[Reader-list] P. Sainath :Where India shining

hpp at vsnl.com hpp at vsnl.com
Thu Apr 6 11:31:02 IST 2006

Dear Friends

I read Jeebesh's post - shortly after wincing with distaste over the fact that the top news story in today's Telegraph (Calcutta) was about some MBA student who had got a job paying Rs 1 crore (pa). I also heard this on some TV news channel last night.

I'm glad Jeebesh talked about the "psychological profile".

However much the super affluent might give vent, with abandon, to unrestrained self-expression and indulgence - as this case of the images shows, they are still battling the ghost of "the poor". It shows the hatred of "the poor", rooted ultimately in fear and a sense of impotence, vulnerability I guess.

The "liberated" individuals, have not yet liberated themselves from their own mean-ness and fears. 

All their superior endowments have not given then a proper perspective, of the whole pecking order in the power matrix in society. And thus lead them to make choices, and make common cause with others, to alter the status-quo.

I can also see that things like sadistic sexual perversions are only a side-step from here. We have seen the Jessica Lal case, and more recently the one involving the S Kumar's grandson.

Its all a question of "taste" I guess. So much of refinement of the gross is needed. And in our context, aesthetics and enlightenment cannot but be defined in terms of social inclusion and dignity of the downtrodden.

We have yet to awaken as truly liberated souls, and express our power in creative, imaginative, aesthetic, wise and humane ways. And of course, start thinking about and act constructively on public matters, and thus build a more inclusive future.

Perhaps with growing globalisation and prosperity, we will start seeing such positive things also, with the present expressions being only an initial flushing out of the negative elements, to be followed by a wholesome vigour.

In that direction - I read about some MBA's from a leading business school turning down lucrative and overseas job offers to start something of their own, which they considered more challenging and self-fulfilling.

There's also of course the relentless narcissism of the mainstream media. This has an insidious, menacing effect.

Jeebesh wrote: "Authoritarian solutions of many kind will gain ground, so will deep solipsism." Yes, that is all that looms over the horizon. Perhaps only some traumatic crisis situations will shake and awaken us from our stupor. And until then, some people will cry hoarse, be disregarded, be ridiculed, be labelled "mad", sick" etc for disturbing the gleeful orgies of others. (Some others will also do well in the business of conscience-keeping.)


P.S.: I am reminded of a short story (written in 1969) by the Bengali writer Subimal Misra, which I recently translated. “Parkstreet-er traffic post-ey holud rong” (Amber light at Park Street crossing) is about a beggar dying on the street. The people of the city are blind to this, because they are obsessed with the dishonour to the nation committed by a crow which shat on the national flag; and because they are watching, agog, a money-doubling performance. A mad man tries his level best to communicate to the people around that a beggar is dying - but no one hears him. They pay no heed to his words, they instead discuss how that scheming crow could be found, why’s it not yet been found, the dishonour to the national flag etc. 

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