Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Debt in culture

The question of debt runs deeper than we might think. Michael Dutton writes that from the 1940s on, as the Chinese Communists began to capture cities, they conducted blood test. The objective was not medical but political: “the most urgent cases involved tracking down and eliminating those who owed the communists a ‘debt of blood’” (Dutton, 2004, 167.) The separation of populations based on blood would lead to the identification of friends and enemies of the regime. The ‘debt of blood’ became over time, a reverence for the Party: familial, patriarchal reverence was replaced by loyalty to Mao, something we see wonderfully in the song sung at Fengxia’s wedding, where they sing – “nothing compares to the Party’s benevolence/Chairman Mao is dearer than father and mother”. The traditional lineage record was reconfigured, Dutton argues, to narrate a story of liberation facilitated by Mao. It was, he claims, “a story that evoked a debt” which could only be repaid by loyalty and devotion to Mao and the Party (ibid. 171.) - witnessing mao: on zhang yimou’s “to live” - & where do all these highways go now that we are free by anirban on Nov 19, 2011 8:40 AM

David Graeber’s Debt The First Five Thousand Years is a brilliant and powerful book; and even, I would say, a crucial one. Graeber does several things. He shows how the notion of “debt” has been integral to any notion of an “economy.” He traces the history of debt, both as an economic concept and as a metaphor for other forms of social engagement, back to the Mesopotamian civilizations of thousands of years ago. He traces the changes in how debt is conceived, and how economic exchange is organized, in various Eurasian civilizations and societies since then. And he contrasts these relations of economy and debt to those that existed (and still exist to some extent) in non-state societies (the ones that anthropologists tend to study). He takes account of Braudel’s claim that markets have long existed outside of and apart from capitalism — but shows that such markets have only improved life for all, rather than enforcing vicious social stratification through the imposition and collection of debts, when they have been grounded in a cooperative ethos, rather than a harshly competitive one. And he shows that the existence of virtual currency and virtual debt is not just a recent phenomenon, but has deep historical roots — it is hard currency, rather than virtual accounting, that is the more recent (and shallower) innovation. - David Graeber on Debt - The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro on Nov 19, 2011 10:40 PM

Friday, November 11, 2011

Boita Bandana Utsav at Delhi Haat

ODIA PUA - 9th Boita Bandana Utsav at Delhi Haat

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Boita Bandana Utsav on 10th November 2011 at India Gate

Bal Jagruti Association has been celebrating Boita Bandana Utsav in Delhi Since 2004
You would be happy to know that Bal Jagruti Association is celebrating Boita Bandana Utsav for 8th time in Delhi on 10th November 2011 at India Gate Boating Place... The sole purpose of this program is to throw lights on the rich cultural heritage of Odisha at National level.
Photoes Of Boita Bandana Utsav 2011 at India Gate

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Conflict between modern and postmodern

Why I stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement

Thus, the Occupy Wall Street movement epitomizes the postmodern consciousness with its solidarity for the oppressed and marginalized, its internalized guilt over the West’s legacy of imperialism, and a rebellion against materialism and selfishness. That the movement begins with a ritualized expression of outrage rather than a well-articulated list of demands is understandable; long have postmodern politics been impotent in American political discourse, relegated to the periphery in a two-party system with an iron clad grip on power.
View from an integral window on politics
Distinct in its vision of politics, the integral worldview understands that postmodernity follows modernity as part of a deep and complex spiral of development. The evolutionary view it shares with thinkers such as Fichte and Hegel and spiritual thinkers such as Tielhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo, though in the 21st century the most serious integral thinkers have shed the baggage of simple metaphysics in favor of a view that is arguably both “post-metaphysical” and “post-postmodern.”
Integral recognizes that postmodern political economics emerges from modern economics and is basically an elite, higher level of political consciousness. Postmodern politics is more evolved, more capable of embodying a spirit of justice and compassion, and more capable of taking appropriately worldcentric perspectives on important global problems. Both integral and postmodern political philosophies sense deeply that the days of ethnocentric social organization and independent nation-states is inadequate for coping with the complexities of today’s world.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tribalism and organized township

Quotation of the Day… - Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux on 10/09/2011 2:47 AM
… is from page 199 of Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies; here he’s talking about Plato:

"He transfigured his hatred of individual initiative, and his wish to arrest all change, into a love of justice and temperance, of a heavenly state in which the crudity of money-grabbing is replaced by laws of generosity and friendship. This dream of unity and beauty and perfection, this aestheticism and holism and collectivism, is the product as well as the symptom of the lost group spirit of tribalism. It is the expression of, and an ardent appeal to, the sentiments of those who suffer from the strain of civilization."

A comparison of Utopias as Nandan Nilekani, Kiran Bedi and Plato projects in their book - Guest post by TAHA MEHMOOD

Tihar: And the rise of Kiran Bedi as a Platonic benevolent dictator
When Kiran Bedi first entered Tihar as Inspector General Prisons, she felt like ‘entering an organized township.’[i] For all we know, she may have been referring to an imaginary city state like Plato’s Magnesia. Kiran Bedi, the retired Indian Police Service officer, is universally credited for reforming the largest prison complex in Asia Pacific region- The Tihar prison. In 1999 Kiran Bedi wrote a book, It’s always possible: one woman’s transformation of Tihar Prison, about her experience of managing the Tihar prison complex as Inspector General Prisons between 1993-1995. ...

Contemporary India, in Nilekani’s view, is suffering from a crisis. Where the states are forced into action by market pressure building up. This response led strategy has made ‘chaos the rule in our crumbling cities’[xxiii].

When Nilekani offers a sweeping history of railways in India, he does it through chaos. Nilekani carefully takes out 9 words from a book by Rajan Balachandran to explain how the British officers viewed the newly constructed fortified railway stations in India around 1870’s. In one sweeping sentence, Nilekani describes the railway stations as ‘protective Edens, against which,’ and then comes words form Rajan’s book, ‘the chaos of India beats, outrageous as a sea’[xxiv]. ...
Had Plato seen Chak De, I’d assume he would be amused not because of the narrative of aspiration or because of the redemption narrative but because he suggests citizens should practice war- not in time of war but during peace. And any city magistrate, who has any sense, must provide provisions in order to summon all the youth of the city for games and competitions. City Magistrates must distribute prizes and confer honor to victors and must blame those who lost. Sports for Plato was a tool to make the citizens remember the city-state and identify with it. ...

While reading Plato I often wonder why did he dream of an ideal space in a city setting. What is it about a city that is luring policy makers in India to make a case for urbanization? Why is urbanization the preferred goal of people like Nandan Nilkekani? Surely there is nothing modern about cities. Society in Plato’s time was highly urbanized. What is Thucydides’s account of the Peloponnesian war if not a tale of tens of cities fighting with each other over a fear that Athens could dominate over Hellenes.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Annihilating social fascism

Makarand Paranjape argues that modernity (and even postmodernity) did not come to India as it did in its naturalised form in Britain. As opposed to Western modernity lies Indian dharma as conceptualised by Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and Nehru, which may be investigated in the mysticism of "svaraj". - Beyond borders: A perspective of postmodernism on the issues of religion, ethnicity and identity. Theorising Religion in a Postmodern Context: Special Topic Issue of South Asian Review (Vol. 30, No. 1)
Ed. John Hawley. Pages 381. 
Price not mentioned. Reviewed by Rumina Sethi

If the chant of Vande Mataram has the power to empower civil society, it also has the power to destabilise democratic institutions that gave life to the poorest of the poor and the lower castes, particularly India’s Muslims. The high moral ground on which the Hindu middle class stands is a breeding ground for social fascism. ...
Corruption is not just economic practice; it is also cultural practice. Social fascism does not want us to see that inter-linkage, though it knows that such linkage exists. - Kancha Ilaiah is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad From: Deccan Chronicle September 7, 2011

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Balance of Justice
The European Court of Justice is a curious and instructive institution. Europe, even while vaunting a monopoly of civilisation, cherishes and preens herself in some remarkable relics of barbarism. In mediaeval times, with the scientific thoroughness and efficiency which she shares with the Mongolian, she organised torture as the most reliable source of evidence and the ordeal of battle as the surest guide to judicial truth. Both ideas were characteristically European. A later age may seem to have got rid of these luminous methods, but it is not so in reality. In place of the rack the French have invented the investigating judge and the Americans some remarkable processes, which I think they call questioning (the old name for torture) in the first, second and up to the fifth degree if not to higher stages of excellence. The torture is sometimes of the mind not of the body; it is less intense, more lingering, but it leads to the same result in the end. When the tortured wretch, after protecting with lies for as long as may be his guilt or his innocence, escapes from his furious and pitiless persecutor by a true or false confession, preferring jail or the gallows to this prolongation of tense misery, the French call it delicately “entering into the way of avowals”. The Holy Office in Seville could not have invented a more Christian and gentlemanly euphemism. The American system, is in the fifth degree, I think, to keep the miserable accused fasting and sleepless and ply him with a ceaseless assault of torturing questions and suggestions until the brain reels, the body sinks, the heart is sick and hopeless and the man is ready to say anything his torturers believe or want to be the truth. It is a true Inquisition; the mediaeval name fits these modern refinements.
The English people have often been accused as a brutal or a stupid nation; but they have a rugged humanity when their interests are not touched and enjoy glimpses of a rough common sense. They have besides an honourable love of publicity and do not like, for themselves at least, secret police methods. They have rejected the investigating judge and torture in the fifth degree. But their courts resemble the European. Under a civilised disguise these Courts are really the mediaeval ordeal by battle; only in place of the swords and lances of military combatants we have the tongues and technicalities of lawyers and the mutually tilting imaginations of witnesses. The victory is to the skilfullest liar and the most plausible workman in falsehoods and insincerities. It is largely an elaborate pitch and toss, an exhilarating gamble, a very Monte Carlo of surprising chances. But there is skill in it, too; it satisfies the intellect as well as the sensations. One should rather call it a game of human Bridge which admirably combines luck and skill, or consider it as an intellectual gladiatorial show. In big cases the stake is worthy of the play and the excitement, a man’s property or his life. But woe to the beaten! In a criminal case, the tortures of the jail or the terrifying drop from the gallows are in prospect, and it is rather the hardihood of guilt than the trembling consciousness of innocence that shall best help him. Woe to him if he is innocent! As he stands there, — for to add to the pleasurableness of his condition, the physical ache of hours of standing is considerately added to the cruel strain on his emotions, — he looks eagerly not to the truth or falsehood of the evidence for or against him, but to the skill with which this or that counsel handles the web of skilfully mixed truth and lies and the impression he is making on the judge or the jury. A true witness breaking down under a confusing cross-examination or a false witness mended by a judicious reexamination may be of much better service to him than the Truth, which, our Scriptures tell us, shall prevail and not falsehood, — eventually perhaps and in the things of the truth, but not in the things of falsehood, not in a court of Justice, not in the witness box. There the last thing the innocent man against whom circumstances have turned, dare tell is the truth; it would either damn him completely by fatally helping the prosecution or it is so simple and innocent as to convince the infallible human reason of its pitiful falsity. The truth! Has not the Law expressly built up a hedge of technicalities to keep out the truth?
As one looks on, one begins to understand the passion of the Roman poet’s eulogy of the defence counsel, praesidium maestis reis, the bulwark of the sorrowful accused. For in this strange civilised gambling with human dice where it is so often impossible to be certain about guilt or innocence, one’s sympathies naturally go to the sufferer, the scapegoat of a callous society, who may be moving to a long period of torturing and unmerited slavery or an undeserved death on the gallows. But if one could eliminate this element of human pity, it would be a real intellectual pleasure to watch the queer barbarous battle, appraise the methods of the chief players, admire, in whatever climes, the elusiveness and fine casualness of Indian perjury or the robust manly cheery downrightness of Saxon cross-swearing. If the Courts convince us of our common humanity by making all men liars, they yet preserve a relishable unlikeness in likeness. And I think that even theology or metaphysics does not give such admirable chances for subtlety as the Law, nor even Asiatic Research or ethnology favour so much the growth of that admirable scientific faculty which deduces a whole animal out of some other animal’s bone. If the thing proved is generally wrong, it is always ingenious; and after all in all these five sciences, or are they not rather arts? — it is not the thing that is true but the thing that is desired which must be established. This is perhaps why the Europeans think the system civilised, but as a semi-civilised Oriental, one would prefer less room for subtlety and more for truth.
On the whole, if anyone were to complain that modern civilisation eliminates danger and excitement out of human life, we could well answer the morbid grumbler, “Come into our Courts and see!” Still, praise must be given where praise is due, and let the English system once more be lauded for not normally exposing the accused to the torture of savage pursuit by a prosecuting judge or the singular revival in modern dress of the ancient “question” by the American police. Where political or other passions are not roused and bribery does not enter, the poor muddled magistrate does his honest best, and where there is a system of trial by jury, the blunders, whims and passions of twelve men may decide your fate less insanely than the caprices of a Kazi, — though even that is hardly certain. At any rate, if the dice are apt to be loaded, it is, with the exceptions noted, not on one but on both sides of the gamble.
Sri Aurobindo

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Full scope of free Market

Free market ideology, as represented in the nuanced ideas of Adam Smith or F.A. Hayek, has not outlived its purposefulness. Indeed, rejecting this ideology would be not just intellectually tragic. Rejection would be practically tragic, threatening the welfare and well-being of billions of people throughout the world. What we do need to reject is “free market ideology” as caricatured by critics and corrupted by politics. Now more than any time in my professional lifetime actual free market economics needs to capture the imaginations of young scientists, political intellectuals, and the general public, so that we can reverse the economic catastrophe we are starring down due to fiscal irresponsibility and monetary mischief. The dire fiscal situation in Europe and the US is not a matter of mere opinion; we have simply reached the tipping point of sustainable public expenditures. In order to address the problem, we need to revisit fundamental questions concerning the proper scale and scope of government in a free society. Sound economic reasoning, not flights of theoretical fantasy, is what is required for this task. The past thirty years proved the validity of Adam Smith’s assertion, “The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition…is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations. ” During “the age of Milton Friedman”, as Andrei Shleifer dubed it, key developments in economic freedom—deregulation in the US and UK, the collapse of communism in East and Central Europe, and the opening up of the economies of China and India—allowed individuals to surmount government meddling in the economy. From 1980 to 2005, there were marked, world-wide improvements in life expectancy, education, democracy, and living standards as integration into a world economy delivered billions of individuals from poverty, ignorance and squalor. September 11, 2001 changed that. “The war on terror” justified another great expansion of the scale and scope of government. Thus, like the Great Depression before it, the Great Recession was preceded not by a “do nothing” administration that supported free market policies, but by an activist administration that embraced the power of government intervention and greatly expanded the role of government throughout the economy and society at large. The great free market economic thinkers from Adam Smith to F. A. Hayek would understand why this change happened. They never argued that individuals were hyper-rational actors possessed with full and complete information, operating in perfectly competitive markets. They only argued that individuals will pursue, in the best way they can, those activities that are in their interest to pursue. These thinkers knew that individuals are individuals, fallible but capable human actors plagued by alluring hopes and haunting fears, not lightening calculators of pleasure and pain. Human fallibility may cause “failures,” inefficient markets, but this very fallibility also sets in motion the market process of discovery and adjustment. A setting of private property rights, free pricing, and accurate profit and loss accounting aligns incentives and communicates information so that individuals realize the mutual gains from trade with one another. Efficient markets are an outcome of a process of discovery, learning, and adjustment, not an assumption going into the analysis. That process, however, operates within political, legal, and social institutions. Those institutions can promulgate policies that block discovery, inhibit learning, and prevent adjustment, causing the market to operate poorly. So rather than free market ideology being obsolete, what is needed is a reinvigorated ideological vision of the free market economy: a society of free and responsible individuals who have the opportunity to prosper in a market economy based on profit and loss and to live in caring communities. Yes, caring communities. The Adam Smith that wrote The Wealth of Nations also wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and the F. A. Hayek that wrote Individualism and Economic Order also wrote about the corruption of morals in The Fatal Conceit. Our challenge today is to embrace the full scope of free market ideology so as to understand the preconditions under which we can live better together in a world of peace, prosperity, and progress. About the Author Peter J. Boettke is University Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Economics for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: On the Teaching, and Teachers, of Economics.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Life Divine covers the Vedic Vedanta Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo

Home > E-Library > Magazines > Sraddha > February 2010 > Contents
On the Mother Sri Aurobindo 7
On Herself Mother 10
The Divine Mother and the Triple Status of the Supermind Debashish Banerji 14
The Path of Nachiketa Alok Pandey 32
Sanskrit : A Journey from Mantra to Freedom Sampadananda Mishra 38
VedaVyasa’s Mahabharata in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri Prema Nanda Kumar 47
On ‘The Life Divine’ Of Sri Aurobindo Sarnath Basu 62
The Nature of Faith In the Light of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga Psychology A S Dalal 70
Spiritual Knowledge Martha S G Orton 77
Karma In History: An Evolutionary Perspective M S Srinivasan 88
Indian Culture and Hinduism Kittu Reddy 105
Sri Aurobindo and Chandernagore Trija Ray 117
A New System of National Education: Agenda For Change Sachidananda Mohanty 137
The Theme of Urvashi in The Indian Renaissance: Madhusudan Datta, Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo Ranajit Sarkar 142
The National Value of Art Pabitra Roy 159
‘‘Sadhak Nolinida—The Wayfarer of the Sunlit Path’’ Manoj Dasgupta 171
Jugal Kishore Mukherjee (1925-2009) R Ranganath 182
13 January was the 120th birth anniversary of Nolini Kanta Gupta, the  manasputra  of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, about whom Sri Aurobindo is reported to have commented once ‘If Nolini is not doing my yoga, then who is?’ We have here an article by Manoj Dasgupta giving a very humane sidelight into the life of sadhak Nolinida. The past couple of months also witnessed the passing away of two of the Mother’s most beloved children – Jugal Kishore Mukherjee and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, universally loved as our dear ‘Dada’. We have no doubt that after living a full and active life at the service of the Mother, they have ultimately found a resting place at Her lotus feet.

On ‘The Life Divine’ Of Sri Aurobindo
Sarnath Basu
Ere we begin reflecting on Sri Aurobindo’s magnum opus ‘The Life Divine’, it may be necessary to refresh ourselves with some historical information about its publication. Sri Aurobindo suffered one year in jail as an under trial prisoner in Alipore Bomb case. He regularly studied the Gita, the Upanishads and practised yoga in the jail. He had divine vision well within the precincts of the prison-cell when he came to know that he was not to pursue politics. Indeed God ordained a special task in which he had to engage himself. Thereafter on being freed from the jail he went to Pondicherry in 1910 and intensely practised yoga. In the jail he had the vision of omnipresence of God (Vasudevah Sarvam) and his yoga sadhana at Pondicherry was indeed an uninterrupted chain of that realisation. The first historic meeting of The Mother and Paul Richard with Sri Aurobindo took place on March 29, 1914. The Mother had Sri Krishna’s vision in the person of Sri Aurobindo. Indeed Paul Richard in his very first meeting with Sri Aurobindo in 1910 was profoundly moved by observing his unfathomable knowledge in all aspects of the Eastern and Western literature, culture, religion, yoga etc. After his second meeting he placed before Sri Aurobindo the proposal to publish a monthly journal with a view to bringing about a synthesis of the Eastern and Western philosophy and culture. Sri Aurobindo agreed to his proposal that resulted in the publication of the first issue of the philosophical review with the name ‘ARYA’ on August 15, 1914.
The purpose and nature of publication of this journal were indicated by the editors (Sri Aurobindo Ghose - Paul & Mirra Richard) on the reverse side in the front page of the first issue, as follows: […]. But ‘The Life Divine’ was not based on the Upanishads alone. The mighty great tree i.e. the Vedas in its entirety is its main foundation. The ARYA came out every month till January 1921. Later the published articles were culled, enlarged, edited, and added with 12 (twelve) new chapters, the book was published entitled ‘The Life Divine’ in Volume I & Volume II in the year 1939 and 1940 respectively. Thereafter the book was also published as a single compendium comprising both the volumes. Every chapter of the book has its beginning enriched with passages, original Sanskrit texts rendered into English by Sri Aurobindo himself, from the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Purana and the Gita etc. We find that he has quoted as many as 43 (forty-three) passages from the Rig Veda alone, 6 (six) from the Atharva Veda, besides a large number of citations from major and minor Upanishads. There is hardly any scope of doubt about the uniqueness of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga-sadhana but we can fairly understand from the quoted passages as prelude to every chapter that his yoga-sadhana was not delinked from the rich tradition of the sadhana of the ancient Rishis. He compared the realisations he had attained through his yoga-sadhana with those stated in the Gita, the Upanishads, the Vedas  and only after testifying, corroborating and validating each and every bit of such realisations, he provided an ‘intellectual’ [to put in his own words] interpretation in the book. Judging from this point of view ‘The Life Divine’, of course, is a book on the Vedanta philosophy; and we can take the liberty of naming it ‘Vedic Vedanta Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo’.

Jugal Kishore Mukherjee 1925 – 2009
R Ranganath
Jugal Kishore Mukherjee, one of the most eminent intellectual sadhaks of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, passed away on December 15, 2009 at the age of 84. […]
Jugalda was a prolific writer, having written many books in English and Bengali. He was a contributor to many journals connected with Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. In his book,  “The destiny of the Body” (1975), he discusses the transformation of the human body into a divine supramental body from a scientific and biological angle. With his vast knowledge of science, he points out many interesting facts about longevity in the animal world. In 1989, he wrote “Sri Aurobindo’s Poetry and Sanskrit Rhetoric”.  In 1990, flowed another book from his pen: “From Man Human to Man Divine”. Then in 1995, came a book on Sri Aurobindo’s Humour “Sri Aurobindo The Smiling Master”. In 1994 he produced a small booklet entitled “The wonder that is Amal Kiran” in commemoration of the ninetieth birthday of K.D. Sethna, another very eminent Aurobindonian scholar, author and literary critic. In his book, “The Practice of the Integral Yoga”, Jugalda gives practical hints to be applied in day to day life-situations, keeping in mind the principles of the Integral Yoga. “The Mystery of Death, Fate, Karma and Rebirth” was published in 2004 and it seemed that this subject was already holding his attention in the last phase of his life.
Then came some booklets: “Sri Aurobindo Ashram: Its role, responsibility and Future Destiny”; “The Ascent of Sight in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri”; “Principles and goals of Integral Education”. There were two Bengali books as well: “Poorna Yoger Sadhan Paddhati—in two volumes and “Mrityu Rahasya”. [The ascent of sight in Sri Aurobindo's SavitriThe Destiny Of The Body/The Vision and the Realisation in Sri Aurobindo's YogaThe Wonder That is K.D. Sethna Alias Amal KiranFrom Man Human to Man Divine: Sri Aurobindo's Vision of the Evolutionary Destiny of ManSri Aurobindo: The Smiling MasterSri Aurobindo Ashram - Its Role, Responsibility and Future Destiny: An Insider's Personal View]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lessons for Anna Hazare from J.P. Movement

The Hindu : Looking back at the Emergency HARISH KHARE Sunday, Sep 21, 2003 Magazine IN THE PAST
In Bipan Chandra's perspective, J.P. had stumbled upon a misguided mission. J.P.'s agenda was "mere truism"; he was a prisoner at times of "woolly thinking" and at other times of "hazy, naive, and unrealistic thinking". The "total revolution", a concept that J.P. preached, was "at best a romantic notion or a matter of mere rhetoric", " vague and indicative only of good intentions"; J.P.'s economic ideas were "utopian", characterised by " a lack of coherent and concrete programme". In other words, a harbinger of anarchy and disorder. Yet the historian does not feel provoked enough to indict him for failing to understand what forces the destructive potential of mobs and crowds. The only flaw that invites Bipan Chandra's disapproval is J.P.'s gullibility in letting the Rashtriya Swayamsevek Sangh (RSS) take over the "movement". Once the RSS is located as the prime mischief-maker, then Mrs G's temptation for authoritarian sin becomes understandable, if not excusable. …
Even if J.P. had not blundered into uncorking a "movement", some other event or individual would have provided the spark for re-working the paradigm with or without a spell of anarchy, which no body could necessarily, hope to calibrate. It is here that Bipan Chandra's narrative offers useful lessons for political leaders and rulers: they must understand that their excessive partisanship would have consequences, which may not always be amenable to reasonable sorting.
If history has to indict, as it must, J.P. for embarking upon a path for which he was neither organisationally nor politically nor even intellectually equipped, then what was Indira Gandhi's excuse for resorting to an extreme solution?
In the Name of Democracy: J.P. Movement and the Emergency, Bipan Chandra, Penguin paperback, p. 384, Rs. 350. Tusar N. Mohapatra  -  5:22 PM 

State vs Anna Posted By  Jug Suraiya   TOI 16 August 2011, 10:49 PM IST
Is Anna Hazare a saviour of democracy or is he sabotaging it? This is the crucial question facing India days after it celebrated the 64th year of its independence from foreign rule. The Congress party and the government have attacked Anna Hazare and his...
Critics – and these include not just those in the Congress party or in the government, but also those who while sympathetic to Hazare’s professed ideals of cleansing corruption from our society have doubts about his methods – have pointed out the danger to democracy posed by what might be called ‘ad hoc vigilantism’. Today it is Anna with his campaign against corruption. Tomorrow it could be another rebel, with or without a cause. If constitutional institutions like Parliament are bypassed how long will it be before our much-touted democracy becomes a mobocracy, presided over by demagogues with self-assumed power?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Mystic thought of Kashmir & RSS thought process

Experts on mysticism from Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced ...
Prof. Ananda Reddy and Prof. Sebastian Painadaph from the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research, Puducherry and Sameekshan Research Centre (Philosophy) MG University, Kottayam, Kerala, respectively, called on N. N. Vohra, Governor, at Raj Bhavan here this evening. Prof. G. M. Khawaja, Professor Research, Institute of Kashmir Studies (IKS), University of Kashmir, was accompanying the two scholars. Prof. Reddy, an expert on Vedic traditions and spirituality, and Prof. Sebastian, expert on Christian mysticism, are currently on a visit to the Institute of Kashmir Studies to deliver lectures at the ongoing 13-day Workshop being organized by the IKS on “Mystic Thought of Kashmir”, from 1st to 13th August. Forty persons from all over the Kashmir Valley are participating in this Workshop.The Governor, who is the Chancellor of the University and Chairman of the IKS, had wide ranging discussions with Prof. Reddy and Prof. Sebastian which focused essentially on the identification of all possible approaches for creating deeper understanding of various religious beliefs and traditions, to foster a truly multi-cultural environment.   Prof. Khawaja briefed the Governor about the ongoing deliberations at the Workshop and the topics being discussed and the lectures delivered by the experts in this event.  

A talk given on the occasion of the installation of Sri Aurobindo’s relics at Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham in Lodi, CA, on 19 April 2008
These relics too are not just some parts of Sri Aurobindo’s body. They are surely not meant just to perpetuate a tradition, to keep alive through a tradition some form of the past, or some remembrance of Sri Aurobindo. The Mother who broke free from all traditions, who gave this beautiful prayer to the children of the school—“Make of us the hero-warriors we aspire to become; May we fight successfully the great battle of the future that seeks to be born against the past that seeks to endure. May we be ready for the new things that are waiting to manifest”—She would not send the relics just to perpetuate an old tradition. She started the institution of relics, if we may use the word institution. Not only did She send the relics, she took great, great care. It was as if Sri Aurobindo himself was going. So She did not start the journey of the relics just to keep alive a tradition. In fact, there were places were relics were sent for which she would say that Sri Aurobindo must receive a State honor. And even now in Orissa and in some places in India, when relics come, there is a State honor which is given. …
It is not just portions of his body, it is a portion of the Divine embodiment. It is the physical atmosphere of Sri Aurobindo coming to us. To those of us who have been privileged to feel that physical atmosphere in the vicinity of the Ashram, and how it envelopes all creatures there. It is his physical atmosphere, something of himself which comes here.

City gets aurobindo ashram Times of India Aug 1, 2011, 02.16PM IST
Governor J B Patnaik inaugurated the Aurobindo Bhavan at Panjabari in the city on Sunday. Sri Aurobindo Society is an international society striving for a new world order based on spirituality. It would soon start joint programmes with teachers from school to university-level in Assam to transform the education system in the state. International secretary of the society, Gopal Bhattacharjee said all aspects of life have to be raised to the highest possible level and transformed into a new consciousness guided by the divine consciousness. The society gives utmost importance to integral education, which has a wider scope for an individual to learn every moment through formal and informal education, based on the ideals of Sri Aurobiundo and The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Bhattachrjee said.
He said that the society aims to raise divine counsciousness among the people and help in leading a better and fuller life leaving past the difficulty and prolems.
He said that the Sri Aurobindo Bhawan at Panjabari will become the centre of integral education and spiritual activities. The society has two branches in Assam- Digboi and Guwahati at present. It also has centres at Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Dhekiajuli, Hojai, Mangaldoi, Silchar and Karimganj.
Chatterjee informed that the education cell of the society is giving suggestions to the Centre for taking steps in spirituality development and would work for transformation of the education scenario in Assam. 
The next topic deals with the RSS thought process, and how in a very congress way the foundation of it was destroyed pushing it to extreme right. Many say that the RSS thought process strengthened with Mahatma Gandhi, but much influence can be seen coming from Sri Aurobindo’s works in Baroda.
Before division of India on linguistic ground the Marathi community was a loved people through much of India, they had a cementing effect for many things they symbolized, the social engineering symbolized by Chatrapati Shivaji in the south and later Chatrapati Shahu in the north, was symbolic of a progressive mindset, they symbolized the union of the north and the south, they symbolized a bridge between the Shaives and Vaishnavs. And  most of all, they represented three hundred years of war against the Moguls (not Muslims because both Rajputs and Marathas fought for and against Moguls, and they had political differences India never had religious wars), two hundred years of struggle against the British. The three Anglo Maratha wars first one lost them Bihar, second Surat and third broke the Maratha Federation with the fall of Pune. It is not surprising then that in much of north India the Maratha states played a central role in the make and break of the struggle of 1857. The fall of the Scindias and later the Holkers in 1857 had such a psychological effect that the revolt could not hold.
So the point is that the society looked at Marathi people with a lot of hope, and when Sri Aurobindo started sharing his opinion in Baroda, Madhya bharat and Bengal, it had a telling effect on the youth of that time and much of that lot was Marathi youth because of the proximity of the community in serving banks and education related activity, and the undercurrent spared like wild fire. Sri Aurobindo had met Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and it seems that had much to do with the rebel within congress and his change of opinion about religion (the man who opposed the child Marriage bill on religious ground to a man who challenged even the Sunkaracharya).
But the biggest strength of the RSS thought process was also its biggest weakness, it mostly grew along the borders of the Maratha states, the so called Hindi belt, and it also carried a certain image. This was the biggest strength of the congress, great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Mohmad ali Jinha, and others carried the possibility of a new India, and that was most appealing to the length and the breadth of the nation. And I think the promise was a very real one, and all that it held was achievable, if the democracy was respected.  
The point that the above makes is that after the independence when congress came to power the Congress stated seeing the Hindi belt as a serious vote bank, and the best way to defeat any serious competition was to break it at its base. With the separation of Maharashtra the Marathi people were regionalized and so to say ‘the RSS was shown its place’. It seems this is the reason why an organization that was perceived to be slightly rightist became extreme rightist. And I guess they lost everything with it, they were merely reduced to an opposition party than any Ideology.
But more than the loss of the RSS it was the nation that lost the most, the nation was divided on linguistic ground, something even the British Administration that is accused of the divide and rule policies did not feel proper, and it is commendable of the British Administration, we accuse them of partition but they could have done much more had they so intended. Something that the free India is aspiring for.
By changing the constitution for its cheep vote bank politics I don’t understand what the Congress have proven. They destroyed the very bases that gave India its character, its culture and they say they did it to protect India’s culture, how very sad.
So much so that today India is seen as an alien power, an occupying force, a Delhi Raj by many. I hope both the thought processes the congress and the RSS will realize there doing and do away with this sad amendment to the constitution, and let the genius of the wise man Dr. B. R. Ambedkar actually see the light of the day. And most of all refrain from flippant changes to the constitution as if it is some toy.
Today the BSP claims to be the true representative of Dr. BR Ambedhker his federalism his thought for equality and justice, but I guess they do not believe what they stand for, as they say STRONG ENOUGH, to bring about a perceivable change. The congress suggests that both the left and the right are not serious political parties and relates them to extreme groups. And it is quite possible it be true, but if they come clear. It is important to realize the significance of a reasonable Opposition.

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Sri Aurobindo - Norman Dowsett 5-12-1950 Arushi is an E-zine from
In the delicate purples and mauves of the evening sky
A sunset sadness lingers in the glow
And whispers to the heart: the Day must die,
Its light upon some alien shore to flow. 

Friday, August 05, 2011

Sri Aurobindo and Roy both supported the Cripp’s offer

The Radical Humanist - ARTICLE A book backed by massive research and massive scholarship Sri Aurobindo: A contemporary Reader: Book Review by R.M. Pal  [Sri Aurobindo: A contemporary Reader, edited by Professor Sachchindananda Mohanty Price Rs. 325/-] 
This is a book for Sri Aurobindo admirers, especially for those who have no time to read or do not have access to the complete works of Sri Aurobindo. My late friend Shri Girilal Jain, the illustrious editor of The Times of India, was a great admirer of two great Bengali revolutionaries, Aurobindo Ghosh and M.N. Roy. I once asked him what was there in Aurobindo who was at one time dismissed by Gandhi for giving his opinion on the Cripp’s plan for India’s Independence
I have learnt a lot, Girilal said, from Aurobindo’s foundations about Indian culture, a free and united India, India’s mission and destiny, Indian nationalism. All important Indians like Bipinchandra Pal, Subhash Chandra Bose & Rabindranath Tagore saluted Aurobindo. Only Gandhi refused to recognize in him the great revolutionary and the great intellectual. 
It is in this background that I wanted to read the writings of Sri Aurobindo, who was at one time our hero. Apart from the general introduction by Prof. Mohanty, which is scholarly, I quote below the editorial note (editor’s prologue from the chapter ‘Foundation of Indian Culture’) which contextualizes Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts concerning Indian culture. (143)  […]

As I have mentioned above Sri Aurobindo’s appeal to congress leaders to support British war efforts in that connection he sai a special messenger Advocate Duraiswamy of Madras to Gandhi to speak on behalf of Sri Aurobindo to support British was efforts in order to defeat the enemy of human culture & human civilization Hitler & the Axis Powers. Gandhi summarily dismissed Aurobindo’s plea who is Aurobindo he has left politics. It is most regrettable that Gandhi did not know even though Sri Aurobindo was not an active revolutionary now & choose to lead a spiritual life he did not cease to take interest in India’s affairs. The book under review refers to a number of instances when Sri Aurobindo gave his opinion on affairs relating to India
NOTE:  At the Outbreak of the World War II in 1939 Roy took a strong stand in favour of full Indian support to British War effort. Based on his position on two arguments 1) that Fascism was the greater evil and all forces should be rallied against it and that the British would emerged so exhausted after the War that it would have to grant independence to India. Roy was convinced that the end of the war would be quickly followed by Independence for India. Shri Aurobindo also had the more or less same view with regards to Fascism. Sri Aurobindo and Roy both supported that Cripp’s offer and yet what is surprising is that Sri Aurobindo and Roy did not knew one another’s views. Sri Aurobindo had known to early Roy (Narendra Bhattacharyaji) of the revolutionary days in Bengal. There was at least one revolutionary, Amarendranath, who is a devotee of both Ray and Aurobindo We know from Prof. Mohanty’s book that Sri Aurobindo congratulated Amarendranath on his work on the anti-fascist front. Amarendranath was an active member of the RDP & naturally in 1942 was engaged in anti-fascist activity as per RDP resolution.
If M N Roy knew that Sri Aurobindo was none other than Aurobindo Ghosh who sends a special emissary Mr. Duraiswamy to Gandhi recommending acceptance of Cripp’s offer and Gandhi’s summary dismissal of emissary saying that Aurobindo is no more in politics. Why should he take interest in political affairs? Roy would have defiantly informed leaders of the congress like Nehru, Patel and others that Aurobindo’s opinion should not be dismissed. So emissary things might have different in 1942. One hopes Prof. Mohanty will one day do some research on this aspect to find out why this two leaders did not know one another’s views on the question of support to British War efforts and their almost identical views on the dangerous posted by fascism.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The abiding appeal of this controversial book lies in its empirical depth

Letters to Editor telegraph  Wednesday , August 3 , 2011
Free speech 
Sir — In “Ban the ban” (July 30), Ramachandra Guha has taken the Gujarat government to task for slapping a ban on a book on Mahatma Gandhi by the American writer, Joseph Lelyveld. Significantly, the government of India is not a party to the ban. This is principally because of the instant intervention of the two scholarly descendants of the Mahatma — Rajmohan Gandhi and Gopalkrishna Gandhi — who put their objection to the ban in writing. The Manmohan Singh government then cleared the book for free circulation.

Guha mentions other instances of books being banned in India. Such episodes reveal the dictatorial streaks in India’s ruling class. Of the many cases, the ban on Peter Heehs’s The Lives of Sri Aurobindo deserves special mention. The abiding appeal of this controversial book lies in its empirical depth. Proscribing a book cannot be considered the right way to deal with controversial writers.

Incidentally, I beg to differ with Guha on one count. Guha mentions the Left Front government’s ban on a book written by Taslima Nasreen. Guha’s views are misplaced on this occasion. Bengal’s intelligentsia had defended Nasreen when fundamentalists had threatened her on an earlier occasion. Unfortunately, the Bangladeshi author seemed to have misused her freedom of expression later. Her book, Dwikhandita, was a shameless attack on the prophet. It was only then that scholars and intellectuals raised their voice in protest. But they had not pressed for her extradition. That came about as a result of an organized vandalism in Calcutta by some sections of the minority community. Therefore, the Left Front government cannot be indicted of having discriminated against her.

Guha, though, is absolutely within his rights to chastise Narendra Modi, who deserves to be punished for his disrespectful gesture. Yours faithfully, P.B. Saha, Calcutta 

Sir — Ramachandra Guha rightly says that in India most books are banned because of the insecurity and weaknesses of the government. Banning a book only makes it more popular. Those who had paid scant attention earlier end up being eager readers of the controversial work. Many readers profess dogmatic views. They often lack complete knowledge of a subject. Hence they are easily provoked by anything that appears to contradict their own views. On many occasions, they denounce such contrary views as immoral or wrong.

But India being the largest democracy must allow freedom of expression. This is only because the stifling of free speech is alien to democratic principles. Yours faithfully, Maloy Pal, Calcutta

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Dharna against Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trustees in Puducherry

date 2 August 2011 22:15 subject Fwd: Fw: PHOTOS 4 attachments  10:23 PM 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Complex economy and million mutinies

On the complexity of society and social sciences – here’s my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. by Don Boudreaux. Reality is like that. It's complex. The economy is especially so. [...]
The zillions of decisions made daily by the billions of people in today's global economy simply cannot be predicted -- and the detailed consequences of these decisions cannot be predicted -- with the kind of precision that we take for granted in many of the natural sciences. So any economist worth his or her salary will qualify any prediction of the future -- and qualify any explanation of the past -- with the recognition that other predictions and explanations also have potential merit.
Economists cannot avoid the large amounts of uncertainty and imprecision that make economics unsatisfying to people, such as Truman, who demand simple and unambiguous answers. But because there's a large demand -- especially among politicians -- for simple and unambiguous answers, there's no shortage of people willing to supply such answers. Read more: Not so simple - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 

Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister, was asked what he feared most during his time in office. “Events, dear boy, Events,” was his answer. David Cameron, his ninth successor as PM, would agree. What has now hit Britain, a “firestorm” as he called it, did not even begin with Murdoch.

Deirdre McCloskey’s new book, Bourgeois Dignity: Why economics can’t explain the modern world, reveals that the West rose after 1800 not only because of economic factors but also because the discourse about markets, enterprise, and innovation changed. People became enthusiastic and encouraging of entrepreneurs. The development of the West is explained not as much by colonialism and imperialism; not by Marx’s theory of classes; not by Max Weber and his Protestant ethic; not even by Douglass North and the central role of institutions. It has much more to do with how people’s perceptions and expectations changed.
Robert Lucas, the Nobel Prize winner, says that ‘for income growth to occur in a society, a large fraction of people must experience changes in the possible lives they imagine for themselves and their children…economic development requires a million mutinies’. There are still vast areas of horrible poverty and deprivation in India but there is also a critical mass of people who can see that their lot is palpably better than their parents; their future is open, not pre-determined, and can be changed by their own actions. They feel that dignity is being bestowed on their middle class dreams as their children are getting MBAs and aspire to become CEOs. Ordinary conversations over chai and chaat are about markets and innovation. Even leftist theorists at JNU and in the Congress Party have been forced to rethink their old prejudices. What has changed is ‘habits of the mind’ as India has become a ‘business respecting civilization’ in Schumpeter’s words.]

History is a mixture of perception and propaganda that confuses some of the fundamental elements of humanity.
As a pack animal, the human needs to associate with the pack. That may be the family group, the extended family, the religious faction, the political faction, the nation or the supra-nation. From that group, other groups are viewed, the perception of those other groups will not recognize all of the elements of those groups and it is almost guaranteed that the self-perception of any group will be different from the perception of that group by other groups.
Within a commercial organization, those negative instincts develop a new divided structure of sales, administration, production, research, etc. as workers in each discipline group together. People associate by their dress and behaviour in new packs. A corporation will prosper by encouraging all employees to consider the corporation as the framework of the pack, but this is still a competitive pack that sees other corporations as the enemy.
Against this natural pack instinct, humans have an ability to imagine and to develop an awareness that transcends brutal animal instincts. Individuals reaching a higher understanding can stand for their beliefs and bring about positive change but always risk the collection of similar understandings into a new religion that can be subverted by those who always seek to control others and to decide what is true and acceptable on behalf of millions of followers.
Any individual, within a group, will hold unique perceptions of all around and that perception will be contained by the society of the group. From time to time, the negative perceptions of the individual will break free from the constraints of society as it has just done so tragically in Norway. From time to time the positive perceptions of an individual will break free from the constraints of society and bring positive changes to that society and perhaps to a much wider group.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Change that is positive, rapid, and infectious

So you will have the same set of people exhibiting one standard of civic behaviour in the streets of Kolkata, and quite the opposite in the Kolkata metro stations. You will find recruits from the same educational institutions happening to join two different organisations, but just five years later their ethical conduct will be as similar as chalk and cheese. Who would assert, for example, that at the level of the individual, the Scandinavian people display a different sense of right and wrong from Indians? Yet, only a die-hard will dispute that Scandinavian society is immeasurably more just than Indian society. These pointers lead to two general conclusions:
a) unit behaviour is not an algebraic sum of the quality of individuals who constitute the unit, and
b) individuals within a unit respond as they perceive the unit. If they perceive the unit to be fair, they will be fair. If they perceive the unit to be unfair, they will be unfair.
In this insight lies embedded our opportunity. Once the tipping point is crossed, small inputs at the level of a unit fetch disproportionate change. Change that is positive, rapid and infectious. The writer, former MD of Idea Cellular, is adviser to corporates and not-for-profit organisations

NGO offers forest trip to volunteers, Zahra Gabuji, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 20, 2011
The speaker at the workshop, Aviram Rozin, co-founder of Sadhana Forest, built on the outskirts of Auroville, spoke about his experience of turning 70 acres of severely eroded land into a tropical dry evergreen forest. 
"I always wanted to practise sustainable living. But in an urban jungle like Mumbai, I didn't know how," said Ajrawal. "This project will give me a chance to experience a different aspect of life."
Rozin began his non-profit eco venture seven years ago. "Sadhana Forest is a volunteer- based community where people work together and practise simple and ecological living. They can share ideas, plan events, interact with people from neighbouring villages and plant trees," said Rozin. "We want to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle." The talk included a discussion on how more people need to be part of the ecological movement. 

One theory is that government exists to correct externalities and provide public goods. The other is that government uses the language of helping people to justify giving stuff to the politically powerful out of the pockets of the rest of us.

It might be appropriate to close this investigation with precisely such an example, drawn from the writings of Sri Aurobindo. “But I do not insist on everybody passing through my experience or following the Truth that is its consequence. ...”