tainted justifications by historians.

The Aryans of early Vedic years were largely a pastoral people and gave little value to dates. Perhaps they knew of the futility of keeping record when men made the same mistakes in every day and age. Perhaps, then, the stories and parables of the ancient kings (even though untrue) are the only useful lessons  we can draw out of our pasts, the rest is just political manifesto.

Family Time

What is it about being about a father that forces you to be a goofy and stupid guy that tells silly old jokes to his kids and forgets household chores and watches comedy shows on TV. Is it that the media enforces it on you? Or that the responsibility of fatherhood brings these traits along? Or maybe guys are just born that way?  With the relative experience of life that I have, I am pretty sure that the last option is not really the answer. I have come across a huge number of guys who would rather die as disciplined punctual bitches than live life easy- in other words, they are really driven.

My guess is that the burden of a family brings out the goofiness in you. After an age, you can’t be goofy around town(though that is certainly not true about my father).  So you see an escape in your family, a helpless audience to your poems and jokes and board-games. The purpose, of course, is to keep them happy- but also to help you connect with yourself. The same goes with motherhood as well. Rumors afloat that women are not the best friends you can have, yet when you see any family- 4 out of 5 times the mother is the secret-keeper of her kids and much more for her husband. Probably parenthood slows you down so you can see yourself for who you really are. Must make you want to run away  🙂


PS- This train of thought struck me which watching Rick and Morty, and Family Guy and The Simpsons which I used to watch earlier.

Swimming In A Soup Of Misinformation

Frank pereira is the host of a news show called The Big Picture on RSTV which I have been watching for some years now. He started conducting the show only recently after the sad and untimely demise of Girish Nikam. One of his recent shows drew my attention to the power that news anchors (or anyone conducting any event) command over the direction of a discourse. You watch as a mute spectator, listening to these suited people of respect behind a grandiose desk and some virtual background that gives the appearance as if the discussion is in some boardroom and is indeed a serious one. One of the roles of a conductor, though not mentioned explicitly, is how much time is assigned to which stream of thought. This has lead to a most unethical style of functioning, and is part the infrastructure of the ruling class.

To be sure, the west has been using this trick for all too long. Polish-British sociologist Ralph Miliband argued in 1973 of the role media plays  in forcing people to think in a directed way about their society. The media presents a narrow range of ‘approved’ views and knowledge leading to very few alternative points to be presented. Similar views by Tunstall and Palmer (1991) given in Haralambos which I quote for the lack of better knowledge of the English language:

“… the governments are no longer interested in controlling the activities of media owners. Rather, ‘regulatory favors’ and ‘deregulation’ (the dismantling of state rules aimed at preventing media owners from gaining too much power)   are becoming the norm- newspapers owned by a conglomerate will directly support a government or neglect to criticize government policy , or will even withhold information from the general public, in return for governments failing to enforce media regulations or even abolishing them altogether. “


The famous disaster of the media industry- the tragedy of Iraq war is a case that is fresh in mind of every citizen around the world. Almost 14 years since that “err in judgement”(the phrase that the media defends itself with) sadly, we as the onlookers have learned little.

Media bias in the Iraq dossier affair?

To rally support for [the 2003 Iraq] war, the Prime Minister’s office published a dossier of charges against Iraq in September 2002. It claimed, among other things, that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMD)within 45 minutes. Yet with no WMD used by Iraqi forces in the ensuing war and none found, the dossier’s veracity came under suspicion .One of its allegations, which George Bushmade part of his 2003 state-of-the-union address, was discredited by intelligence sources. Then, in June 2003, a BBC journalist accused Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s chief spin-doctor, of having ‘sexed up’ the dossier against the wishes of Britain’s security services (in particular,inserting the ’45-minute’ claim).
But the BBC refused to back down,sparking a furious row with the government.This took a tragic turn when a government scientist[Dr David Kelly] who’d been exposed as the mainsource of the BBC’s story committed suicide. An inquiry into his death, which reported in January 2004, cleared the government of’sexing up’ the dossier and largely – but not wholly – vindicated the scientist’s employers, the Defence Ministry Criticism was instead heaped on the BBC,prompting the resignations of its director-general and chairman of governors.A related inquiry into intelligence failures,headed by Lord Butler, in July 2004 cleared the government of any deliberate attempt to mislead Parliament. But it did suggest that Mr Blair was prepared to exaggerate what turned out to be fairly thin evidence to bolster the case for a war. A parliamentary investigation cleared Mr
Campbell of this charge (he resigned in August 2003).
Source: © The Economist Newspaper Limited,
London, 5 April 2005


Power today is a feast of vultures, and you are not invited. I end with Edward Murrow’s grim but hopeful words : Goodnight and good luck.


A forced laugh

What we set out to contribute to the world depends a lot on what the society in our day and age allows us to do. A realist interpretation of the world forces rationalism to our romantic ideas of change and give the pathway to achieving those dreams – halfway or to completion, depending on the variables of a world in flux.

The individual and society are in a dynamic relationship of mutual learning. Each depends on the other for survival, well-being, growth,  and fulfillment. This dynamism often allows little scope for much divergence from status quo. Any anomaly is quickly addressed and normalcy restored in a hush. Individual heroism and grand changes of ideas are possible only during times of revolution- times which entail the cost of great human sufferings that allow for a rapid change in social norms.

That is not to say that our place in the universe is of mere spectator of this grand show. As rational beings, we play our part given the limitations that each carries. To expect mill worker in today’s India to protest for her rights as in the days of the British rule without paying due considerations to her economic and family conditions would be romaticization of ideas that are away from reality. Great sacrifices need worse times.

Life is like a magic show and you are called upon stage by the magician. She tells you that she will pullout eggs from your mouth and you have agreed. Its not deception and cheating. The audience know what is on stage is not real. You agree to play the part the people wanted you to play.  But when the eggs do come out, you give out a forced laugh, a sense of surprise and astonishment- for the shared happiness.

On Obsessions

Our obsession defines us. The become part of our reality- the rational as well as the unreal, both merged into a moving picture dancing around our eyes with short intervals that allow us to see the outside world…. but the intervals are soon over. We grab some pop-corn and come back, occupy our seats with our neighbors and continue with the show.

Night and day, we get consumed by ideas that perhaps had a very week beginning. But that frail start is long forgotten, what has remained is a grandiose castle of dream with pillars of faith surrounding- supporting this mirage. Dreams are indifferent from consciousness, so much so that when you wake up and think about the dream you just had, you long for some more of that intoxicating slumber. You wish to see what happened next. But then, like a drunkard in search for food, just so that he can keep himself alive and have more of his avarice pandered, you move out of bed and continue with the routine you were taught once when you were young- when you were too young to understand that the society around you was forcing drug down your brain.

But now you have seen the world. Now you know it’s all unreal, and all that moves around in world-  a high does of money, power, habits, lechery, everything- is a drunken dance which will be over when the night’s gone. Hark, you have seen it all, you have been to this party before. And today, you are sober-  you know where this leads. You would rather wake up aware than enjoy a hallucination. Good morning.