Arundhati Roy and the Algebra of Infinite Injustice July 22nd, 2014
Let me just say this at the very beginning , Arundhati Roy is a gem of a writer whose first book 'God of Small Things' is a favorite of mine. I could go on and on speaking volumes about how good a first book that is and why even if she never writes another novel, her book will continue to gain adoration and respect for time to come. But that is not what this post is about, I don't have the literary accumen to challenge Ms Roy but i feel like she is going through a period of decadence to have made such a statement on Gandhi.
Arundhati Roy while speaking at a function in memory of the great social reformer Ayyankali had given the audience a little more than what they expected, not just deviating from the topic, she surprised the heck out of everyone by suggesting that Gandhi's name should be removed from all institutions starting from universities. She accuses Gandhi of being a casteist by citing an article which he had wrote titled 'My Ideal Bhangi'. The article which appeared in the late 30's in Harijan had controversial quotes like the one given below
“The ideal Bhangi of my conception would be a Brahmin par excellence, possibly even excel him. What qualities should such an honoured servant of society exemplify in his person? In my opinion an ideal Bhangi should have a thorough knowledge of the principles of sanitation. He should know how a right kind of latrine is constructed and the correct way of cleaning it. He should know how to overcome and destroy the odour of excreta and the various disinfectants to render them innocuous. He should likewise know the process of converting night-soil and urine into manure.”
Even the die hard Gandhian would have a difficult time to turn the above mentioned passage to appear anything but silly and atrocious. But why would anyone want to project Gandhi as a perfect human to have ascended from the heavens when the idea of perfection itself is rubbish. He was a man of flesh and blood, he had few personality quirks just like all of us , he made few mistakes here and there. Still a major portion of world populace considers him as one of the finest to have represented our humankind and i am siding with the major portion here not because i want to follow the bandwagon but because of the simple fact that a man's life is measured by his contribution to bringing net positiveness in this world. And for all the quotes and proofs that anyone can come up with showing a darker side of Gandhi including a) how he was not a good father to his children b) on favoring Nehru over others c) Calling the south African blacks 'Kafirs' ; there exist a brighter side of Gandhi which shines over darkness, I feel obliged to quote Einstein here not to prove anyone a point but out of my respect for the Mahatma
"Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”
I am not planning on writing about the virtuos life which Gandhi lived, a good history book would serve the purpose . I want to focus my post on why people like Arundhati Roy find it fashionable to defame people who ought to be respected for generations to come. She represent a pseudo intellectual Left liberal group in India that sees only the wrong things happening in our country. They have been a group so good at criticising everything and anything in this country that now they are bored and want to move onto something bigger like shackling the core belief system of peoople and what better way to achieve this than attack the most respected figure in India. Heck, i don't remember a positive thing she has said about India for a long time and i do follow her somewhat. Look at how all the global media has responded to the news , In their eyes she is a person of Indian orgin , a booker prize winning author who has travelled the lenght and breadth of the nation calling our most respected figure a casteist. A poor picture is painted and western media has found one more point to throw poor light on a man whom they have been trying to bring down from his high pedestal for a long time unsuccesfully.
For more than half a century we took pride in calling Gandhi the father of our nation, he has been our passport to gain respect and support through out the world all these years for our non aligned movement and attaintment of freedom through non violence has left most people in awe. But sadly there has always been groups that has tried to undermine our growth story and tarnish our image, and people like Arundhati Roy are simply playing it to the hands of such groups.
Quoting the famous Macaulay speech again to drive home
'In one point I fully agree with the gentlemen to whose general views I am opposed. I feel with them, that it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect'
Maybe Maccaulay had succeeded after all.
Ms Roy baffles me quite a lot from her Kashmir seperation comments to her recent remark on Gandhi, i can understand when someone is criticising a system to see it get changed but in her remarks i see a fervent hatred and i can't quite see where it stems from. It is as if she wants to laugh at all our conventional belief systems.
Given a fair amount of time , i can come up with an article that Hitler was a good man who turned to the side of darkness since fate was tough on him. I could start with his wonderful paintings and come to an argument that anyone who could be so expressive in painting couldn't possibly carry all that malice in heart. I could explain his troubled upbringing and how he got fewer opportunities with arguments like 'If that art school in Vienna had accepted him he wouldn't have become the dictator' . To put some strenght to article I could add some 'Freud' or probably a passage from his autobiography. In the end i would have enough material evidence to say that Hitler was a product of his surroundings and deep inside he was a good human being. With the right amount of research and some shiny words thrown here and there i could make few people believe in my story. Someone who is good at this sort of thing can convince a lot of people, someone with a Man booker prize to his/her credit can make a lot of people question their initial thoughts about hitler and make them do google searches like 'Hitler Good Man'.
But no matter how many awards such a person had won, he/she would have nothing to say to the group of people who lived in Concentration camps seeing the 'Arbeit macht frei' boards hoping for their life to end through work. Because when such a fictious award winning writer comes face to face with the survivors , there will be no more lies but the truth : Hitler was a bad man who brought nothing but misery to world. All the counter arguments will fail because truth is plane and simple.
Gandhi brought hope and peace to this world, taught us to lead a life in harmony without killing each other (To know how big a deal those words are see what is happening in West Asia). He is a man with an iconic stature, anyone who is trying to bring it down is only trying their charm at what advertisers call 'shock value' . You say that the Most important , most revered figure in Indian history is nothing but a casteist ; It creates a sudden shock wave in people on hearing often followed by strong negative emotions. I can't fathom why someone of Ms Roy's pedigree would resort to such a cheap form of publicity.
To prove my point further let me take the case of an article which Ms Roy herself wrote for outlook magazine in 2010 . The article titled 'Walking with comrades' (Link : http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Walking-With-The-Comrades/264738 ) , is given the subtitle as 'Gandhians with Guns' and the article basically charms us by giving a shock value that the people whom we consider to be ferocious killers are actually very simple people fighting for a cause. See how she is ready to call them Gandhians in this instance , the word Gandhi is not yet derogatory for Ms Roy instead it is a symbol of respect. Fast forward 4 years and suddenly it seems like Gandhi is her worst nemesis , so much so that she wants his name removed from public institutions.
I can think of the act by Arundhati Roy only as a sacrilege to our belief systems , a form of Infinite Injustice that has been put on the man who went through a tough life so that people like Suzanna Arundhati Roy have right to free speech.
Cigna - Afterthought July 2nd, 2014
So I left cigna on 24th of June . It was one of those things which happened all of a sudden. I don't remember when exactly I started thinking about a release from cigna. I must say at this point I sort of miss everyone in the project. I had so many good friends and i was comfortable with all of them that I can't fathom sometimes why I decided to leave that place. I guess it was sum of events that happened that eventually made me decided that it is time to leave cigna.
I had invested a lot into learning how proclaim worked that I was getting into a phase where everything is easy fort me now. I had mastered even the most difficult mockup's and I left at a point where many good things could have happened to me career wise if I had sticked on.
But I have to say that starting from a period of maybe Feb I was getting quite lazy and probably what I did was the best thing to do. There was also this constant urge to move into development always work me.
Off to Nielsen. Let's see how things will peak out over there
Anju's Mini Project May 8th, 2014
Anju had asked me to work on her mini project. Though my initial intentions were to mentor her, it soon turned out to be some work that was sort of dumped on me. I guess i should learn to say No to people and things more often. But anyhow something good came of it eventually, played around with Google maps api quite a bit. My initial thought was i would write a good post which will act as a form of tutorial for the technically less inclined one's like me . I didn't have any prior experience with JS other than using it for validation purposes in stupid html form fields. But now i am lazy and all i am going to do is probably put the whole of code (HTML +JS) in here and then someday when i have totally forgotten how to do it - i could come back and have a look. I mean, that is the point of this Udayippu blog after all . Something like a scratch pad where i could throw my ideas in and come back at a later occassions. Talk is cheap , show me the code