Friday, July 27, 2012

Not black text & a photo, but made up of Blood & Flesh like You & Me

I remember in school, in History books we had was a photo of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, wearing a circular hat & some two to three lines in black text saying, he abolished the customs of ‘Sati’ in the year 1829 . The purpose of this reading was to get 1 or 2 marks in the short answers section of the examination.

After so many years, when I have grown up to become mature with age (well I hope so that I have maturedJ), my interest of history, philosophy has taken more concrete step. The other major factor, which I think has really helped all of us to expand our thinking, exploration & access to knowledge, has been Internet. Out of my curiosity & my interest in history, I have been browsing through YouTube for documentaries & other videos from which I will be able to get more insights in the historical events & the interesting & fascinating characters from the history gone by. Moreover, I can know about them without pressure & worry of scoring marks in the exams….. J.

In one of these regular browsing sessions, I came across a short documentary on Raja Ram Mohan Roy in Youtube. In that 15 minutes of documentary, I got to know so many fascinating things about this great man. It just made me think, wow! I hardly know anything about him, apart from the photo in school history book & 1 liner description of him.

This made me curious & I found a full length feature film on him, titled Raja Ram Mohan Roy in Youtube in Bengali language (unfortunately, it doesn't have subtitles for reaching out to the wider audience). The experience of watching it was so very moving, that it left a deep impression in my mind. Till today, my connection with him was the school history book which carried a small photo & one liner about his life.
But seeing the movie, the connection evolved to a humane level. In the back drop of dark ages in India (when Mughal rule was diminishing & East India Company spreading over India & social illiteracy, malpractices in the name of Religion was at the peak, when Indian masses had lost faith in themselves & were leading a life in delusion, despair, lacking self belief & confidence), a little boy by name Ram Mohan, set out on a journey for seeking the eternal truth & with the burning desire of uplifting the countrymen.
In this treacherous journey, he was disowned by his own parents, was cursed by his mother, thrown out of home to live on his own from a tender age as a punishment for his radical thinking. Such was emotional torture; that he was not even allowed by his Mother to lit fire to his father’s pyre & was not allowed to participate in the rituals. In such an emotional turmoil too, he didn't give up his principles & ideals for the larger cause of mankind’s upliftment.
All throughout his life, he withstood the pressure of sarcasm, social boycott, resistance through social pressures, money & muscle power but he never succumbed to them, & kept up his faith that one day Truth will prevail. He finally died ailing, fatigued & lonely, working till the last breath for what he believed in.

I kept wondering for quite some time, about his biopic, his life’s story. He didn't look like Black Text & one photo anymore.

The story became a humane story about a boy, who grew up to become a Renaissance Man, who went through so much of trauma at emotional level whole life, he was the true super hero who had the courage & strength to walk against the tide when everyone was going down the hill. It’s unbelievable to see, how enormous mental strength he had, how strong his conviction was, that no pressure could buckle him down. Truly he was the torch bearer of Renaissance in India.

He now no more appears to me made up of black text & a photo, but made up of blood & flesh like you & me. How I wish I had got this perspective while reading History in school........

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gitanjali - Tagore

Some of my favourite poems, from Tagore's Gitanjali

The child who is decked with prince's robes & who has jewelled chains round his neck loses all pleasure in his play, his dress hampers him at every step.
In fear that it may be frayed or stained with dust he keeps himself from the world, & is afraid even to move.
Mother, it is no gain, thy bondange of finery, if it keep one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life.
I must launch out my boat. The languid hours pass by on the shore - Alas for me!
The spring has done it's flowering & taken leave. And now with the burden of faded futile flower I wait & linger.
The waves have become clamorous & upon the bank in the shady lane & the yellow leaves flutter & fall.
What emptiness do you gaze upon! Do you not feel a thrill passing through the air with the notes of the far-away song floating from the other shore?

He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in this dungeon. I am ever busy building this wall all around & as this wall goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight of my true being in it's dark shadow.
I take pride in this great wall & I plaster it with dust & sand lest a least hole should be left in this name & for all the care I take, I lose sight of my true being.

When it was day they came into my house & said, "We shall only take the smallest room here".
They said, "We shall help you in the worship of your God & humbly accept only our share of his grace" & then they took their seat in a corner & they sat quiet & meek.
But in the darkness of night I find they break into my sacred shrine, strong & turbulent, & snatch with unholy greed the offerings from God's altar.

Where the mind is without fear & the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches it's arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it's way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought & action - Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

The rain has held back for days & days, my God, in my arid heart. The horizon is fiercely naked - not the thinnest cover of a soft cloud, not the vaguest hint of a distant cool shower.
Send the angry strom, dark with death, if it is Thy wish, & with lashes of lightning startle the sky from end to end.
But call back, my lord, call back this pervading silent heat, still & keen & cruel, burning the heart with dire despair.
Let the cloud of grace bend low from above like the tearful look of the mother on the day of the father's wrath.

This is my prayer to thee, my Lord-strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys & sorrows.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys & sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before the insolent might.
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.
And give the strength to surrender my strength to Thy will with Love.

I thought my voyage had come to it's end at the last limit of my power, - that the path before me was closed, that provisions were exhausted & the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity. But I find that thy will knows no end in me. And when old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart, & where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with it's wonders.

When the creation was new & all the stars shone in their first splendor, the Gods held their assembly in the sky & sang, "Oh, the picture of perfection! the joy unalloyed!"
But one cried of a sudden - "It seems that somewhere there is a break in the chain of light & one of the stars has been lost".
The golden string of their harp snapped, their song stopped & they cried in dismay - "Yes, that lost star was the best, she was the glory of all heavens!"
From that day the search is unceasing for her & the cry goes on from one to the other that in her the world has lost it's one joy!
Only in the deepest silence of night the stars smile & whisper among themselves - "Vain is this seeking! Unbroken perfection is over all!".

I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you all & take my departure.
Here I give back the keys of my door - & I give up all claims to my house. I only ask for last kind words from you.
We were neighbours for long, but I received more than I could give. Now the day has dawned & the lamp that lit my dark corner is out. A summons has come & I am ready for my journey.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My first post

Today finally I took up the courage of creating my Blogging Account. I have always loved Writings, though I can never claim myself to be an intellect or a professional writer in my wildest dream, writing has always been something which I have loved from within & enjoyed doing so since a child.
Though with the growing up years, I took up Science & specialised in Pharmacy & eventually took up a Corporate career, I try to keep myself connected with my love for writing through Diaries, writing emails to my friends about my thoughts, some events which touches my inner side, journaling, maintaining memories of my son's childhood days which I plan to hand over to him when he grows up.
I am trying to take up Blogging to extend my Love for Writing & to explore my undiscovered Inner side. But, it has been quite a 'Start Up' problem today, the whole concept of Blogging, the Interface, the Options, the sophistication of the webpage, my complete ignorance of this medium has held me up like a slow moving traffic during the rush hours. Hopefully, in coming days, things will get settled down & my mind will be less agigated & the Blog will feel like my diary & pen in my hands.....hopefully, I will not have to name by Blog again as 'Starting Problem' :)