Pocket Diary -18

Back with the pocket diary. Well, I rarely write quotes in this diary now; as mostly I am reading books which goes into my book-diary plus I am reading amazing quotes on net in the form of typography and images. I broke the pocket diary series also. 😛 * sigh * it is hard to keep up with all these series. I need to stop making such promises to myself.

Now, the quotes:

M.Gandhi, ” You can not build non-violence on a factory of civilization, but it can built on self-contained villages.”

Gandhi has captivated me not only for his methods of non-violence and civil disobedience, but also for his ingenious way to create change. The above quotes shows it so perfectly – the cities or cradle of civilization get so mechanized that any type of change is hard to initiate effectively. Thanks to ‘Modern Marketing & Advertising’ it has become much easier to change consumer behaviour, but not character or nature. Non-violence being purely about change of character both inner and outer.

So, how about changing the culture in a society – about rape, about dowry, about corruption. Should we start from villages and build over it ?. Should we employ the consumer-attracting tactics to fuel the change? or Perhaps a combination of both or some new way?

From movie/novel ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’, ” We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Love is hard to get ( & hard to understand).  I am still brooding over love reading this line. Do one accept the love that he/she thinks they don’t deserve ? Do they accept love without any foolish notion about deserving it ? What happens when one don’t get the love which one thinks he/she deserves? What about when gets overwhelmed by the love one gets?

(I like to think about love in third person rather than first person. Not wise to reduce one’s value or expectation about love on such silly musings.)

“Only Time knows when something has to die”.(Myself)

Think about it – perhaps Yama is Time God or Lucifer is Time or Grim Reaper is time or simply death is Time. Only Time points to the moment when something died. And we obsess so much about time (or may be death).

Kurt Vonnegot, “Use the time of a stranger in such a way that he or she will not fell the time was wasted.”

I know you must have compared this one with the last one. Ok, let me put it this way  – Time is Life. When Life ends time ends. As Kurt Vonnegot says – I better use a life of a stranger so that it does not feels wasted.

I hope I did not waste your time/life/death with this post. 😛

Arigato 🙂

Dungeon Prompts – Faith, Tolerance & Mutual Appreciation”

Two historical & great personalities came to my mind  – Jean Jacques Rousseau & Mahatma Gandhi. (Why? Because I am studying history & ethics for my exam)

From Rousseau’s memoirs –‘The Confessions’, I found him as an ardent follower of his personal maxims. Principals he formed through his reflection on the life & his learning. He stuck to his maxims so stubbornly that even in his bad times he will not accept help from people he unapproved of. He never accepted ill treatment of himself or any slandering from others. However, he was tolerant to the opposite views in case of ideas & thoughts. For him, the tolerance was limited only to the planes of thoughts, he was faithful to his maxims in there also. I find that he would not compromise on his faiths & beliefs and keep on tolerating. Further, there were rare cases where he would appreciate of other’s behavior.

J.J. Rousseau,” It must be allowed, that reckoning all these advantages, no hesitation was necessary in the choice; in fact, I was so content with mine, that I never once repented it; nor do I even now, when , free from the irrational motives that influenced me at that time, I weigh in the scale of reason every action of my life.”

Now about the man, which seems to be a manifestation from the myth for many.
( As I have still not read his autobiography, I will write on my general perception of him. And pardon me if my conception of Rousseau is immature. If it is,do help me on that.)

When I look at the words of this prompt – Faith, Tolerance & Mutual Appreciation. Gandhi’s philosophy amuses me. He was faithful to the tenet of tolerance. Though, I find there was not always mutual appreciation present. He never approved of the faith in violence by the revolutionaries. Nor he ever approved of the British practices. So, Tolerance was one of the keystone of his belief but mutual appreciation existed only for few cases.

Gandhi, ” A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble”

After looking at these two great men, when I observe myself, what do I find?
Chaos is the first site. On further meddling with the ideas I find – I am still not decided on my maxims. I am unfaithful to everyone & also to none. I am in a process of growth. The principals & beliefs have still not settled in. Adding to this is the constant challenges ,put everyday ,to every idea in this world. If I decide to be a communist – somebody will come & discuss capitalism with me & I will move to become a socialist. I will be set on rebelling & then read something on pacifism and will find myself picking Buddhist philosophy.

I don’t infer that I am a mercurial, fickle minded person, who is gullible & can be easily influenced. No. Some may consider me as an opportunist or utilitarian. But they are in themselves settled ideology & can’t be changed. Or perhaps they are my belief system.The point is that I am of the belief that – Everything created by a man in this world is questionable. Even the maxims. And one has to trust his own self to find the maxims for his salvation, as suited for his/her stage of life. One’s salvation lies within him/herself. And even this maxim is questionable.
With this world in constant flux, one has to be ‘tolerant’ and ‘appreciative’ to the ‘different’.

One may argue that then a person who want to satisfy his sexual desire can bypass his morals & rape a women/girl. He can change his faith from being a human to being a rapist. A mad person can place the social order in chaos & can destroy valuable assets & human life.
Well, all this is possible if one looks at my belief. But let me quote Gandhi on this,

” You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”

Because if I wouldn’t have adhered to such a belief – You may have found me as an orthodox religious fanatic, a sexist,a dumb peg of the system. I moved to new maxims which I appreciated & approved of, while keeping my tolerance for different views. And I am still moving ahead – on my personal path to growth. And this path may be correct or may be incorrect, all I know at present is that, it is still incomplete.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – this prompt was a heavy one. It made me come out in open about stuff I take seriously but ignore socially, about which I still can’t take a firm stand. These dungeon prompts actually rake your inside.

Pocket Diary -15

I was writing something, so mind is still active. I will write this fast post from my pocket diary.Today it’s on India & writing.

Tagore, ” The problem is not how to wipe out the difference but how to unite with the differences intact.”

I rarely find people, with exception of Bongalis’,who defend or like the Tagore’s thoughts on development. I connect more to Tagore & Gandhi on their ideologies on development of lowest strata of India. I don’t accept everything on their face rather judge them with skepticism.  And as Tagore said – the problem is to unite with difference intact. Do you know, Tagore & Gandhi’s ideas were different from each-other & they used to differ on most of the issues. However, this quote is related to the ‘unity in diversity’ characteristic of Indian Union. Also, this is what in contemporary management they are calling as win-win dealings (I can see similar patterns).

Gandhi,” A society that has no vision for the education of children & youth & is not prepared for the same, is doomed to die.”

The organic growth & development of society is one of the most peculiar part of Gandhian ideology. And I am interested in the organic growth of similar nature alongside with the new technology & innovations, we are discovering day-after-day. Acc. to me, Education is the core of the whole system. If you can develop a culture, an ecosystem of learning which keeps on changing & evolving with time & includes everyone – changing the society will be little easier. I know it’s easy to say that but hard to do. But you know what, I have got a life ahead of me,with my cognitive faculties working fine I will try to create such education core.(even if in a small village or town)

R. B. Austin,” I write because I have no other choice.”

Somebody(sorry I forgot your name & too lazy to check 😦 ) replied with this quote when I asked for ‘Why do you write?’ in one of my earlier posts. It was for the #amwriting series.
With so many people not involved in writing anything – they have many other choices.Even I have, but I choose to write. 🙂

Steven Pressfield, ” As writers, we’re always searching for Real.
Real, we believe, is powerful. Real is authentic. Real is true.
In fact, Real is boring. Real is tedious. Real is hell.
What we want is the simulacrum of Real.
The illusion of Real. We want artificially real.”

Steven Pressfield is like Seth Godin for me, in field of writing. His suggestion speaks to me. My interests are of contradictory nature. On one side, I want to read more and more of ‘reality’ and on the other side, I want to imagine the ‘unreal-creative-islands’. The quote itself creates opposing forces in my mind regarding writing anything. How about you?

Arigato 🙂

India After Gandhi

I am reading Non-fiction books now, most of them are Text-book type of material. Earlier I thought of not reviewing them, but now, I will both review them & comment on there utility from the viewpoint of the competitive exam.(UPSC here)

INDIA after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy

By Ramachandra Guha

Rating: 4.5/5

Ramachandra Guha is already an esteemed historian and an author. This book is being bought in frenzy by UPSC examinees , all thanks to the changed course of Mains exam and recommendation from the IAS coaching students. However, I picked it up for dual purpose of UPSC prep and for reading Guha. Already read through most of his work, this one was missing from the list. As far, the best one still is the ‘ Difficulty of Being Good’.

About this one: as the tagline & the name suggests, it is an insightful work on the history of India after the Freedom was won by Indian people.The chapters move swiftly with a narrative style, pointing out the milestones & road-blocks faced by the nation.

The book is divided into five parts.The first three parts belong to Nehru , part fourth to the later years and the last part is a summation of the various changes since independence.

First & Second part deals with the Idea of India in the sub-continent. The various forces of cohesion & secession working across the diverse geography of the country. How the leaders came to decision on complex & important issues while composing the biggest constitutional text in the world. Adding to their trouble the various princely states, faction leaders, tribals, religious riots. To even imagine how they were dealing with all these factors is enthralling at the least.

After establishing the India’s identity in the world-map, there were myriad internal & external aggression like Pakistan’s insurgency,Chinese insurgency, formation of separate state, creation of Tribal autonomous states, Rights of lower & destitute section of society and many more. The whole time the world being critical of existence of Democracy in India. One may say the issues were not best handled and mistakes were done. But the present we inhabit is because of those efforts and we should be thankful to them.The third part deals with the above factors.

The fourth part is where India seems to force its Strength & dominance position, all thanks to Indira Gandhi. Though, we all understand the effect of her transgressions whose price we are still paying. This part can invoke passionate & varied feelings in a group. So, I wouldn’t go further into it. For the last part as I said – it presents the summary of the eras gone by. There is also a whole chapter dedicated to the entertainment of Indian people(read Cinema). After all, it do shares a major part of societies reformation & ill-wills.

I thought the text may be biased towards the Congress regime. On the contrary I found it balanced in approach. All the angles were tried to be presented in the chapters. Well, you yourself is the best judge on that.

Finally, for the students who want to read it for examination point of view. Go through this book as an introduction to the history after independence. One will need more solid material to write answers in mains. This text needs to be supplemented by some text-book.

So, pick this huge 750 page narration of Indian History. One must have knowledge about the path one’s nation took to be standing at the present position.

Arigato 🙂


From the Ruins of Empire

by Pankaj Mishra

Rating: 4/5

As the tagline of the book says – ‘The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia’.The book accounts the historical events & incidents which led to the tumultuous changes in the East in the 19th & 20th century.With the colonialist & imperialist taking over the eastern lands, how the personalities or intellectuals led to the remaking of their respective nations. As per my distaste for history & inability to grasp the importance of some events, this review post may seem to do injustice to the book.Still, here it goes.

The book is basically divided into 6 parts.The first & last part tells the history in a combination of the main figures from other four parts, reflecting on the general & underlying actions & thoughts of the prominent intellectuals.It starts with accounting the mis-happenings  in the great & ancient empires of India,China & Ottoman. How the colonialist got the power & captured the land and the economy of the great lands. Then the empires recognized the technology & organised actions of west are better than their traditional methods.They all start aping it in one way or other – Ottoman Tanzimatists, Meiji intellectuals, Young Bengal. Giving the westerners more power through the tool of dept.This led to unstable conditions in the empires & new way of conservative thought boiled up.Throwing forward some of the great thinkers who were going to change the history with their acts & ideas.

The next 4parts focus on the life & works of individuals of each empire & their becoming of the age.Al-Afghani of Ottomon empire , Gandhi & Tagore from India, Kang,Liang,Tan,Yan fu from China & Japan.They all had one underlying idea of return to the ancient texts & traditions & re-interpreting them adding some modern ideas.Initially, looking pro-west they eventually became stern opposers of the Way of the West.It led to revolutions in the colonies & a constant tumultuous state of life.The main objective became to propound ‘pan-Asianism‘ & eliminate the ‘white-peril‘.Finally, the book ends with summing up the result of the actions & ideals of these thinkers.How the Nation-state identity got embedded into these boundless empires.The formation of Communist-China, Independence of India, Dividing of Ottoman Empire, Status of Turkey in the Europe. e.t.c.

There was so much more in the book that I am unable to organize them well.But, I would like to quote the last lines of the book, which concerns the present state of the Nation-states.

“The hope that fuels the pursuit of endless economic growth – that billions of consumers in India & China will one day enjoy the lifestyles of Europeans and Americans – is as absurd & dangerous a fantasy as anything dreamt up by Al-Qaeda. It condemns the global environment to early destruction & looks set to create reservoirs of nihilistic rage & disappointment among hundreds of millions of have-nots – the bitter outcome of the universal triumph of Western Modernity, which turns the revenge of the East into something darkly ambiguous, and all its victories truly Pyrrhic.”

If you love history or you want to understand what led to the current state of the great empires – do read this book.It closes the empty space in history of what events on the East led to the overthrow of the Wests’ domination. The language is just terrific(I had to use dictionary sometimes) & articulate. You may get some insight of the same thought process of the different intellectuals.

If you want to try this genre , my suggestion : Keep Calm and Read On.


P.S – Century, This is my 100th post. 😄 🙂