Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sex, Scotch, Malice, Gossip and Scholarship departs at 99.

We will forever disgust writing in past tense for this man. Yes our own writer-novelist, journalist Khushwant Singh has left the Newtonian sphere of life. He was more than a person for us a legend of its own kind. The news broke after the interpretation of statute class by News Hunt Application on smartphone. The feeling was numb for the heart to recover, within a moment all the work and assignments went on pending list and writing this piece became our top priority. Condolences from President and high people of society pouring in. The Google search page filled with the news and tweets of celebrities, our Sardarji year short of century left us. Often Khushwant Singh took shelter under Hilarie Belloc which reads:

When I’m dead, I hope it may be said:
‘His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.’

Two years ago both of us in International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture at Institute of Advanced Studies in English, Pune, it was last session and last presentation of International Conference, we were discussing with delegates in the course of presentation that how we wish to say him adieu. We regret that day has come quite soon. We were watching the video tape and our words from podium quoting him from Truth, Love and a Little Malice “At such an age Khushwant Singh is free from terrorists. They’ll not bother to kill such an old man... being quite healthy in old age is quite genetic to his family. Both his parents were long-lived. His father died at the age of ninety after having sip of Scotch. His mother left the mortal world at the age of ninety-four, the last request, made in feeble, barely audible voice, was ‘Viskee’ (Whisky). It was given to her. She threw it up and spoke no more. He hopes that when his time will come he too will be able to raise his glass to take one for the long road.”

We suggest a grand good bye, without even a single tear. We expect family, friends and admirers sitting around the funeral place, having a glass of Scotch in hand and narrating some of his classic jokes and cheering his life what a ‘man’ he was.. It is an irreparable loss to this mother earth. Death is inevitable which we and Khushwant Singh knew very well. Since fifteen years he had been counting every year as a bonus. He was the person whom we wished to break Habib Miyan’s record, of course with good health. We don’t expect elegy on his death. If someone wishes to please beat the one which was written on the death of mad dog. He was a ‘happy ending’ man. Who lived on his principles and morals which were truly Gandhian. In every word of Ashley Montagu Khushwant reflected as “The idea is to die young as late as possible”.

When we started our presentation the chair probed “Do you need Censorship?” The title of our research paper was “As ‘He’ narrates ‘Her’: Khushwant Singh on Fair Sex.” We discussed and concluded with how he is a modern feminist. Indeed the idea was challenging and we generated a stimulation by justifying him as Gandhian and many myths of Khushwant Singh were discussed especially during tea, lunch, dinner and long walks after that with scholars from various backgrounds.

Even our next endeavor was of writing a research article on ‘Eroticism in Khushwant Singh’s Writings.’ Our Sardarji was no stoic and had capacity of lambasting anyone. Why he had such a ‘bad boy’ image? Answer is quite simple and admirable and adorable too. He always provoked or tickle the audience, hit them hard where they are cozy, one of the pockets he expanded was sexuality. The writings of Khushwant Singh are chock full of erotic fantasies. They reflect the author’s imagination qualitatively to develop a strategy of taking the Indian audience out of the cocoon of coy. He often casually said they are “figments of my senile fantasies.” The peculiarity of ‘dirty old man of Delhi’ has been the match of sex partners. Khushwant Singh was able to bring close the ethnic groups close through erotic fantasies. He had a good bent of equating all variety of sexual flavour, indeed in an Indian spirit. Ingeniously he captured Indian sexual sensibilities. He conveyed all races, caste creed, and religion to a focal point of sexual act, using endonormative and exonormative technique and poetic licence to embroider a particular singular influence.

If someone has been introduced to Khushwant Singh from some gutter press as ‘the dirty old man of Delhi’, we think this is a decent start one has got. This dirty thing which we all are talking about can’t be more than sexual intercourse. But the best thing about being dirty is that the finitude is just a three letter word ‘sex’. Western education has shown us how to use profane language. The word ‘sex’ is a taboo in most of the places, even if it happens to be on the application form, people tend to forget that it is biological state of being male or female. We have seen people giving feedback to research questionnaire as to use ‘gender in place of sex’. 

How Khushwant Singh befitted dirty? Obviously he has stains of women and recognition as sexist. What is the dirt? Which make him dirty? As a matter of fact he held nothing sacred. He penned filthy indeed and laid all the dirt on himself like a kid splashing it all around and glancing back and wants to convey in a filmy style ‘daag achche hain’. Khushwant Singh had a reputation of being perverse. Well, we do not agree with it. He was a cog of social change in India.

He happened to be all season man whether you talk about his historical aptitude, poetics, as a columnist, established journalist and fizz adder to Santa and Banta. One doesn’t know who was father of Santa-Banta and how they actually came into being. There are numerous thesis regarding this myth. We researched well on the topic and found that whatever was said by pundits was either utterly rubbish or we were not convinced about it. Hereby we call it a myth now. Hence we decided to create one and bring out genius of Khushwant Singh. We want to circulate another one in the circles as Khushwant Singh is step-father of Santa and Banta. 

The ageing of Khushwant Singh was always a ‘Curious Case’. His recollection equals re-living. He had written almost everything he has gone through still he missed out something of his own. Firstly, Khushwant Singh happened to be two hundred years old. Hundred years he had lived and hundred years he narrated. As much as he has lived he is narrating. In exponential term his life is doubled. Secondly, he had lived only fifty years only half of his life. The half had been spent in narrating. This is how time and space converges in his case. There exists quite a tale of his date of birth.

We came back from Delhi few days back only, couldn’t meet him, goes without saying that we were not expected. But because of busy schedule we missed Khushwant Singh T-Shirts from 1469, a shop in Janpath Marg. No regrets we ordered it online. 

People have numerous opinion of him. The one we vividly remember from our brother writer cum photojournalist in Hindustan Times Himanshu Vyas, “Is he an author?” Many people loathe him for what he has written. We take Khushwant Singh to a different scale of intellectual authority. He is a philosopher and has established himself as a founder of bhelpuri writings. His narration was not like others. There has been many fast moving plot writers in last two decades but no one has got the stimulating style which he has got. He will always be the most read ‘Son of Sardar’

The English minor vice of drinking, his discipline, popular college grapevine of ‘damn sexy passages yaar’, malice, history, Illustrated Weekly and endless discussion will not be able to quench the thirst of ours. Not even after writing this small note. The quality of ‘Man’ was something or another used to cook in his brain. One who can be agnostic and enjoy keertan at same time. Alas! All of it comes to end on the unfortunate day, leaving a legacy of inspiration to three generation and generations to come.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love is blind (The Humors Unlimited)

Best definition of love is that it does not have a particular or common definition. Love is something which is abstract, which cannot be quantified or measured on a particular scale. Still it’s among the most researchable topic by intellectuals of Hollywood, Bollywood and various other ‘woods’ (no tiger). If someone says, “I love you”, what does it connotes? May be our words are matching in narrow meaning.

Sherlock Holmes fans or Sir Arthur Connan Doyle admirers have different take on the issue. According to Dr. Watson (character from Sherlock Holmes), “There is a scientific explanation behind every abstract thing”. A universal truth like love is an abstract thing comes in a paradox to the above explanation. Though, that’s not the only explanation which connotes the scientific validity of love.

Love in various forms are available, better ask our self about this. In how many ways can we interpret love, it starts with a narrow understanding and ends with high spiritual order i.e. our thinking goes from Romeo-Juliet to Radha-Krishna and maybe sometimes into metaphysical explanations which one can give without reading any philosophy. This art is a form of self introspection to deduce logic (Kabir).

Why we appropriate things? Because we don’t want them to be misappropriated like love and hate (I hate you like I love you). Heard of humorous love? Of course not and pardon us (Lord Byron). We are having an experiment here which means we are trying to make love scientific. Hence we appropriate love. In humorous mood we are happy so do in love. Everything feels good not like how BJP ‘felt good’ after losing the elections of 2004 and we were deprived of seeing shining and rising India. One just laughs at any and everything not because the person is mad but because they know that they have nothing to worry about. Self-Consciousness fades when you laugh at the jokes or gags, and real ‘you’ are exposed. That you, is an expression of humorous love. Because at the stroke of that outburst the person loves thyself, not recognizing self-identity, loosing social consciousness at the particular time frame. This happening is an expressional emotional curve that follows without notice. Sometimes love oozes out from writing elegy on the death of a mad dog. 

That is why it is said love is abstract, one can think abstract, demonstrate in an abstract way and this abstract thing makes the love blind. But the rational mind materialize it, yes in a humorous way, romantic songs do make laugh sometimes not smile. The culture of David Dhawan has been the perfect example exemplating the humorous love. Adding to it the high tempo love songs had been the cause. Bollywood lyrics have fascinated every one of us in that regard.

The Newtonian understanding of love is dedication to particular system per se. Perhaps that is the why Shakespearians associate love with gravity (falling in love). The world still figuring out, what was the love between Sir Issac and apple? It was humor which was dragging. The gravity of love is God, both falls from heavens above. 

Liberating oneself from one’s own consciousness is love which is also portrayed as meditation. The person becomes blind only in abstract nature of happiness which one is getting while laughing or while expressing love (physically or metaphysically) and not in any other shape.

At the end we see that Dr. Watson loves apple(An apple a day keeps Doctor away), Sherlock loves Newton (Sir Arthur loves Sir Issac), Kabir loves God, Tiger Woods love grass of ‘woods’(because that’s the only thing he is left with), teenagers love of Romeo-Radha or Krishna-Juliet, finally David Dhawan loves Lord Byron (dramatics). If this is not humor then what it is? Love?  

Sunday, June 3, 2012


'What is the use of a book', thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?' -Lewis Carroll

It has been more than a week of cartoon saga, and the issue is politicized in wrong direction. From today onwards media has jumped to some other issues. Past week if one can follow the ‘cartoon issue’ in national dailies, we find series of arguments by scholars. What happens when academic matter is converted into a political one? We rejoice on what, Socrates death or Caesar’s?

It is not the first time that there is political vox on textbooks at secondary and higher secondary level. Allegations like saffronization of books during the NDA rule in form of Ramayana and Mahabharata textbooks in language syllabus. Even before that there were some issues, but let us not gaze on timeline or treat past as prelude. The reason being, there was dark in a lion’s den from thousand years, but someone enters, and lit the match and the darkness doesn’t take thousand years to fade away. Similarly, ‘fiat lux’ in school education or revolution were these social science textbooks. But that lux is in flux by virtue of our parliamentarians.

Since the new books of Social Sciences have been introduced they have booked a special place in the heart of teachers and students. With the appearance of cartoons by ‘Shankar’, Kutty, ‘R. K. Lakshman’ Amul and Cagle Cartoons, the Political Science book has scored high in intellectuals. NCERT invented cartoons like Munni and Unni. The questions are intellectually powerful enough to shake the mind and compelling to think out of the box.  
Academically by the advent of these books, Social Studies have become Social Sciences. The language used is gender neutral and words are less for congratulating textbook developing committee. Back in January 2007, the Political Science textbook for IX standard was referring the ‘President’ with pronoun ‘She’. That is where it makes an impression in front of feminist. Also these books fail to decide what is democracy and its definition? I think that is real strength of our republic. We don’t bound democracy by defining it or by limiting and restricting. The answer itself is a question that is what, we see is real philosophy.  To quote examples, the list will be so long why they are the ‘best’ textbooks of independent India. All over the world, people are downloading our textbook. The 12th standard Political Science book titled ‘Contemporary World Politics’ is used to teach IR in Universities like Columbia and Harvard.
Many people have said for and against this decision outside the house with their intellect without even reading the book. It is very sad that appropriation and contextualization is nowhere. The message is always contextual whether it is ‘touch me not’ or ‘common man’.

Our Parliamentarian should be proud to have such high goal oriented textbooks instead of criticizing it. Honourable minister should have boasted by showing that cartoon as success of our democracy. As these books are building analytical thinking. The teachers note in textbook clearly states that the cartoons should be taught not enjoyed. Those were put up for understanding democratic polity. By removing this cartoon we are not retrieving respect to icon B. R. Ambedkar. If all these books are removed or thoroughly edited it will be insult to our ‘democracy’ and ‘constitution’.

On the Thorat Committee (yeh kya hai?), it is not a review committee; it is a censoring board on textbooks. Textbook writing is a skilled job. It ought to be done by some elite academicians, no doubt about it. The teacher in the classroom is facilitator whatever had been prescribed. People in and out of NCERT worked day and night for this and results were extraordinary. Today all that effort is in vain? Congratulations are due to Prof. Hari Vasudevan’s team. NCERT was able to justify by these textbooks as a council of educational research and training in toto along with National Curriculum Framework (NCF), which emphasized not on rote learning but through social intercourse of various kinds. These text books were not mere text it had innovative pedagogy of teaching and learning embedded.

As a citizen we need to save these books which teach citizenship and higher ethos of politics. The secondary school books have been inspirational for social scientist and prompted young people to opt for humanities in their higher secondary education for the cause of society. By this move the alumni readers are very unhappy as they give all credit to school books which gave them a broader, self reflexive insight. We need to save this masterpiece and feel short of adjectives for praising this academic research.

Yeh Anna Anna Kya Hai?

Making sequels of cinema? Not a bad idea indeed, but making sequels of political timeline is also a considerable appropriation . yes whole world is speaking of Anna (Hazare not Ivanovic's swim suit), why would we restrain back? Our friend cherished the good old memory when he used to write Anna and auto suggestion tool always showed Ivanovic, but alas! She is nowhere found now. Has the drama finally come to an end?

Long years ago L. M. Singhvi made a tryst with LOKPAL and now the time comes when ANNA has redeemed his pledge not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of parliamentary hour, when the world slept, the house woke up against corruption. a moment came, which was rare to come but the fast went so fast, when Anna stepped out with honey and coconut water, when another Potti Sreeramulu was born(alive), and when the soul of a nation(youth), long suppressed, finds utterances(after Aarakshan). It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause off ANTI CORRUPTION.

Hope Dr. Manmohan Singh doesn't try the above lines.

Let us start with Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan (JP), who by means of satyagraha invited emergency whereas our Loknayak II (Anna Hazare) invited Lokpal. All the three 'loks' were to save 'lokatantra', JP and Anna! Just as Bachchan's Don and of Khan's. Enjoyed in jail, mobilized masses, bageed few reality shows in reality, to invoke nationalism among countrymen, and to tickle the congress regime, similar age and similar passion, to protect country from Congress. 

Now we have got a different situation hard to believe, all politicians are on indefinite hunger strike because their voters are corrupt. Let us play blame game. Rules are simple; you have to blame everything on opposition even that opposition don't know how to oppose. Describing, anarchy in disguise and chaos by means of democracy (though simpler than Schrӧdinger’s equation). The new revised multicolored edition was published by Anna.

No one died neither ‘Anna’ or ‘Nathaa’(Peepli [Live]), one was saved by ‘अन्न’ and the other by none, cheers both are alive.  

'Mein anna hoon’ can anyone mail us the address of the cap making factory making this quality product and earning profits (don’t know of corruption involved). Also without the great Indian festival Diwali the wax traders and candle producers celebrated Diwali as demand curve shifted towards right (Indira shifted policies towards centre by going left). Bad time for college students they have to attend lectures. Peace restored with some decent economic activity. And a thank you letter from Indian cricket team for taking away all the attention from England. Annoyed from that London streets with bridge had prolonged violence? The bygone English cricket fan were addressing only Hazare as in they prefer Tendulkar as their title. While they enjoyed white wash of men in blue in white. Cartoonist and joke makers had decent opportunities (even us) by having freedom of speech and vicariously using libel and slander.

What next? Corruption rooted out? Bill is passed everyone is ‘Mahatma’? Let us call Marx may be he had some solution (as he is the problem of every solution). Don’t know of others Prof. Hari Vasudevan (Calcutta University) will have to work hard for NCERT to fit Anna Hazare into the curriculum so do Ramchandra Guha. People welcome back to reality i.e. the same office, the same school or same college and the same India (in again hope of life bereft of corruption).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sushma Swaraj & Poorna Swaraj

On June 5, of this year our respected leader of opposition Mrs. Sushma Swaraj danced at Rajghat while  observing one day Satyagraha. That was just part and parcel of ‘Great Indian Political Tamaasha’. The news booked front pages for a week or so. Then criticism rounds followed by confession rounds were the expectation from within the party or outside the party. Dancing is ‘ecstasy’ by William Wordsworth. So ‘Swaraj’ becomes spiritual. The dance or ecstasy is over; media is looking up for other dancers. Is it that only dancers dance not the politicians? Omar Abdullah specifically tweeted that, his father is a better dancer than Mrs. Sushma Swaraj. Yes, indeed the impact of reality shows is showing up many more, ‘dance netaji dance’. But how does this impact the general public? For them it is only a source of entertainment which is projected by the media. “Dancing is a perpendicular expression to the horizontal desire”. This must have inspired Sushma Swaraj and also many of us. Right to Expression is a fundamental right. Ecstasy is divine and spiritually quoted. It can be expressed in any form and one of which is Dance. Dance lifts the spirit, strengthens body, stimulates mind and entertains self and people. Swaraj means self rule our leader of opposition was ruling herself. And half of her name is ‘Swaraj’ too. What harm has been caused to the public and internal security of the country? Does dancing make someone irresponsible and uncomfortable? Yes, congress was in unrest.

Now let us try to analyze this dancing activity from the perspective of:-

Firstly, ‘aam aadmi’ (indeed a satyagrahi, don’t know of Gandhi’s & Anna’s or a Swaraj fan), this person would have been overjoyed on seeing Mrs. Swaraj in ecstasy. Secondly, the idiot box audiences, who eagerly waited for almost an hour of breaking news to have a glimpse of a video clip with, red circle indicating Swaraj. They were not able to make out the logic of news channels and the dance both. Thirdly the criticizers of the power block were of the view that it somehow didn’t jelled with sanctity of the place (Rajghat). Many co-criticizers objected the act as offending the national pride or more precisely the status and the role of a parliamentarian. Even Nitin Gadkari(from whom words are prized out) opened lips just to confess on behalf of BJP Swaraj.

Now let us go in the past on Poorna Swaraj night (Pre independence era, year 1929 Congress Session at Lahore). Our honourable, radical congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru also was in divine mood on patriotic songs (in the same way as we are on Independence or Republic day). So how dare he dance? Does he didn’t knew that he was marking the occasion of ‘Poorna Swaraj’. This was one of the landmark or milestone in the journey of freedom struggle. So did Mr. Nehru’s action which were much appreciated by our father of the nation and he was happy to see him in ecstasy and advised to be like that wherever he gets an opportunity to express his feelings.

So didn’t Mrs. Swaraj have the same right to express her feelings in the same manner as our first PM expressed? In both the cases the dance was against the government, one at Rajghat and other at Ghat of river Ravi. In the former case the ruling government criticized the action with equal and opposite reaction and the party president confessed. Whereas in latter case, though not criticized by the rulers but was appreciated by inmates.

Mrs. Swaraj needed a shoulder as their own party mates didn’t liked. And in few minutes Swaraj comes in cadre of ‘Sheela and Munni’. So Mrs. Swaraj what is your fault? It is just that you opted for Robert Frosts’ ‘The road not taken’.

Swaraj in half can’t justify, but complete Swaraj can. That is why idea of dominion status was rejected. No one to blame (few blames media), better luck next time Mrs Sushma Swaraj. Hope to see you attain Poorna Swaraj to escape from media controversies and an observational note like this one.