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Sunday, February 26, 2017


‘Scholars and artists should not be afraid of offending political patrons’-wow great sermon, but I thought it implied not their ideological patrons, other pay masters and those that patronize them otherwise.

Then can the less scholarly be afraid or allowed to be frightened.

I have always noticed that when humanity uses a very incisive and intelligent filter or sieve it can easily identify how certain self styled individuals who are good at only verbally articulating certain things academically without any involvement or integrity have in order to promote themselves, and the ideologies that they perpetuate, have scrupulous blurred the differences between knowledge, understanding, facts, truths, imagination, interpretations, why even lies and have always attempted to bury all under one carpet and mask everything with their egoistic appropriation which can span the entire width of all these by assigning one label ,which may sound dignified and that word is ‘ scholar’

Appropriations of certain terms normally associated with great respect and reverence by minions sully the terms so much that in due course the very mention of the term is associated with untruth and so it is counter- productive.

It may bring instant popularity to some in certain small circles or may get cheap publicity, popularity and pelf too.

But can presumption, self proclaiming because sponsored by some dispensation in power, or getting promoted by ideologically aligned academic institutes, biased publications justify such appropriation of big labels.

Of late, there is a mush room of such intentional controversy generators; promoters of selective divisive agenda; presenters of unverified and unauthenticated information; victim hood peddlers; history distorters, misinterpreters of certain texts, twisters of certain facts and issues and so on.

We address the greatest minds like Newton, Einstein as scientists; Picasso as a great artist and painter; Shakespeare as a great writer; Will Durant as a very great historian; Beethovan as a great composer; Leonardo Da vinci as a versatile genius; Pele as a great football player; Martin Luther King as a great civil right leader; Winston Churchill as a great leader; J.Krsihnamurthy as a great philosopher and so on. The list can be unending all omission are for want of space.

None of them though fall into all parameters of definition of the word ‘scholar’ based on their long association in the field as well as their extraordinary, intelligent, immense, impactful and useful contribution in respective fields.

The hall mark of all of them is their creativity, contribution, capability relevant to the field that they represented.

They never selectively overlooked something or anything in their field of expertise, nor interpreted anything to suit their predefined ideology, nor distorted or deliberately hidden certain facts.

They never allowed anything to restrain their ideas nor constrained others’ ideas through their opinionated interpretations of facts or suppressed facts to claim any special credit as scholars.

Is being a ‘scholar’ means sticking on to a particular school of thought or pandering a particular ideology based institution? Probably yes, if the term ‘scholar’ has not yet hatched out of its original etymology.

Etymologically the word ‘scholar’ emanates from ‘school’ and ‘Fowler points out that in British English it typically has been restricted to those who attend a school on a scholarship.’

That’s why the extended noun scholarship predominantly refers not to any great knowledge or skill but financial help to pursue an academic stream of study.

Fortunately, most Indians know the real meaning and caliber of artists in Bollywood as well as scholars , especially historians or should I call them distorians, who got patronized by Nehruvian ideology peddling institute of eminence.

All the above were my reactions to this

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tamil or Tamizhe- are we teaching properly the language as it must be taught?

Tamil or Tamizhe- are we teaching properly the language as it must be taught?

Have you ever wondered why many day to day communications based important vocabulary eludes the radar of lexicon of Tamil speaking masses, even the people who have studied in Tamil medium?

It is all because we never teach Tamil as a language to anyone but impart only very scholarly literature in the language through text books or let loose lewd slang dialogues through films and thousands of magazines and mutilate it through political parties of Tamil Nadu.

For example I studied many languages and incidentally did my entire schooling in Tamil Medium besides it happens to be my mother tongue, still I have never come across this word because along with various other reasons, which are too many so I do not want to go into that, even the teaching of Tamil in school after the initial alphabets and words in first standard in those days was wrong. From second standard we were taught and made to memorize [mug up] Tirukural, seyyuls [poems] by Appar, Tiruvasakar etc, followed by Naladiyar, kamba ramayanam.

No English school anywhere in the world teaches original of Shakespeare, Robert Browning, Wordsworth etc or even Mark Twain or Charles Dickens until they have studied languages for at least 10 to 12 years.

One of the reasons for relative lack of importance of or impact of Tamil could be this and we have not remedied it yet.

Even indexing in Tamil magazines is not done, except Manjari which was closed long ago, started only recently. So, we need to effect lot of necessary changes in our approach to the language learning, language teaching before our keenness to language spreading and besides our linguistic chauvinism.

Tamil language scholars failed to carry out systematic research in etymology, phonetics [if it all it could be done without bias] and puns [I mean Tamil pun-pazhaya padalgal especially involving spiritual literature] we concentrated more on kavithai, kaviyam, seyyul etc

Because I feel the Tamil ‘pirai kattu’ (because they bundled the olai suvadigal that way with curved crescent shaped dry leaves)from ancient Tamil puns sounds a more logical etymological root for the English ‘brackets’ than these late 16th century: from French braguette or Spanish bragueta ‘codpiece, bracket, corbel’, from Provençal braga, from Latin braca, (plural) bracae ‘breeches’ etc.

Friday, February 24, 2017

World has to march beyond excessive competitive religious symbolism into a more rational humanism

Religious and Political leaders thrive on publicity and unfortunately neither of them learn to inject their agenda more discretely and diplomatically rather than a through unnecessary pomp.

Political leaders have to oblige participating in inaugurating big functions and grand events but then Jaggi need not unnecessarily court controversies when he knows the media is hovering around for such morsels.

When in fact his organization is the world's biggest reforestation/afforestation institute having already planted billions of saplings.

His way of articulating philosophical concepts is really very appealing.
His ability to motivate the high and mighty to give back to society is again great positive.

But then pomposity invites proportionate ire from the open and hidden opponents which could be avoided.

If the same Jaggi had opted as a gift for Shivarathri to built some 5 lakh toilets or homes for the aged or finance the higher education of poor or fund or donate for electrification of many remote villages the whole world would have applauded.

In a country where there are already many excellent temples, big with ancient architectural splendors [and for believers with lot of sanctity too] but many of which are not well maintained I do not think we need one more to preen with pomp unless it is intended as a tourism revenue generating project.

I think we have enough of myths, symbols to beat any other outfit in the world but not even basic necessities or fundamental infrastructure for many.
It would be wiser to prioritize those things and then do these also along side.

It has nothing to do with either Left or Right but prioritizing and addressing more humanistic concerns.

That's what missionaries are supposed to do. Promote their religious agenda, propagate their ideology but simultaneously also provide some vital needs for human beings, like providing for the basic necessities, especially in places with excessive population and lack of facilities.

I like many of his views, I like his talks, I admire his articulation skills, I learn a lot through his teachings, I have been to this place many times, very nice but with the usual clout of followers who look at everyone with a overbearing patronizing attitude that irritates, as if they have descended from some superior planet and we are submissive spirits lurking around for survival.

This is of course a sickening syndrome in almost all Indian educational institutions and religious places in India where the authorities manning them not only take your money but treat you as if you are an inferior species desperately seeking some favors for survival.

All said and done the world has to march beyond excessive and sometimes obsessive, pompous and competitive religious symbolism into a more rational humanism with concern for the whole planet for posterity rather than focusing more on perpetuating, fostering, bolstering and building more and more citadels for ideological or religious identity.

Very often it turns counterproductive as all the good and great works, as in the case of many religious outfits in India, get blurred and buried by the debates and criticism that these types of activities invariably invite.

Steven Pinker on Good Writing, with Ian McEwan

Language lovers, aspiring writers and voracious readers do not miss this.

Steven Pinker on Good Writing, with Ian McEwan

No better person than him. Every book of his and talk of his is a very useful and educative manual for not only writers, language lovers, linguists but for all those who want to have an in depth perspective and get inspiring ideas into many subjects which he writes.

All his talks, debates, group discussions, interviews, books are long but livid and lucid and therefore I love and lap them up.

‘Backing claims with evidence’ is the present day liberal way of writing.
Punctuation must not stop the flow of thoughts.

On etymological fallacies also, if ‘dece’ has to be etymologically only 10 then must we change ‘December as tenth month’ and many more.

Once a Harvard professor suggested me to read ‘How the mind works’, which I did read and enjoyed every bit of it. I asked him ‘can you suggest some book on ‘How to make it work’. He said jokingly ‘had I known I would not be teaching at Harvard nor talking to you.’

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Relationships- require a strong dosage of humane reciprocation

Relationships- require a strong dosage of humane reciprocation  

Living with certain humane values at all times preferably with everyone is the best reciprocation we can offer to the other souls.

Relationship, morality a long write up some of which are repetitions of certain things I have written on earlier occasions in my blog posts.

As you say Murali it is in many cases obvious that mostly socially enforced morality is due to lack of opportunity or capacity or both.

However, though this happens to be obviously one among the many facts we cannot become oblivious to other facts by over generalizing.

There are various layers and lies in relationships.

Physical and material comforts together predominate mostly.

Everything and anything that feed these needs therefore dominate most relationships at fundamental level though they may not dominate the discourse in society.

They are like a foundation as after all, we are basically animals of a particular species.

Refinement comes with effort, constant cultured upbringing, conscious awareness and intension to become and be a refined and more humane human being followed by manifestation of concomitant emotions and actions and sometimes refined behavior is also manifested through pretension.

So, which layers of relationships get prioritized and when, decide the quality and durability of a relationship.

That’s why in any relationship starting from birth till death there are multiple factors and facets of compatibility with all its expectations and reciprocations and hardly any relationship can be always hundred percent [100%] perfect on various compatibilities.

Besides, like in any aspect of life’s evolutionary trends multiple considerations are involved and injected into every form of relationship with changing circumstances, contexts and situations.

Therefore, trying to confine any relationship within any label as sacred, religious, socially important etc do not hold water for those very reasons.

However, all said and done real and strong relationships in realm of life, are not forged, framed or formed but they are founded on certain innately cherished impulses, common interests and inter related involvements and they need not necessarily have to be time bound –either until further notice or forever come what may.
The warranty of most relationships are based on certain positive values and feelings like unqualified  love or reciprocal treatment of kindness preferably manifested more frequently, besides trust, cooperation, comfort, compassion, humility, sharing and caring, willingness to adjust and to forgive , gratitude and so on.
But most marriages now, and I hold the society of elders guilty, have been reduced to a pompous wedding rituals followed by either openly negotiated or tacitly agreed upon contractual obligations.

The fundamentals of relationship in additions to positive values enumerated earlier are sentiments of various hues, spontaneous affections, emotions, attractions (of any aspect) devoid of socially anointed taboos.

Honestly, if we touch our consciousness and have a conversation with it, then, we all may review our relationships to redefine, refine, sincerely rework or dump them.

Living involves myriad methods and dynamics as it passes through various situations and contexts.

RelationShip is one of the many ships that float or sail through in the ocean of life.

Various factors are important, impact and influence different relationships at different times.

So, we need to understand the context, content, character and contribution of each and every relationship in proper perspective, rather than making over simplified or over general statements involving the word relationship.

So,  we need to develop, design and deliver deftly a well balanced combination of these various dimensions and dynamics which decide lot of things concerning our life , mainly our relationships- i.e. how we relate with everyone else, our own self, everything else and all that exists  and lives outside us and crops up inside us.

I am against usage of terms loosely as well as following things ritualistically without inner involvement.

Life is after all not mere chronology of existence but a meaningful topology of relationships.

We cannot experience life based on past templates nor future projections but can experience life as a live activity at present in the present situation or context.

However, we can imbue our attitude in dealing with any context with some time- tested humane values like compassion, love, forgiveness, humility, sharing and caring.

These will ensure that even during spur of the movement, spontaneous or short tempered reactions, the hurt or negative impact will be less or at least less violent.

Along with these attitudes we must also ensure that every word and deed are- out of concern - calculated, measured, nuanced and calibrated to the context but taking into consideration all the sensitivities and sensibilities of all involved.

Therefore, words and deeds have to be also   nice and diplomatically delivered.

Most importantly egocentric psychological interpretation of actions must be avoided because it will see adjustments or cooperation as compromise and so on.

Every relationship is a many faceted splendor and all the facets together contribute to the splendor, whether it is with persons, books, movies, any art, music, culture, tradition, gadgets, environment, vehicles or anything.

The splendor is revealed depending on what lights we use to see these facets.

The bright lights are good attitudes, adjustments, aesthetic appreciation, compromises, collaborations, co-operation, and contentment and so on.

The dim lights are confrontations, control and command mode behavior patterns, ego generated competing, manipulations, scheming, politicizing, hidden agenda, simmering discontent, lurking suspicions, ulterior motives, ingratitude and so on.

Every vibration of every action or reaction or situation is based on relationship i.e. how we relate to/with other persons and things and every relationship is based on reciprocation.

I feel in the ultimate analysis everything is about how we relate with others, with things, with ideologies, with various identities, with the whole environment etc that is going to determine our role and relevance in the world and in our own life. 

The poetry of life and relationship in general has some inherently important, interesting and inevitable refrain. They are broadly as given below and therefore during the course of this write up they may be repeated often:-

That everyone and everything is interconnected, inter related and interdependent in at least some aspects and with varying degrees of intensity.

Everything must be evaluated based on contextual relevance and contribution to life as a whole [which implies the whole physical environment as well as psychological and social environment].

 Every aspect of life has its own intrinsic and inherent attributes/merits which must be smoothly aligned with life and its myriad relationships through proper attitudes.

It is preferable to immerse any topic or subject matter, primarily and basically with its intrinsic elements/components/aspects/attributes intact, into a cauldron which has a mixture of all these- knowledge based analysis, limited perception based on frames of reference and scales of observation, skepticism , criticism, intellectual scrutiny, compassionate emotionalism, humane socialism, rational thinking, contextual relevance [ which includes too many components] , traditions, practical viability, psychological comfort, aesthetic sensitivity, scientific scrutiny etc and churn the cauldron without clinging on to any particular restrictive social, cultural or political or religious identity.

This process inevitably will bring out lot of outputs. We can exercise our freedom and sometimes select and choose some of the outputs. Sometimes the outputs will draw us.

Sometimes away from all or any of our intended searches and seeking, outside the circle of these known paradigms, almost tangentially serendipity will drag us to an oasis of serene clarity.

At all costs the intrinsic attributes must be the predominant factor so that whatever is thrown into the cauldron and however it is churned, the ultimate output must include those attributes so that evaluation is not distorted or desperately doctored to fit into any predefined and expected outcome.

So, what pans out ultimately depends on various factors and aspects some of which are explainable within the ken of logical and rational thinking but some are beyond these.

We can also observe uneasily how the human intellect polished by a rare faculty [compared to other species] of conscious awareness, capacity to think, store the knowledge, retrieve it for reference etc, is mostly, unwilling to take the risk of accepting the uncertain; the intellectually undecipherable and the inexplicable outcomes, even if such acceptance is branded, extolled and promoted as virtues of humility or modesty.

All said and done life has to be enjoyed through living and relationships have to be experienced in the churning process of life. We cannot mask them with any mumbo- jumbo or avoid them through any other means, imaginations, dreams etc however well packaged or marketed or sanctified they may be.

What is happening to relationships now?

Unfortunately, to use the commercial jargon, there is a paradigm shift in viewing relationship by some people of the present generation.

They compartmentalize relationship into different categories. They categorize relationship on a graph as useful, usable, allowing to be used and proportionately their different relationships get disturbed, degraded and destroyed. The more and more they allow themselves to be used for something by someone then it can gradually lead to depression and can at times even become deadly.

They think if betrayal can benefit why not give a kick to gratitude. They have no qualms about placing selfish personal comforts and gratifications over everything else.

That’s why relationships are researched with more emphasis on the prefixes and/or suffixes that are attached to them like marital relationship, professional relationship, family relationship, emotional relationship, intellectual relationship etc.  

These prefixes /suffixes indicate certain specific situations/contexts and certain elements /aspects/factors which predominate in a relationship. They do not define the totality of a relationship.

For example in a professional relationship one may not deal only with purely professional /official matter one will also be concerned about the personal welfare or circumstances either sad or happy one of the other with whom one is professionally engaged. Similarly by emotional relationship it does not mean just any particular emotion but also all other factors that form part of the relationship.

Relationships are not nets meant to get entangled but great networks of connectivity to catch completeness and gain from totality of everything because all are interconnected, inter related and interdependent in at least some aspects and with varying degrees of intensity.

But all relationships irrespective of the prefixes and suffixes they carry are based on certain time tested universal principles and certain humane values, it is these values which are the many facets that give the shine to relationships.

Living with certain humane values in our day to day life is worthier than any other great achievement. We do not need any expertise or special qualification or sanctions to practice these values.

For example sentiments of caring and sharing, if not towards all, at least towards people related to us and whom we come across in life is very important because the impact of such values and principles are too tangible, stark and perhaps stinging at times.

Even when we are aware of all the components of relationships we cannot either make collages or collations and deal with relationship but as mentioned earlier life carries on its constant churning process through various aspects and unfortunately we are aware of only some aspects because of our selective frames of references and all other limitations.

So we must strive to live by certain positive values that we may have inherited and/or acquired and also try our best to bequeath the same to our children.

Very often people take the route of blaming the circumstances as that becomes an easy excuse and say because of various sufferings, problems, frustrations, failures etc they could not lead a life with certain positive values.

Similarly some people who become a little prosperous in their life either in power, pelf or position, they  let everything disappear under their super imposing ego which gets so inflated that they are clouded by a false sense of immortality to external things quiet oblivious of the mortal frame which houses such ego. 

What no one realizes is that we all are after all have certain inevitable limiting factors :- we have a mortal frame made of biochemical organisms which are bound to decay and die one day and even that like our birth is, in most cases, not chosen by us,  but happens all the same.

Reality is harsh and humbling in many ways. All of us always do what we can, what we want to and what we are destined to do. At times one or some of these things predominate over the rest. But irrespective of any of these three i.e. what we can, want to and destined to do, the platform from which we perform them are our inherent attributes and our attitudes.

Unless these two are tuned properly the frequency at which we may encounter life will be jarring and make us realize things the very harsh way.

So, living with certain humane values at all times preferably with everyone is the best reciprocation we can offer to the other souls.

TV serials in India

Mistake is not television channels but people still wasting time passively watching many channels. Choice is ours.

We can always get a big screen PC or Lab top and watch many entertaining, informative and useful stuff as well.

All said and done Indians are far far behind in audio visual media for various reasons which are too voluminous to mention here.

They have lost creativity and originality long back; the rare good ones in any Indian language in audio visual media are at best a copies.

Added to these we have become too sensitive to allow anything different ;

Culturally we have become too sensitive and are looking for controversies and resort to unloving criticism if at all anyone attempts anything different .

This has fertilized a breed of upstarts with perversion who superficially extrapolate socialistic justifications for aesthetic arts and look for aesthetic beauty in social reforms.

There is a overall perversion, chaos and excessive politicization of both Left and Right extremism wherein the casualty is art,culture and entertainment .

News channels,the less we talk about them the better, in brief, are all paid and focus mainly on scandals and controversies-business wise correct and once in a while present some positivism like a pinch of salt in huge cauldron of Sambar, to ensure our blood pressure does not shoot up.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Questions and Answers

Tom Stoppard, “My whole life is waiting for the questions to which I have prepared answers”.

Some such quotes shake up the thought process and stir us to reflect on our past, present and future and end up setting us to question lot of things in the process.

1. Oh what a quote from Tom Stoppard, “My whole life is waiting for the questions to which I have prepared answers”.

2. Excellent and I used to say these in my adolescent life but then slowly life's experiences splashed the scent of humility on me [I use the word scent because we are not sure which letter is silent in ‘scent’ either the‘s’ or ‘c’] and humility too lingers only temporarily like a whiff of scent till the pungent fragrances of ego, prosperity, popularity and so on drive it away or subdue it or place it in abeyance.

3. Slowly after that I started seeking answers to many things and at some point realized the meaning of also awaiting questions for some answers probably because as Ram Dass  says, “Across planes of consciousness, we have to live with the paradox that opposite things can be simultaneously true.” 

4. However, I never failed nor still fail to question anything as I feel that educates me in a way and also help me to get better clarity, not necessarily acceptance or approval or rejection or refusal as Rainer Maria Rilke says, “I beg you… to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

There are certain questions for which one can never get convincing and satisfactory answers but just ask the question and remain silent because they have to be realized or felt as indicated in Tirumoolar Tirumanthiram in a verse titled, Kelvi ketu amidhal’

Even Voltaire said, “Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is”.

Then ultimately I realize the immense value of this statement.
विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् 
पात्रत्वाद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं ततः सुखम् 
vidyA dadAti vinayaM, vinayAdyAti pAtratAM |
pAtratvAddhanamApnoti, dhanAddharmaMtataH sukhaM || 5 ||

(true/complete) knowledge gives discipline [humility], from discipline [humility] comes worthiness, from worthiness one gets wealth, from wealth (one does) good deeds, from that (comes) joy.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


If we create a wordle for ‘Diversity’ then it may throw up certain inevitable terms which have very deep meanings, multiple shades of meanings and myriad interpretations.

All these are almost eternally relevant, present, and unavoidable but need to be understood in proper perspective without either denying or defying them.

They are broadly:- Variety, Identity veneration, Extremism, Division, Synergy, Tolerance, Global outlook and governance, Unity, Perspective and Attitude.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Politics as a predominant and all pervasive factor

Politics is a very important and inevitable component of social evolution.

Politics, can we avoid it in any domain?

And does punctuation really requires a very fastidious scrutiny?

Well. One cannot play an instrument without tuning nor paint a canvass without drenching the brush in paint.

1. When everything from the price and quality of tooth paste you use after you wake up in the early morning to the electricity charges for your bed room night lamp is determined by political dispensation of some form or other it is rather bad to be indifferent to politics, though one need not or can refrain from active or hyper active participation and also avoid getting entrenched in it.

2. Let me address this punctuation issue and then come to the rest.

When thoughts, ideas, opinions gush forth like a cascade or a cyclone little do they bother about the twigs and saplings on the way. The flow and force get prioritized and the recipient is not even in the scheme of things.
I suggest everyone to read one of world’s leading linguist Steven Pinker’s [of Harvard ]‘The sense of style’ -‘The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century’ -from page 284 on Punctuation. This chapter covers very comprehensively the complete width and depth of  the uses and usefulness of punctuations.
“ The problem for the writer is that punctuation indicates prosody in some places, syntax in others, and neither of them consistently anywhere…..Even the sticklers cannot agree how to stickle….In 2003 the journalist Lynne Truss in her wonderful book ‘Eats, Shoots &Leaves’ ..decries the punctuation errors she  spotted in ads,..newspapers. In 2004 New Yorker Review the critic Louis Menand decries punctuation errors he spotted in Truss’s book. In Guardian …the English scholar John Mullan decries the punctuation flaws he spotted in Menand’s review”
The world functions on thoughts and ideas and not punctuation marks.

3. Politics is so pervasive the more you avoid it the more you get drawn into it, so none of the subjects mentioned by you are unsullied by politics.

4. I have read the best books of politics in those domains namely science, language, philosophy and by extension history of civilization which involved these three subjects and I have also written blogs posts on these for which I shall give the links.

5. Before I proceed further by politics we can broadly mean or confine our definition based on merely denotation [not the multiple connotations] as scheming, domination, command and control mechanism, appropriating or taking undue credits and allegations, depriving what is due to the correct entity or person. In this aspect politics is a very important component of social evolution.

6. Science:-

7. Language:-

8.  History: - Here I am confining only to recent ones for easy reference to authenticity

9. Philosophy:- what is meant by it?
Most of the popular encyclopedias on philosophy do not have even references to Ramana Maharishi, J. Krishna Murthy, Sri Aurobindou, Osho, Bertrand Russell, worse still Confucius, Voltaire some of the best philosophers.

10. The following badly made transcript of a speech is really worth reading for its content

11. Politics:-

12. Politics in arts is too vast.

13. Sports and politics go hand in hand and so in my opinion we cannot avoid politics in any domain.