Monday, June 9, 2008

An Inspiring Article

I came across this article when I was reading someone's blog. This someone in turn had read this article in "The Statesman". So, this post is not my own in totality unless you count what I'm babbling right now. Usually I don't just copy paste articles from somewhere but I loved this article so much that I'm posting it here as I read it. You can copy the article from here and post it on your blog too. Yeah yeah I know, enough build up eh? I'll post the article now before you shut this page in disgust without actually reading the article but here's something about it without which you wouldn't know who spoke this. The article is an excerpt of Mahasweta Devi’s inaugural address at the Frankfurt book fair in the year 2006, in Germany. Don't ask me who is Mahasweta Devi because I have no idea whatsoever. Go wiki her or something.

Extracts from Mahasweta Devi’s inaugural address at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany

“At 80 plus I move forward, often stepping back into the shadows. Sometimes I am bold enough to step back into the sunlight. As a young person, a mother, I would often move forward to when I was old. Amuse my son. Pretend not to see, or hear him. Flail my hands like in a blind man’s game, or make a mockery of memory. Forget important things. Things that had taken place but a moment ago! These games were for fun. Now they are no longer funny. My life has moved forward & is repeating itself. I am repeating myself. Recollecting for you what has been. What is. What could have been. May have been…”

“Nothing happens unless you know how to dream. The establishment is out to destroy, by remote control, all brain cells that induce dreams. But some dreams manage to escape, and I’m after those dreams. The right to dream should be our first fundamental right. And what I say next is an extension of those dreams”

“What do we mean when we speak of Indian culture in the 21st century? What culture? Which India? 60 yrs after our hard won independence, the Khadi sari is India just as the mini-skirt and the backless choli is. A bullock cart is India just as much as the latest Toyota or Merc. Illiteracy haunts us & still the same India produces men & women at the foremost of medicine, science and technology. Eight year old children toil mercilessly, facing unimaginable working conditions and abuse as child labor. And yet there are another lot of 8 year olds who spend their time in Air-conditioned classrooms & call their mothers at lunch break using their personal mobile phones. That too is India. Satyam shivam sundaram is India. Choli ke peechey is also India. The Multiplex and Mega mall is India. The snake charmer & the maharishi, that too is India.”

“Indian culture is a tapestry of many weaves, many threads. The weaving is endless as are the shades of the pattern. Somewhere dark, somewhere light, somewhere saffron, somewhere as green as the fields of new paddy, somewhere flecked with blood, somewhere washed cool by the waters of a Himalayan spring. Somewhere, the red of a watermelon slice. Somewhere, the blue of an autumn sky in Bengal. Somewhere, the purple of a musk deer’s eye. Somewhere, the red of a new bride’s sindoor. Somewhere, the threads form words in Urdu, somewhere in Bengali, elsewhere in Kannada, somewhere in Assamese, yet elsewhere in Marathi. Somewhere, the cloth frays. Somewhere, the threads tear. But still it holds. It holds”

“The pattern shifts, flows, stutters, forms again & changes shape from one season to another. I see one India in the pattern. You see another. Light & shadow play. History & modernity collide. Superstition & myth, Rabindra sangeet & rap, Sufi & Shia & Sunni, caste system & computers, laughter & tears, Governments & oppositions, reservations & quotas, Sanskrit & SMS, hamburgers & hari om hari. A seamless stitch. Many hands have stitched, are stitching, and will continue to stitch India. My country – torn, tattered, proud, beautiful, hot, humid, cold, sandy, bright, dull, educated, barbaric, savage, shining. So chaotic, yet so calm. So flexible, yet so rigid. So rich, yet so poor. So understanding, yet so easily misunderstood. After all, there are many Indias, as I keep repeating. Simultaneous, even parallel. India. My country. And its myriad cultures. There is room in India for all faiths. Despite the communal threats, the fundamentalism, the backwardness of rural life, the memories of underdevelopment (which are no memories but harsh realities for us), the threat of AIDS, natural & man-made disasters, farmer suicides, police violence, environmental disasters wreaked by industries and farmlands being purchased by MNCs, despite the battering of history & circumstances, India still is. Its culture still is. India has learnt to survive, to adapt, and to keep the old with the new.”

“I dream of an India where ‘backward’ does not & cannot ever apply. I wish to be Third world no more but the First! I wish for children to be educated. I wish for women to step into the light. I wish for justice for the common man. Survival for farmers. Homes for the poor. And hope for all. I wish for debts to cease. For poverty to vanish. For hunger to become a bad word that no one utters. I wish for the environment to be protected, to be loved & restored. I wish for the lands to be healed, the waters to be pure again, for the tiger to survive. I wish for self-reliance, for self respect, for independence from the shackles of superstition. I wish for equal medical aid for all. For light & water & a roof above every head. I wish for more & more books to be written, published in every language of the country. Let the words pour out. Let stories be told. Let the people read. Let the people learn how to read. To trace their fingers over each alphabet until they can spell their names, till they can write for themselves – I know. I can. I will. Let us battle ignorance with knowledge, and hatred with logic.”

“I wish for no more satis. No more dowry deaths, no more honor killings, no more flesh being bought & sold. Let no more parents have to sell their children to survive. Let no more mothers drown their daughters in the dead of the night. Let the downtrodden awake. Let the ignored & marginalized, the forgotten faces & the muffled voices arise to claim their own. Let the pattern make room. Let these new threads find place. Let new colors set the tapestry afire. Into that heaven of freedom, let my India awaken again & again. It is a big dream, I know. But not an impossible one. For any culture as old as ours to have survived over time through adversities, there can be only one basic & common acceptable core thought : humanness. To accept each other’s right to be Human with dignity.”

“This then, is my fight, my dream. In my life and in my literature.”


Though I 'think' she may be an author. Pretty inspiring, no? If you read the entire article you may get this urge to post it on your blog or share it with your friends. DON'T quell this urge. Follow your instinct and do whatever you thought first after reading this( but don't expect me to be very co-operative if you feel an urge to kill me), because I think that if you start thinking about it, you may not do what you wanted to. Moral of the story : Thinking kills impulses and impulses are what differentiate people from one another, uhh according to me at least.


humbl devil said...

yup, do agree with's important to pursue dreams...even if they have a lot of snow around... :P

and yeah..i think a lot but do act on impulses a lot too...
it's had a 50-50 success rate wid me...hehe

Eric S. said...

"Let the pattern make room. Let these new threads find place. Let new colors set the tapestry afire."

What a nice colorful metaphor. and a pleasant wish. Whoever the author is, she has a unique vision.

Thanks for stopping by Small Town. I got the assignment, and will begin work. I will make a post late this week, and let you know.

Thanks again for taking part.

spicymist said...

hey i love snow i wasnt complaining about the dreams. snow is my first love!!

spicymist said...

@ eric
ooh thanx for even considering my suggestion and you needn't do the 'assignment' if you dunt want to :P

Alok said...

You know what the trouble with people is?

They do not want to understand something when someone tells it to them in direct and simple words, because they think it's too trivial to be accepted. And even if they do accept it, they forget all about it soon.

On the other hand, tell them something complicated, something that they don't understand, and they follow it blindly, thinking it must be something powerful if they cannot understand it. However, since they do not understand it, they'll derive extremely stupid conclusions from it and follow them.

This might appear pessimistic, but it's not. I know for one that if a person picks up the ability to think correctly, he/she will definitely contribute to our progress. But more than a message, we need to rouse a spirit.

Alok said...

There lies the problem.

The spirit will awaken in times of need. When we would face an imminent tragedy, or when we would be going through one.

Of course, there is another simpler and slower method. Through the untiring efforts of individuals who know. But that would require the efforts of very strong people, people who want to work for that cause.

Can you see such people around you? I know that I'm not one of them. I'd rather want to ensure my survival first. But I can surely contribute in my own way, by constructing schools when I earn enough money, by supporting industry in the lowest of society (like the farmers).

spicymist said...

yeah well thats the problem with us i guess. we decided something must be done but don't wanna be the one 2 do it. and hope someone else who is better than us will do it. i guess veryone thinks so and in the end it happens that nothing is done about it.

Alok said...

And you know what, Spicymist, it is here that religion could have played a very important role.

Primarily, I feel that the message these "prophets" wanted to deliver was the same as this lady (bless her) wants to share. But, to make people understand, they introduced concepts which were out of reach of the simple mind.(God, Heaven, Hell)

And this has spawned blind followers, orthodox idiots, and false proponents. And those who do understand, have fallen for controlling those who do not, and there lies the problem.

When we study, when we work for the society, we are contributing in our own little way. And this, I believe, has kept the world together.

Of course, all these are just words. But words will spawn actions, I hope.

spicymist said...

religion yes. i guess that was probably why religions were made in the first place. at least i'd like to think that but then science and technology happened, and people didn't like being associated with religion because that would make them look narrow - minded and backward. those who did remain with religion were deemed as fanatics .mind u some of them are fanatics who justify war in the name of religion but the purpose behind the concept of religion when it was born was to guide people through their life without deviating from what is moral. then again morality is difficult to define like rationality.

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Alok said...

"Morality is difficult to define like rationality"

I don't believe in morality, I believe only in rationality (personal opinion) and hence I prefer being an Atheist.

Because the very basis of religion is irrational belief in a higher power, which was supposed to carry the message of Love, but went towards the other pole: hate.

In the end, it's all about Love and Trust. I love JK Rowling!

spicymist said...

yeah jkr rocks. so does philip pullman

Alok said...

Haven't read Pullman yet.

But I did like Christopher Paolini, and of course JRR Tolkien! :^D

spicymist said...

i liked lotr movies more. n eragon book of course. movie was crap. i hope they dunt make eldest too

Alok said...

Amen! :D

Meshrum said...

Well, everyone is aware of India's plight, but then most choose to ignore it. Awakening India is a Herculean task though not impossible. We need a constant jostle because we tend to support a cause for a short term and then it is off our minds.
What we need is some 'insomniacs' who will stay awake throughout the whole awakening phase.
What say Ruchi ;)

spicymist said...

insomaniacs are good for awakening people! nice one

Eric S. said...

I thought your profile was familiar. You know I have been feeling guilty about that for some time now. Trying to figure out how I was going to fit an article about Jeff Corwin into my blog now. See I really do remember.

I still love this post by the way.