A myth or Reality?

SUMANA SAHA

 

Is “He” a myth or a reality? – This is a question most of us might have asked ourselves, in our teenage days, and probably continue to do so. In my humble opinion, there is never a right answer to this question. Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, the answer to whether there is a “Him” or not, lies, no doubt, in the mind of either the skeptic or the believer. And I’m a believer.

For me, “He” is not a myth but a Reality. I believe that just like there has to be a ‘controlling factor’ that regulates the working of the stars, the many other celestial bodies and who knows how many other universes; Just like there has to be a ‘controlling factor’ that created the largest and the smallest of its manifestations with equal precision; a seemingly metaphysical mastermind that created a several billion other human beings, each completely unique in his/her own way, that ‘controlling factor’ is what Meera Bai called “Him”.

In the darkest times of our lives, we might turn to a Force greater than ourselves, a Force who exudes positively and inspires us to lead a more purposeful life, full of new meaning. That ‘force’ is what I prefer to call “His” Divine Touch.

History has witnessed miracles. Can we subdue all of them as mere co-incidences? I think not. Moreover, the infinite universe can be created either by an immutable source or a ‘factor’ that set things into perpetual motion.

While atheists and ‘rational thinkers’, according to Sigmund Freud, use ‘syllogistic tautology’ (contradictory implications) to disprove the existence of “Him”, I use the more self-effacing doctrine of ‘faith’. It is significant to remember here that while for the believer, no proof is necessary, for the skeptic, no proof is enough. There is also no gainsaying the old and apparently “Wilde” suggestion that a cynic knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

While some might prefer an Impersonal “Him”, there are also those who prefer an omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent “Him” who pervades the life of “His” believer.

 

 

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Is that all?

SUMANA SAHA

 

rape_jpg_1306567f

 

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals…”

-Tommy Lee Jones (as Agent K) in Men In Black (1997)

On 16th December, 2012, humanity was ravaged at the heart of the nation. An innocent girl, perhaps whose only mistake was getting on the wrong bus, was savagely violated at the hands of Calibans. The country rose in rebellion, with protest marches being held at various cities. Men, women and children alike gathered. Children, for whom the word “rape” was a taboo in their households, joined in the collective mourning consciousness of the country, where our pledged sister was violated. I, too, took part in one such march, that was held from the Esplanade metro station to Birla Planetarium, on the 22nd of the same month.

A decent crowd had gathered there by the time I reached (and I imply that decent was the number of people, nothing more). College youth had organized this stand for justice, and were trying their best to orchestrate this crowd into a queue. I meanwhile wondered why a loudspeaker was blaring at the point the march was supposed to start, and I checked, hoping for a speech being given by a man still on the show window (and not bought!). Well, fact is indeed stranger than fiction, for a song was playing beside a magician performing tricks the infant PC Sorcar would have scoffed at. What shocked me more as that, at a candle march pleading justice for a violated woman, this song had promiscuous lyrics objectifying the feminine mind, body, and spirit.

With drooping shoulders I joined the drooping soldiers. I could see young men and women on the phones, threatening their friends that they’ll leave should they not come at the earliest. I felt nauseated, wondering what the girl then suffering in the hospital would think. Gradually, the crowd grew, along with the organizational glitches of the suffering college kids. Put enough educated persons together, and you’ll get a good old mob of imbeciles. The sophomoric community had gathered at a place of protest – a recipe for disaster.

Somehow, the dedicated organizers had managed to bring about a semblance of a queue. I guess that just like there is a law of conservation of mass and energy that decrees that mass and energy can never be created nor destroyed, there is a law of conservation of chaos and anarchy. As soon as the ‘sophisticated’ crowd was aligned, a sophisticated band of misfits decided to light some effigies on fire, for reasons unfathomable. After hours of waiting, the crowd finally began to move.

To my shame, I realized that was supposed to be candle march but I failed to possess a candle. T then saw some urchins carrying candles for a sale, at a whopping thirty rupees a piece. The nouveau riche did not bother about how much these kids were over quoting; Facebook DPs of the candle march required candles, they figured, and nowadays the number of ‘likes’ in the adolescent jargon and on the pictures are competing neck-to-neck. I decided to carefully observe the little business these kids were conducting. To my horror, they were begging candles from those who had brought them, and then selling them to ignorant buyers. Well, be it a war or a protest march, the smart businessman is the sole winner.

I got angry at how insensitively these kids were behaving – to use a person’s guilt at not having protested earlier so that the young girl had better laws protecting her. As a wise man had said, this guilt principle is the same as that used by beggars outside the temple. Morals and beauty are wasted on a hungry man.

My eyes were open for signs of protest and awareness in this protest and awareness campaign. The plebeians had phones bigger than their hands and smarter than most of them, on which some ran an application that created a sign saying “Stop Rape”. The others had phones obviously not designed for them, on which they took pictures of themselves with a candle in hand which they just lit for the two or so seconds they took to take the snap, after which the candle was nonchalantly blown out, ironically symbolic of their momentary illumination. After some walking, I could hear gradual chants of “We want justice” and their louder chants of colorful language by the frustrated drivers whom we had blocked.

Herd mentality is engrained in human nature. I had finally managed to procure a candle from a friend I met but, seeing the people around me not light theirs; I didn’t do so either. Everyone waited for that one person to light his or her candle, but enlightenment evaded us all. The poorly crafted placards that some hapless souls had brought were now safely folded away. What was supposed to be a march to spark a revolution in women’s safety boiled down to a badly chosen ‘adda’ spot for the youngsters. Boredom set in, and it could be clearly seen from the eyes of the crowd.

The familiar dome of Birla Planetarium mad me, shamefully, sigh with relief. Then I saw people lighting their candles, and so I lit mine. OI was hoping to find a place where the now thousands of protestors could place their candles. To my shock, a policeman grabbed the candle from my hand and blew it shut, saying that no such place existed and the now twenty thousand participant of this candle march will have to run home that instant as the traffic could not be blocked any further. The candle march came to an unceremonious end for me, that instant. I’m yet to see how it differed from an evening stroll. I guess my companions would not have been this bored at a stroll.

At the end of this candle march, I had expected an invigorated mind, and rejuvenated values. I wanted my belief in the society strengthened, in that thousands of people wanted to stand up for women’s rights even today. Now, years down the line, I ask – what have we done about the violation of that girls, except attend these pointless candle marches and update statuses on Facebook? I am as guilty of inaction as the Government which we vehemently intended to protest against. Most of the people who appeared at this candle march took the whole incident down in ‘good spirits’ days later at New Year’s Eve. Till date, we have been silent; attended the candle march in the evening and went nodding our heads to watch “Dabangg 2” (a classic hit from the Indian film industry reflecting our “class”) next morning.

“All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out upon,

See, hear, and am silent.

-Walt Whitman, ‘I Sit and Look Out’.

 

 

REVIEW: SULTAN

Salman Khan and Eid – is probably one unending love story in Bollywood. Almost all his Eid releases including Wanted (2009), Dabangg (2010), Bodyguard (2011), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Kick (2014) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) kept on making and breaking records in the collections and the craze! For 2016 Eid, he followed the trend and announced his upcoming film to be released on that day, which is ‘Sultan’, some months back. From the start, the craze was high among the fans of Bhai, also it took the Page 3 headlines, for having Anushka Sharma in opposite to Salman in this film. As the counting were shortening, new topics such as a rage between popular playback singer Arijit Singh and Salman, or a misplaced comment by Salman in a press conference made headlines, helping ‘Sultan’ to trend big much before its release.

The movie starts with a heated meeting among the committee members of a free-style wrestling tournament, with a determined young entrepreneur Aakash Oberoy (Amit Sadh) asks seniors to keep faith on him, despite facing loss of money and interest while organizing this tournament for last two years. Aakash’s father advises him to bring an Indian wrestler in this tournament which can attract the Indian fans to help curing the loss. And the choice was a ex-World Champion wrestler, Sultan Ali Khan (Salman Khan), from Haryana. Aakash went to meet him at his village but was disapproved by Sultan, as he said he left wrestling due to a problem in his married life.

It was Arfa (Anushka Sharma), whom Sultan fell in love with, and to prove himself perfect for her, he joined wrestling. Arfa was the daughter of local wrestling master, and she herself was preparing for participating in the Olympics wrestling event. Sultan broke all challenges for his love, and went on winning medals in 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2010 Asiad, 2012 London Olympics. Meanwhile Arfa could not participate in Olympics as she got pregnant, Sultan came back to his village among celebrations, but he’d converted into an arrogant guy, who could not control his behavior in a press conference. Arfa suggested him to stay at his village as she was going to give birth to their baby, but he did not listen to her, and went to compete in the World Championship abroad. An unfortunate event occurs which crashes the relation between both, forcing Sultan leave wrestling and stay alone, filled with deep pain.

Fate of Aakash now completely depends on what Sultan decides, or how Aakash can convince him! Could he do that? Could Sultan get back what he lost? Attend this must-watch movie and get the answer, since, it is a very inspirational for anyone in life, be it an athlete, an entrepreneur, or any common man. Both Sultan and Aakash showed us what determination can result in, even in the hardest situations.

Maybe the story is not too brilliant, as sometimes, the coming plots were expected, but it’s the acting of Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma which keeps viewers glued to the screen. It will be injustice if I don’t mention the names of Amit Sadh and Randeep Hooda for excelling once again with their spectacular acting in the supporting roles. It’s the acting which is the strike point of this film, for which the fans are rushing to the halls.

The title track, Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai and Jag Ghumeya are the popular songs from this movie, otherwise the music is average. The opening figures proved this movie is worth watching, since its not that same old love story, but its a story containing love and inspiration.

It’s a 7.5 out of 10 from my side for ‘Sultan’. UPAR ALLAH NICHE DHARTI, BEECH MEIN TERA JUNOON, SULTAN!

Resham Das

Another Brick In The Wall

SUMANA SAHA

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to him. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               -George Bernard Shaw

It is the nature of the human mind to desire to break the shackles of convention, and bring forth a revolution. We might say that rebelling against the norms of society is anarchy, but isn’t rebellion and revolution a matter of perspective and, more importantly, victory?

This clash between rebellion and revolution makes men who are patriots to some and terrorists to some others.  It is because a full stomach abhors vicissitudes. Rules are broken, governments “festooned with cobwebs” are overthrown, new governments are formed, and more rules are made. The question we need to ask is- do rules strangle human imagination, destroying the genius and the art, or are human beings made to be ruled?

In almost every facet of human life, there are some rules _ spoken or unspoken. As children, we are told to be silent and not to harm others and as adults we are told to be silent while others are being harmed. There comes a time when we are tired of being told to do things; tired of being “assured of certain certainties”. It is out of this fatigue that revolutionaries are born – men and women who rebel against the machinery of life, akin to the factory worker in Charles Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’.

The freedom struggles across the landscape of history show people reacting to rules set by governments. Given enough time, corruption seeps into almost any form of administration. In most cases, if a man is able to fulfill his needs on a regular basis, his greed takes over. Greed and envy are but a matter of time. Macbeth, a glorified general, turned into a murderer and a “self-willed child”. The English entered India as businessmen and left as masters adept at leaving us with a colonial hangover.  Their initial intention was to trade, but seeing a weak and divided country they took advantage of the opportunity, chaining the “eagle pinion” of an erstwhile glorious country. There is a point beyond which the human mind and body cannot stand torture. An arm can only twist so far. Thus, India revolted, and in 1947, was declared independent. The irony of human society is that we become what we detest. Democracy was fought for prior to independence and is being fought against today. However, no form of government can be perfect. If we copy our friends’ essays on corruption in India, we are no better than those we condemn.

Across many fields, the revolutionary becomes immortal. There are some people that fear the new and hold on to the past. They add a hitch in the growth of these revolutionaries. There are also the hypocrites, alternating between “sick of it” and sycophancy. They can use their saliva to great effect, first for spitting and then for licking shoes. Elvis Presley once called “a hollow culture-thief, an overrated musical charlatan who profited from music. Some feel he had no business recording in the first place.”

There are motley examples across history of art and culture, being destroyed out of intolerance. The Nazis destroyed Semitic literature and more, while the Taliban pulled down the spectacular Buddha statue of Bamiyan. The Medieval Church suffocated almost any theory that contradicted its teachings. Heliocentricity was snuffed and Galileo was placed under house arrest. Aren’t rules of this sort impeding the art and the genius? The problem boils down to the wrong administration. The inarticulate rule of discrimination and orthodoxy stifles human potential, creating ‘glass ceilings’. Discrimination has remained constant across history; just the groups discriminated against change.

However, before condemning or upholding rules, we must ask the question: what rules are being spoken of? The term ‘rules’ encompass a wide area. There are rules that put murderers in jail and others that make you vote for them. As long as those that rule care to feed fat their greed and make thin the masses, there will be rules enough to ravage freedom.

“Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are

Liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men

And hang them up.”

-Macduff’s Son, in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’

We must be people with open eyes and open minds. Only “real eyes realize real lies”. Judging every situation at its own merit is a sign of enlightenment. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”  (-Aristotle)

The new should be given a chance to flourish but certain boundary conditions must be followed at times to doctor the new. Let innovation drive human society nut experience be there to back up if the former fails. Our goal in life should be to stand out, and build a society where the nail that sticks out is not hammered. To stand out, at times we need to defy the rules. Yes, there will be opposition, but we must then stick to what we believe in. In accordance with the aforementioned Shaw quotation, the new is often termed ‘unreasonable’, but it is what progress ultimately depends on. Nothing can be gained of stagnation. We cannot be men lost in the masses. If you only play by others’ rules and form none of your own,

“All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”

Pink Floyd, ‘Another Brick in the Wall’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ফিরে যাওয়া

SOURAV SARKAR

সহজ কথাটা সহজ করে বলছে না আজ কেউ

চারিদিকে বড্ড বেশী জটিলতার ঢেউ।

ঘরে বসে বসে আকাশ খুজছি ceiling এর দিকে তাকিয়ে,

ছন্দ ছাড়াই কবিতা লিখছি দিব্যি গলা ফাটিয়ে।

 

ছাঁদে উঠে সন্ধ্যে নামা দেখা হয়নি বহুদিন।

বিকেল হলেই খেলতে যাওয়ার ধুম, ফিরে আসবে না আর কোনদিন।

বিশ্বায়নের শহরে আজ লোডশেদিং ও হয়না খুব একটা;

মাদুর পেতে ছাঁদে বসা ছিল না ভবিষ্যতের চিন্তা।

 

একটা ছোট্ট walkman ছিল খান তিরিশেক গান,

তখনও মাথায় বসেনি চেপে সুমন কিংবা লেনন।

মুখস্ত হয়ে যাওয়া গানের কথাগুলো বারবার করে শ্রবণ,

গানের চেয়ে ছিল বড় গান শোনার আয়োজন।

 

ছুটির দুপুরগুলো আসত যেন অনেক সময় নিয়ে হাতে,

টিনটিন আর পাণ্ডব গোয়েন্দারা দিত সঙ্গ প্রতিপদে।

থমকে যেত ঘড়ির গতি, কৈশোরের এমনি ছিল প্রভাব;

কিছু না করার সেই দুপুরগুলোর আজ বড়ই অভাব।

 

আজও রোজই সন্ধ্যে নামে, খেলা ফেরত একটা ছেলে

বকুনির ভয় সেও পায় ঠিকই, লুকিয়ে ফুচকাটা খেলে।

ভয় গুলো চলে যেতে থাকলে বুঝবে, তুমিও বড় হয়ে গেলে;

ভয় আসলে থেকেই যায় শুধু কারণ গুলো যায় বদলে।

 

বয়স একটু বারলেই বোধহয় কবিতা লেখা যায়,

স্মৃতি কিছু জমা হলেই তা রোমন্থন করা যায়।

একটি বারের জন্য হলেও সবাই ফিরে যেতে চায়

ফিরে যাওয়ার আকুতিতাই  তখন কবিতা হয়ে যায়।

 

 

 

 

 

একান্ত

আমি হয়তো থাকি তোর থেকে শত সহস্র দূরে,
তোর মন, তোর আত্মা, তোর ভাবনা থেকে…
কোনোদিন ও হয়তো ফিরেও তাকাবি না আমার দিকে।
কখনো হয়তো ভাবিসও না আমার কথা, আমার ভালো লাগা মন্দ লাগার কথা…
কিন্তু জানিস কি তুই??
তুই থাকিস আমার মনে আমার আত্মায়
আমার শরীরে, মিশে থাকিস তুই সব সময়…
গ্রীষ্মের প্রখর রোদে, তপ্ত যখন সমস্ত শহর, গ্রাম
তখন থাকিস তুই আমার শরীরে মিশে…
আমি দুহাত দিয়ে তোর উপস্থিতি অনুভব করি…
বর্ষা কালে, মেঘের আড়াল দিয়ে যখন মুষলধারে নামে বৃষ্টি,
ঠিক তখনই আমি স্পর্শ পাই তোর উপস্থিতির…
শরতের মেঘ হয়ে ভাসিয়ে নিয়ে যাস তুই সেই কোন সুদূর প্রাচ্যের ব্যাঙ্গমা ব্যাঙ্গমির দেশে…
তখন থাকিস তুই আমার কাছে আমার পাশে…
আবার শীতে গোটা শহর তলি যখন থরহরিকম্প
তখনও তুই এসে চুপি চুপি আমায় জড়িয়ে রাখিস তোর আদরের মাঝে…
বসন্তে কোকিলের ডাকের সাথে উড়ে যাই তোর সাথে ডানা মেলে ওই আকাশের মেঘের ফাঁকে ফাঁকে….
যেখানে তুই শুধু আমার একান্ত আমার তোর সারাটা সময় সারাটা মুহূর্ত শুধু আমার জন্য রাখা
শুধু মাত্র আমার জন্য……

অনুশ্রী কর