(Random musings that occured while reading. These may or may not be related to each other)
On dismantling religion –
Far too many concern themselves with the dismantling of religion – the whole notion of “destroying temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras” etc., and in its stead looking at humans as humans. Nothing wrong with this approach, of course – there is evil, plentiful evil in all major religions.
My problem is that there is no notion of creating an alternative. Man created religion for a purpose – and it is has stood the test of time because there is something undeniably marketable about it.
The mere dismantling of religion will not suffice, it will merely create a vacuum; an alternative must be created. Its essence of spiritualism, of looking for meaning and purpose and peace that it is supposed to espouse, the reason why man turns to a “God” – that reason must be quenched.
Why I find it difficult to share –
There is a certain sense of exclusion I feel while talking to people about [books, movies, music, and (primarily) ideas] that have appealed to me.
You take a lot of effort in understanding something, there is a massive process behind appreciating something. And this effort, this process adds value to the final conclusion. And then you turn to someone, excited to share it. And they go, “Yeah. That’s pretty cool.”. And the scales fall from your eyes. And you scream within yourself, “No, you idiot. You don’t understand. You may see, but you do not understand.”
Appreciating the conclusion without appreciating the process behind it demeans the conclusion. It seems to trivialize it. I find pretense – its shallowness and its dishonesty – despicable. That I do not like. And hence I find it difficult to share.
These “random musings” have all been reflections that came to me while reading this monumental work in the Hindi language.
The writing has perhaps the best “rhythm” of all that I’ve read – so spectacular that at times, I enjoyed verses purely on the basis of their metric, rather than their content.
I appreciate the title – “Madhushala”. It is a reflection of the sentiment of revolution (reformation?) against orthodox, structured edifices (primarily religious edifices). The idea of *alcohol* has a very strong connotation to it.
I feel comfortable with the knowledge that I know very little. It is scary and overwhelming – for it drives a screwdriver right at the idea of self-preservation; if we do not know, who are we? (Please don’t answer with the trivially obvious Jon Snow).
In any case, returning to Madhushala – it has been overwhelming. Firstly, because of my own discomfort with the Hindi language. This is the first time I have read Hindi, aside from the school textbooks that I gave up in 2006. Secondly, I am also quite a novice when it comes to poetry. That makes this all the more difficult.
But the main point is this – the work is immensely layered. The meaning of “Madhushala” that is interpreted is so subtle, so intricately woven, so finely balanced, that at times the literal reading of a few verses came across as a shock. Certain verses I pondered over several times and found to be exquisite. Certain verses I skimmed over, unable to grasp the meaning and the vocabulary.
There is no rush. I am confident that with time, further layers, the entire depth of the text will reveal itself to me. As I said, I am comfortable with the knowledge that I know very little.
All of my South Indian friends speak Hindi. That makes it three languages – their mother tongue, Hindi and English. All three with drastically different scripts, grammars and contexts.
Very, very few of my North Indian friends speak anything other than Hindi and English.
I speak Hindi, Marathi and English. The two are very similar. And since I’m bad with both, it doesn’t really matter.
A World I Cherish
Ideas, and intelligent people.
What is intelligence? In a nutshell – creativity. The capacity to entertain an independent thought.
A world where ideas and intelligence rule, where conversation and sharing flows freely. Where these mental stimulations are so overwhelming that human fallacies melt away, identities disappear and only discourse reigns.
You need to have but eyes to see…
The Compromised Scholar
A Sanskrit verse that I learnt in school said – “The Father is worshipped in his house, the village-head in his village, the King in his kingdom; but the scholar is worshipped everywhere.”
Such are not the times we live in. Standards of intellectual integrity have nose-dived. Each scholar (true or self-proclaimed) has a personal axe to grind and will stick to the values he or she shouts from rooftops only as long as it remains convenient to do so.
Homo Homini Lupus – Man is a Wolf to Man.