Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Understanding the motive for any action is always very difficult. Physics and Mathematics perhaps try to completely avoid such questions since here we are mostly happy at the stage of answering the "How?" and everytime we go near to answering "Why?" we console ourselfves by trying to give a general structure which will give the current question as a special case and hence we have morphed the question of "Why?" into searching for a larger structure.

But then unfortunately life is not simple. Here to survive we have to understand 2 different kinds of motives and there is no way we can avoid either of the questions for long ::

Q1. What is my motive for doing what I am doing ?
Q2. What is the other person's motive in doing what he/she is doing ?

Somehow I am a little fortunate since I can understand my motives for doing things very clearly. May be at times the motives are things which the rest of the worl will not agree to being a "good" motive. But then mostly my motives can be classified into the following types ::

a) Search for beauty either in the mortal sense or in the sense of an aesthetic theory.
b) Search for professional succcess and recognition.
c) Search for love or a deep relationship with someone.

Ofcourse its a different question as to how able I am in succeeding in these motives. I feel that inspite of my most sincere and hardest efforts even at the cost of my professional motives I have some fundamental inability or some kind of a blockade in succeding in my last motive. May be the answer lies in my genetic sequence or in my fate.

Similarly though I am more able in pursuing the first 2 motives but still my achievemnts have been far far below the critical value which would give me satisfaction. But then somehow most people believe that I am never going to attain that critical value. If they are true then ofcourse I have been written off by my life and I have been dumped by my fate.

I am consciously trying to avoid this terribly demotivating influence of these people.

Anyway at any rate what is most complex is the fact that I also need to understand the motives of other people's actions and the following issues confront me here ::

a) Most people are a bit too undecided about things and they themselves arent sure of their own motives and hence interacting with them gets really tough.

b) If the other person's motives are simply to harm me then the motive is easiest to detect.

c) If the other person is sincerely trying to help me then what becomes crucial to understand is the mental frame in which this other person is trying to help me which can be of the following types ::
1. That person feels that I am inferior to him/her and hence is lending me a favour.
2. That person is in some sort of a compulsion to help me.
3. That person is seekig some favour from me and hence is helping me.
4. That person is helping me as an equal with a collaborative attitude.

Unfortunately as we as human beings are evolving and becoming more sophisticated we have acquired greater and greater skills in hiding or disguising our motives. Especially people are becoming more and more capable in disguising the difference between the motives of the kind 1. , 2. and 3.

I feel that a critical analysis of human evolution and development will tell us that the stage of evolution human species are essentially characterized by one and only one factor ::
"our ability to disguise our emotions and motives"

People are scared to accept their faults and weaknesses and shirk from the possibility of being pointed out about them. Mostly people are scared to face the fact they need help and even more scared to face the fact that they might be under some compulsion. People seem to want to believe that they are living in a free world and that they are all doing what they want to do and enjoy. They seem to take the fact that they have lots of bindings and restrictions on them as an insult.

But as a result of all this one thing is surely becoming complex and that is interactions. One nevre knows whether one is seeing the real person or a guise. I feel scared to interprete and I am never sure whether the other person means what he/she is saying and whether I should belive or not. I feel that this world and the experiences of living in it have deeply impregnated in me a dictum of doubt :: "Doubt everything that you see around you"

It takes so much effort nowadays to even believe that the other person is happy when I see the other person smiling at me. Today there are so many different malicious reasons for a person to smile!

A world where even a smile cant be belived and I must exist in it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A stand-alone machine

At times it becomes essential that one learns to live like a solitary machine which takes as input all the knowledge that has been produced by the human race and processes them and gives as output a new contribution to that reservoir.

A machine which works day and night and which works disjoint from everything else as if it is the only thing that exists in the universe and the only other thing that exists is that reservoir of concepts.

A machine which needs nothing more than the basic fuel to sustain itself and which understands nothing else but the purpose for which it produce more concepts. A single , solitary aim of the machine. A complete dedication to the purpose of its creation , a level of dedication which no human being can ever hope to attain since human beings need emotions to survive along with the fuel.Its capabilities are limited by only the program written onto its chip and nothing else.

A machine which by definition doesnt feel or respond to any undulation in this universe except fluctuations in the concept reservoir to which it is connected.

The machine is in a state of solitude and disconnection that it is close to that state of dedication where it becomes oblivious of even its own existence and is aware of only the reservoir and the purpose.

The machine doesn't respond to anything expect fluctuations in the concept reservoir.

This machine is the goal of existence. This machine-state is the purpose of life.

But I am yet to give an output.

The reservoir...The machine...The purpose.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

60th year of Independence in a land of more than 1000 female foeticides a day.

We are of course in a self congratulatory mood on the the 60th year of Independence of India.

Yes India the land which has revealed to the world most fundamental principles of nature like Bose statistics of integral spin particles and black holes. Yes India where more than 1300 female foetuses are killed a day. A land where 6000 women are killed each year over dowry issue. A land where 5000-7000 girls in the age group of 10-40 are subjected into the world of prostitution.

10 million female foetues being killed in India over the last 2 decades far exceeds the total number of people killed in both the world wars. A figure which has far surpassed the estimates of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen about the "missing women" of India.

Foetuses being dumped in polythene bags in the vats or new Born girl babies being wrapped in wet cloth so that they catch pneumonia and then after a lot of hue and cry they can be declared dead by causing a delay. Girl newborns being killed by selective ultrasonography.Or simply the poorest of the poor sections of the society starving the new born girl bay to death.

Many times the hand that kills the baby is the mother's.But as an expert in this field had commented "The hand is hers and not the will"

This is India which revels in its achievements of having a half daughter of hers to be selected to be sent to the space on a foreign vehicle. Of course we have enough achievements to be proud of but then everything is perhaps too ephemeral to cause a difference at the grass roots and the deep seated ideas of sexual discrimination. Our most realistic achievements have been in the process of increasing the efficiency and number of wealth generating machines also known as industrialization.But all this has perhaps resulted in greater disproportion in wealth concentration. One can always say that the the bottom of the economic scale has shifted up by quite a lot compared to where we were 60 years ago but then unfortunately this scale has an amazing elasticity constant. The upper ends have moved up by exponential amounts than what the lower ends have moved up.

But then a little bit of thought perhaps shows that India is not suffering from any large scale economic crisis and it perhaps never will. The issue that confronts India is the issue of discrimination. Discrimination on all sorts of grounds starting from race , caste , creed , religion etc. But most importantly on the basis of sex.

A good question to ask on this 60th year of independence is "What is the fraction of people of India who are contributing to the nation's progress?"

I had earlier written a few articles on the issue of the plight of typical housewives. In the same strain let me ask the following question "Is the housewife's ability to contribute to the nation's progress being fully used by letting her do the household chores?"

A nation progresses can be effected only when everyone's potential is utilized maximally. By subjugating a huge section of the society to an almost non-contributing state , a nation is bound to doom. If a huge section of the population is to believe that its only the men who are capable of being the earning member of the family then one must ask a simple question "Why did nature choose to create the two sexes and not just one?"

I am sure that the reason goes just beyond the need to procreate for the continuation of the species other than the fact that nature chooses to shift from asexual to sexual reproduction as the species becomes more complex and developed. The reasons for this must lie somewhere deep down.

But one thing is surely convincing , that nature did not create the opposite sex just as tools of procreation! Even after 59 celebration of Independence a huge section of the Indian population doesn't realize that both the sexes have equal and complementary roles to play in the progress.

Now we must also realize the other end of the problem. How deep and complex is the trouble into which the parents of a girl child are dumped into if the family happens to be down the socio-economic scale ? Hasn't the problem got recursive ? We need a huge work force of women to stand up hands in hands with their male counterparts and the large sections of them who are born down the economic scale must die because they are a burden to their families ?

What is the way out of this vicious circle ?

Can the persons who will save the nation out of this vicious circle be those rare and appreciable cases of women in the upper strata that we see to be walking into the professional as well as the fundamental science departments of the best institutes in India ? Or are those rare ladies from the so called "backward classes" of the society the light of hope out of this trouble ?

Or does it need a tremendous coordination of efforts from both ends of the social spectrum ?

The situations is really terrifying as to what lies in the future of a father of a girl child is born in a family lower down the economic scale. If we start assuming that he has no chauvinistic views even then he wont have the nerve to break across the social customs and rules and his so called "obligations". He wont be able to resist the society around him which will convince him that the girl child is a sinking stone around the neck of the family and that she is nothing but a financial burden. He wont be able to resist the social pressure which will convince him that the girl will never be able to be a self-earning person and he will be forced to believe that the girl needs to be married off so as to "unload" himself of this economic burden.

All the above things are sure to sound mundane to anyone who has done even the slightest reading in this issue or has cared to make first-hand observations about such families. Its true that the nation is tired of listening to these problems and finds such things as soporific as the issue of public-private partnership issues in entrepreneurship.

But then one cant ignore that even after 60 years of independence our problems haven't changed! It has either changed forms or has just been uniformly scaled up. Most of our developments have perhaps resulted in the concentration of wealth to get more disproportionate or has lead to administration and effective powers to be getting more and more shifted to the already affluent class of the society.

But then the question that I find most fearsome is that in pre-independence era we could have slighted off all such issues by saying that its the British's fault or that the person at the receiving end is afraid of the oppressive foreign power , but then now whom are we to blame ?

In today's scenario one must ask as to "Who" form that section of the society of whom that poor parents of a girl child are afraid of , that he cant give voice to their innermost wishes to see their daughter prosper as a progressive individual ? Who form the section of the society of whom the parents are afraid ? What are the factors that the parents choose to give more importance than the most natural instincts of a parent to see their child prosper ?

Are they afraid of that section of the society which still blindly believes scriptures written by Manu which supposedly contain statements like 'Let a girl-child be born somewhere else and let a boy be born here"

Are they the section of the society who have risen to become local creators of destiny by virtue of their birth in a "higher class" ? Is it the fear to be ostracized by the society and to be secluded and to lose their means of income due to isolation what forces the family to not let their natural wishes bloom ?

What prevents the parents of the girl-child from standing up and revolting against the forces that pressurize them to do away with the child and to assert their rights ? What prevents them from turning around and slapping the person and killing him/her who ill advises them about the girl child?

If we as a nation are to resolve to provide financial support to each such family then will the possibility of economic rehabilitation instill the basic minimum courage in such families to rise against the social forces that press them towards doing injustice towards their girl child ?

The other more subtle factor is that of education. The government officials and the policies seem to have been believing that education will eradicate all social troubles. I really find it tough to accept this logic. Its the finest of educated minds that have created the most sophisticated of techniques to do the evilest of medical crimes. I have seen a relative of mine , who was a teacher to have been crying incessantly when her son's wife gave birth to a girl child. I am not at all convinced that education will make a difference.

I believe the problem shows up in different colours at the two ends of the economic spectrum. At the lower end the issue is economic and at the upper end it is stinking chauvinism. We still seem to carry somewhere deep within our subconscious the millennium old idea of society and of what it must be. Its time we searched within ourselves and cleared the last vestiges of such ideas that may be lurking within.

But within our peer group I think we again need a different perspective. When are we going to stop thinking like in typical romantic literature where the guy feels elated being defeated by her in a duel !!? Its time we looked upon them not as "needy" sections of the society but as a section of the society who if given the right platform to duel will perform to their best and a section of the society who have been given unnecessary amounts of concessions.

I think its more of an insult rather than a help when a person's motives are facilitated by lowering the bar for them. Train them to jump higher rather than pushing the bar selectively lower.

Its time we made attempts to understand the meaning of love and marriage to see the real meaning of such interactions. Aren't these emotions , that nature has gifted us with to feel the need to coordinate between the sexes to recognize the mutual complementarity of abilities. Isn't the essential purpose to enhance the feeling of comradeship between the two sexes ?

We need to look at such interactions as means of rejuvenating the society through the feeling of camaraderie instead of a way of one supporting the other. Perhaps nothing surges a nation forward at a faster speed than the intricate healthy bonds between the 2 sexes starting from a the simplest of emotions of passionate love between couples. Nothing pushes a nation backward at a faster rate than its society getting preferential between the sexes.

Let us dedicate this 60th year of independence to the cause of stopping the silent mass holocaust of girl child in India and to ensure that the future Independence Day's are celebrated by an India where the women and men from every section of the society ,stand hand in hand for the national cause.


A reference for the people who arent convinced of the facts ::



Though many of the figures I have quoted refer to the data of year 2000. 2007 report ofcourse shows some positive trends in certain areas but all that is too insignificant when we have 1300 female foeticides a day.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Darkness and the fire.

I fondly member those romanticisms when I was in class 3 or 4 when I used to deliberately get up at times before the crack of dawn to paint the rising sun and to take a walk in the small colony of Sector-2 of Rourkela ( Orissa ) . The small city of intense intellectual activity which formed the roots of my hopes , imaginations and thinkings and aspirations in life. The roads of the city where I first fell in love. It used to be densely foggy during the winter and nothing beyond a few meters would be visible and my height made things more romantic since I couldnt see more than a few meters infront of me.

There was a certain sense of thrill in the act of walking through the fog not knowing what lay ahead and the unpredictability made things more interesting. I used to revel at the joy of being able to walk through the fog confidently despite the handicap of sight.

Many of my friends in that age used to play the popular game of hide and seek or the game in which a guy or a girl would have his/her eyes blindfolded and he/she would have to touch some pre-assigned person.

I never found those games interesting but I did find something similar interesting . At evening when at times both my parents would come home late , I used to shut off all the lights in the flat and would try to go about doing my usual work in total darkness. It gave me immense joy when I slowly realized that unlike many of my other friends etc I was pretty much proficient in my activities in the dark as under normal lighting conditions. I used to do this when I used to visit my late grandfater's house in West Bengal. Ofcourse such activities got more risky as well as thrilling since my late grandfather's house is 2 storeyed.

In those young ages it seemed to be a real challenge to me be able to go about navigating through that pretty large house up and down the stairs without any need of light. I had developed a pretty nice sense of direction and sense of objects in the darkness. But there were times when I failed and on one such occassion I cut my chin when I missed a step and there were near misses of fatal accidents. But then the joy was overwhelming enough to make me try again.

Ofcourse as I grew up I could do these navigational activities in the dark at a much faster speed. I can now a days run up and down the stairs in a house at pretty much the normal speed even in total darkness.

Expectedly , my mother always gets scared to see me do these things , more because I at times do them deliberately by shutting off the lights of the rooms. It gives me great pleasure to be able to navigate in a place without the aid of light.

Given 21 years of experience my mother has gotten used to my eccentricities and she has probably gotten used to being always afraid that my desperate behaviours can invite any kind of trouble in my life.

Other than these navigational games in the darkness another thing that really attacted me was fire. I had great joy in observing various things burn in fire. How the wax softens , melts and then becomes glassy and then smokes. How a leaf gives off a hissing sound at times before burning and how various types of plastics crumple and twist in myriad ways before burning.

But what really fascinated me was to time for how long I could hold my index finger in the tip of the candle flame. Initially it was very low , but as I grew up the time increased by quite a lot. As I grew up this activity of mine became symbolic of various different things at various different stages of my life. During the high school , I used to test my patience and endurance ability and my determination by timing for how long I could hold my finger in the flame. When in deep sorrow I used to do it to feel convinced that I still have the strength to rise and fight back.

It goes without saying that my mother feels scared and frightened to see me do this. I still do it whenever a candle is lit at home , be it for the pujas that my mother or grandmother does.

But then this game of mine with the candle flame initially started off with very different emotions and feelings. I have heard from my friends of both the sexes , especially from some of my female friends , that there is a threshold age after which they have felt the emotion of being "passionately in love". But somehow I think I have felt this emotion of passionate love at a far far younger age than everyone else. I had felt within me the sense of passionate romance and love for a lady of my age ever since I have definitive memories. I was responsive to the emotions of love , romance and passion even when I was very young. Since then I had imagined myself to be deeply , passionately and devotedly in love with a lady. It was then that I started feeling attracted to the candle flame. To test my love.

When I was in classes 2 to 4 , the ability to hold my finger in the candle flame seemed to symbolize to me my ability of how much pain and sufferring I can endure for the sake of my love. I used to feel a deep sense of joy , that my love could be strong enough to hold me through any perils and that I could have the tenacity to fight any pain for the sake of my lady.

I really dont know from when and exactly what or is it the totality of my life over the last 5-6 years that my faith and belief in all these emotions has been waning. Its decaying fast and perhaps very soon the person that I was during the age of 10 would start looking like someone else.

Now the unpredictability of the darkness scares me. I no more feel convident that I can navigate through it and I am scared to fall again. I feel frightened to be burnt by the fire whereas in younger days fire was a plaything for me. But still darkness looks a little more mangeable thing than fire.

I have lost some of my own essential things in life. I know not when . I know not how. I knwo not to whom. Is it the continual crash over the last 6 years , of all my beliefs which I tied to my ability of holding the finger in the candle flame ?