Friday, September 3, 2010
Ye shalt not give thy light, just to see creation of thy mercy,
Ye shalt not rise to remind the call of duty,
Ye shalt rise to the joy of birds and wild flowers; eternal beauty
Fall O Night! Let the stars peep out in cloudy haze
Ye shalt let them shine, for my delightful gaze
Ye shalt not fall, to hark dogs' howl, remind men to rest
Ye shalt fall to wake my chimerical zest.
Fly O Bird ! Not to forage for thy nestlings
Ye shalt fly to please thy wings
Ye shalt fly to reach heights of ecstasy
Ye shall fly, not as a policy.
Rise O Spirit ! Lead my self to thee,
from this hell of queer apathy
unto thy garden of compassion for brethren;
a culmination of everything earthen.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
No one can hold you dear;
Through all my life, you've been
Whenever I have seen
You grow and shrink, as I blink;
the rate by which the sun does sink
Still you are there right at your place,
even if I flash a ray of light, over my face.
Your dark tone typifies my sinister soul,
But you don't take any colour, despite my howl !
I'm bored to see you in the same dark tint,
a shade that often makes me, with fear, wilt
You walk along, wherever I choose
neither do you whine nor do you screech.
Why are you with me ? I know not a need
for you, to do any of my deed.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
a golden chariot galloping towards the sky,
rising above the present reality, to enjoy the power of elevation;
a pursuit of that I could either fathom or neglect.
So attractive was the gleam,
that I hastened to leave my own ground
Not with a jot of empathy for those
I always held so near in my life.
Sun, surely shines, but it also burns,
a fact that just missed my mind.
What's a lesson that's only in text
and ain' t in the lab of life.
Every sunrise, I rise to this reality
with a solemn prayer - Every consequence
is a manifest of my conscious choice,
to pursue that which I fail to fathom or neglect.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
of strength that withstood the quakes of my life's vicissitude;
you've been the much needed light
that illuminated my mind in times of darkness.
O Friend! My friend! When I asked,
'How shall I repay the debt I've thus incurred?';
You sought rectitude as the currency,
which I, ever readily, concurred.
O friend! My friend! whom shall i blame
if your modesty camouflages my tribute
as a travesty of our agreement.
for I alone know the truth, the real truth!
O friend! My friend! I now seek to pay the penalty, yet again
on your own terms, without the slightest penitence,
for I alone know the truth, the real truth!
But I confess unto you that I've dropped the weight of prim
to embrace the warmth of your intimacy.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
In the background stood a tall multi storey glazed shopping mall that vowed to satiate the affluent squanderers. While the edifice was trying to mock at her fragility, the blatant apathy of the fellow brethren who passed by her was like a blasphemy to the common religion of human compassion. Fighting all these odds, her spirit of perseverance was a symbol of indignation against the failure of the much espoused human virtue.
Unconsciously, this sight had a bearing on my mood every time. It had a cathartic effect on me, the reason I longed for it. Her face had effulgence that could only stem from a life of piety and sanctity. She was not begging money or material, but her face had an imploring look. What was she imploring? Mercy? Emancipation?
Life has been about contradictions and conflicts, an idea which I am almost inveigled into. This image only helped strengthen the idea which I did not like, but was almost convinced. While a part of the society embraced modernism (both pros and cons) with stretched arms, here was a woman who fought for her existence even in the twilight of her life.
I was now used to seeing her everyday from the comfort of my seat through a semi-opened tinted window of my bus. One fine day, an incident happened and it shook my conscience. I had left my office a little late that day. So, when I crossed that lamp post where the old lady usually sat, the sodium vapor lamp was brightly shining and it was well past dusk. A young man, whom I presumed to be her grandson helped her get up, which was not unusual. Then, he held her hands and crossed the road just in front of my bus. To my utter dismay and shock, I realized that she had not the power to see the external world. A lightning bolt ran down my spine, I felt like being woken up from a sweet dream and thrown in the open to face the brunt of reality.
Many of us might have witnessed such incidents, but with an education that has been successful in molding a strong saddle that's highly enduring and effective that has also bestowed a blindfold, as if to improve our performance in the perpetual horse race, does it enable us to ask the right question?
While the present system may have made it inexorable to pursue goals of personal acquisition, isn't it perilous to exult the same?
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
that soaked the earth,
did scintillate my mind,
billowed my mood.
Perambulated alone in the dark,
on vast patches of lawn, opened my ears
to the song of the night wind,
my eyes sparkled of the twinkling stars
Boughs of the trees in the corner
swayed to the rhythm of the nightly beats;
In harmony, was my heart
pounding to the music of the lark
Lying still on my bed, feeling aghast;
sky was filled with heavy dark clouds,
my inanimate soul read a poem
from a leaf strewn, my lackadaisical heart
felt a life-giving warmth thitherto unfound.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Its now almost accepted as a standard industry parlance to refer the employees as 'resources'. It may not seem inappropriate, but I feel its a very smart way of masking the human sentiments by referring them as resources. It is very discomforting to be referred like that as it highlights only the utilitarian aspect of man. Doesn't this seem derogatory to the values cherished exclusively by humans? Should men be bred exclusively for beneficial reasons, wherein beneficiaries are the sentinels of greed? All in the name of economic growth. Let us see the grievances faced by the ‘human resources’ in the wake of a spurt in the growth of services industry in recent times.
Ethics literally means a set of moral principles. It is a supporting pillar of human social behaviour, a light that guides us through right or wrong. It is thus very important for every man to imbibe ethics in order to lead a harmonious social life. Since the sense of ethics is instilled in the mind from a very tender age, it'll have an indelible imprint on our mental makeup. It is in this state of mind does a fresher join the industry. It is at this point in life that he/she is introduced to another code of practice - professional ethics. While it is a truly laudable idea to have a morally binding code of practice for every profession, it is also perilous due to its monopoly as there is little scope for an external agency to act as a watch dog. Hence professional ethics is largely assumed to be self-serving.
However, It can be often observed that professional ethics often comes in conflict with the individual's ethics based on his value system. There are separatists who argue that professions should be allowed to go beyond the confines of strict morality (that governing the public) when they judge it necessary. It is ironical that in spite of the fact that industry and its growth should be attributed more to humans than to anything else, in case of a clash of ethics, it is the value-based ethics that's compromised.
While it is one thing to frame the code of practise, it is quite another to implement the same. Due to the reasons mentioned above, it is practically impossible to have an effective regulatory body to maintain vigilance on human conscience.
But if the spirit of ethics is not present in the organisation, then it is very likely that any code of practices will be a facile document whose purpose proves futile. How do we achieve this spirit is something for each of us to introspect.
If a person can be charged for abetment for being an accomplice in crime, isn't it equally culpable if an industry or any lobby allures a major chunk of the state's potential geniuses for the benefit of a privileged few even as it abrades the cultural fabric of the society?
'Professional course' has taken an altogether new meaning in the current context. A professional course today refers to that which enables a student to land in a cushy job with fat pockets. Students, whose interests are different, are forced to succumb to the whims of the social milieu than to pursue in an area of their own interest. In a society where remuneration is the sole measure of one's success, rather 'achievement'; isn't this the time to rethink of the potential harm that could be indicted by a malady called 'hedonism' ? If material wealth was chased by great artists, musicians and other culture keepers of the society, would we get Purandara Dasa's lilting melodies; would we get the rich literature of Shakespeare, undying poems of Milton & Tagore; would we get van gogh, Da vinci, Picasso, so on and so forth.
Now comes the question - What should we aspire to become? Who should be our role models? Billionaires or noble souls?
What kind of a society we would like our progeny to inherit? The one which thrives on acquisitive success or the one which exults the models of rectitude.
The path that I see today compels me to fear that it is a prognosis of moral degeneration.
If the society adores hedonism, then the future generation will develop a self-concept based on this potentially pernicious concept of capitalism.
If such a seed is sown during the developmental age, then it becomes very difficult to change the course of his thoughts and his self-image. The burgeoning growth of services industry, increasing number of billionaires, exultation of business tycoons as modern India's heroes is probably an evidence of the imminent denouement of the evil of capitalism. In such a case, it is the responsibility of the state to be nonpartisan and ensure adequate opportunities to each individual enabling him to equip against the soft and a morally lethal war of the capitalists. Far from proceeding in this direction, the state seems to be favourable to such hedonistic enterprises.
It is in this light that I contend that such allurement by soft manipulation of self-image is a travesty of the preamble of India that espouses the liberty of thought and right to opportunity.
Ruse or Opportunity
The role of education sector in the prognosis of such a cancerous malady that threatens to run us down into decadence is significant. In the name of infrastructure and churning human resources who can don the hat of technological wizard catering to the whims of affluent consumers, colleges and other educational institutions are collaborating with the industry for pecuniary advantages. The syndicate of the university has become a representation of a seat of power than that of responsibility and service. And it is obvious that power begets politics. With such people at the helm of the education sector, it is a cliche to assert that Education is a factory that supplies human resources meeting the demands of the industry. I would not be as much disappointed at this current state of affairs if the victims knew what's coming unto them. Unfortunately, all this is masked under the veil called 'opportunities', where degree is a metric of education and marks that of qualification. In this mad race, students are seldom offered an opportunity to learn and to aspire what they really want to do.
If the options are reduced and the prospect of opportunity is trumpeted, isn't it more a ruse than anything else?
The merits of the educational institutes are increasingly measured on the quality of infrastructure, and mostly infrastructure alone. This spurs a question in my mind - Why is it that despite having a better infrastructure today, than 50 years ago, we are still not able to find anyone comparable to the class of Bose, Raman, and other stalwarts who are respected worldwide for their contribution to the respective fields. In fact, if the population growth is to be factored, there should have been hundreds of them in India, where in reality; the numbers of scholars are diminishing by the day. I see a dangerous vicious circle working here.
It doesn't take a scholar to understand that the quality of education is highly dependent on the quality of the pedagogue. They should have a high moral value and social responsibility which would then be inculcated in the students. It is my opinion that we seriously lack this spirit.
It could be Einstein's prescience, when he said "I consider the crippling of the social consciousness of individuals as the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career" which is so apt now than ever.
Profession or Vocation
It is important to know the difference between these two interrelated words that is so interchangeably used.
Etymologically, profession means “occupation one professes to be skilled in”, while vocation means “a calling”, a spiritual calling. It is to be noted that while profession is linked more with the self proclamation of skills to do a particular job; vocation is an activity or an occupation that is chosen in response to a calling. The ‘calling’ can be construed as an interest or passion of an individual in indulging in some activity.
It is thus my point that a person’s efficacy and contentment is achieved best if his profession is his vocation.
Albeit vilifying the current system of education and the nature of work, it is not to be misconstrued as propaganda against industrialization. It is a critical view on the short comings of the present system. My thoughts above may seem chimerical; but it is not so. It is my solemn belief that a sound education system that creates awareness about the imminent role a person is taking up, and equal opportunity to pursue any path laid on passion and diligence, and bound by the spirit of ethics will alleviate us of all the misery and elevate mankind to even greater heights.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Adorning a smile on her face,
with a poise, worth inspiring any sculptor,
an adorable lass stood there, retying her loose lace;
As I saw her; stretched my neck towards the sky, to salute the Creator.
My heart, at that moment, deified this angel
for her very sight seemed to expiate all my sins;
My tactful speech fell in her spell,
as I went dumb, for what seemed like aeons.
No levels of adrenaline seemed able to fight my numb
limbs, albeit I longed to perambulate
in her vicinity, without disturbing her divine aplomb
to experience her aura, that could, in the least, intoxicate.
Suppressing my cerebral activity, garnering all my courage
I knelt before her, caring a damn for pertinence,
implored for love with my eyes, that surrendered to her bondage;
even refused to blink, awaiting her countenance.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Predictions of doomsday, Apocalypse, Armageddon is neither new nor restricted to any religion, region, and cult. Just that they are in the fervor of the culture and language in which it originated. This statement will be corroborated with interesting nuggets of information that supports and reinforces my above statement.
According to Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.". This is one of the earliest examples of the perception of moral decay in society being interpreted as a sign of the imminent end.
It may be difficult to believe that people had predicted the ‘end of world’ almost 4800 years ago but the available evidence (of the clay tablet) compels any rational mind to accept it. This is not just one-of-it’s-kind. There has been incessant flow of predictions about doomsday across cultures and civilizations.
There was a myth that 12 eagles had revealed to Romulus a mystical number representing the lifetime of Rome, and some early Romans hypothesized that each eagle represented 10 years. But later, some Romans figured that the mystical number revealed to Romulus represented the number of days in a year (the Great Year concept), so they expected Rome to be destroyed around 365 AUC (389 BC). (Thompson p.19)
1st Century onwards
In the first century, Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28) This implies that the Second Coming would return within the lifetime of his contemporaries, and indeed the Apostles expected Jesus to return before the passing of their generation which never happened.
In the late 4th century, St. Martin of Tours (ca. 316-397) wrote, "There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power." (Abanes p.119). Yet another failed prophecy!
In 1005 – 06, a terrible famine throughout Europe was also seen as a sign of the nearness of the end. There are legends which say that apocalyptic paranoia had gripped people around the year 1000. However, this point seems to have been refuted by Richard Lendes of the early 20th century in his scholarly article “Giants with Feet of Clay: On the Historiography of the Year 1000”. (http://www.mille.org/scholarship/1000/AHR9.html)
Then in 13th century, Pope Innocent III expected the Second Coming to take place in 1284, 666 years after the rise of Islam. (Schwartz p.181)
There were more than 16 predicted doomsdays between 1504 – 1600.
A painting titled “The Mystical Nativity” by an Italian artist Sandro Botticelli wrote in the caption of this painting
“I Sandro painted this picture at the end of the year 1500 in the troubles of Italy in the half time after the time according to the eleventh chapter of St. John in the second woe of the Apocalypse in the loosing of the devil for three and a half years. Then he will be chained in the 12th chapter and we shall see him trodden down as in this picture.”
In the 18th century, Rapture Predictions became more rampant. A brief background and a selected list of famous rapture predictions are provided below.
The rapture is a Christian belief that forms a major part of the current teaching and expectations of fundamentalist and other evangelical denominations. In its most popular current form, the doctrine involves Jesus Christ returning from Heaven towards earth. In violation of the law of gravity, saved individuals -- both dead and alive -- will rise up in the air and join Jesus in the sky.
There are several Rapture predictions since 18th century, all of which has miserably failed. Despite such consistent failures, it has undeterred many of the believers yet. Following is a list of Rapture predictions from 1700 onwards.
• 1792 - Shakers calculated this date.
• 1844 - William Miller predicted Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated Scripture, to October 22, 1844. Miller's theology gave rise to the Advent movement.
• 1977 - William M. Branham predicted in 1962 that the Rapture could take place by 1977.
• 1981 - Chuck Smith predicted that Jesus would probably return by 1981.
• 1988 - Publication of 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, by Edgar C. Whisenant.
• 1989 - Publication of The final shout: Rapture report 1989, by Edgar Whisenant. More predictions by this author appeared for 1992, 1995, and other years.
• 1992 - Korean group "Mission for the Coming Days" predicted October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture.
• 1993 - Seven years before the year 2000. The rapture would have to start to allow for seven years of the Tribulation before the Return in 2000. Multiple predictions.
• 1994 - Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted June 9, 1994. Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 27, 1994.
• 2011 - Harold Camping's revised prediction has May 21, 2011 as the date of the rapture.
• 2060 - Sir Isaac Newton proposed, based upon his calculations using figures from the book of Daniel that the Apocalypse could happen no earlier than 2060.
Nostradamus Predictions on End of World
Nostradamus was a popular seer (also a French physician) of 16th Century whose first almanac for the year 1550 became so famous that he began writing one or more of them annually. Later, he began writing a book of one thousand French Quatrains “Les Propheties”, which constitute the largely undated prophesies for which he is most famous today. There seems to be NO particular quatrain which predicts the end of the world. However, he mentions that his predictions will go on till the year 3797 AD which is wrongly interpreted as to mean the doomsday. He uses a mix of languages and rhetoric thus obfuscating his quatrains making it extremely porous allowing for varied interpretations.
It must be noted that the veracity of all prophesies mentioned above may not be established here. However, it should be seen in the light that if at all such prophesies did exist albeit with a different date, it has all so horribly failed without exception.
Prophesies vs Scientific Predictions
As illustrated above, mankind has had a rich history of prophesies and eschatological expositions that gained acceptance by a large majority from the early times to this day. Present day prophesies that use pseudoscientific reasoning is proving to be more perilous and its effect more pernicious.
It therefore becomes an imperative of every rational mind to fight against obdurate malevolent forces and thus save the innocent minds of needless misery. In order to do this, one must be equipped with the subtleties of pure science so as to defend the scientific predictions which stands on a firm ground of logic and reasoning held by objectivity against a loose soil of mystical obscurantism.
Such prophesies tend to give false hope to the oppressed and the deprived for at least one reason - the impending catastrophe (apocalypse) supposedly does not discriminate based on the social stratum but on the firmness of belief, thus allowing an equal playing ground.
We can probably find relief in Winston Churchill’s words – “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Sources of Information