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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Express Good. Repress Bad.

Grown ups do not shy away from discussing so called "unpleasant" issues. They know it is critical to express, unhealthy to repress. There is no saintliness in abandoning important issues. Problems need to be gathered, pondered over, a consciousness created and understanding arrived at.

Esteemed readers may be interested to know that Jon Vogel and Deepak Chopra as also have found my comments worthy of inclusion. Eric R Danton heard me.

This is important because India's lugubrious editorial class, makes it a point to mutilate and distort my already severely restricted comments or not publish them at all. Bachi Karkaria and Anand Soondas as also The Indian Express have published the following comment:

divakarssathya says: June 19, 2009 at 02:42 PM IST

It has been well documented that rape is an act of domination and humiliation. So is corruption. Corruption is domination and humiliation of the very idea of the rule of law. So,In India today, where the systems of delivery of justice are in a frightfully derelict state, mutual consent is a mutual delusion. The Chief Information Commissioner who has systematically violated the RTI Act 2005 is no less psychotic, is no less heinous and an infinitely larger menace than an individual running amok.Shockingly,the Indian Press remains clueless and starry eyed. Welcome to Shiney Ahuja Versus The Chief Information Commissioner Of India Read about how our sycophantic press treats high officials with kid gloves and rose tinted prose.

I have put these esteemed newspapers on the scent. Let's see what they come up with.

Extraordinarily, The Vatican appears to mirror my views on Michael Jackson.

However, I leave it to esteemed readers to opine whether, tongue in cheek is exactly the most appropriate tone of voice when mourning the passing of a tortured angel.

Vatican daily proclaims Michael Jackson immortal - for his fans

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hemanta Da ! Madan Mohan sa'ab ! Michael Jackson ! Amar Rahe! Narcissistic India's Gratitude Deficit

June 16th was the 89th birth anniversary of Hemanta Da.

I would not have known this if I had not stumbled upon a news report in the Calcutta edition of one major Indian newspaper.

I've not had the good fortune of meeting Hemanta Da, but he like Rafi Sa'ab, Kishore Da and Mukesh and all the others were without a doubt members of my family.

They gave me joy and they gave me company, they inspired me and introduced me to shimmers and shades of mood and meaning.

They nourished my roots to my languages, culture and country as no school or teacher could have even tried.

To even think of death, in the company of such uproariously vivacious beings is mad. For me and millions of music lovers they will forever be our uncles and aunts.

Point 1. Bongs may not know much about TMS or Sirgazhi Govindarajan; but that is their problem and in a janma or two, I am confident they will sort it out.

But what I would really like the tone deaf, philistines of the Indian editorial class to know is .... Hemanta Da does not belong to Calcutta alone.

It is truly outrageous to tuck him away in a mohalla report. Hemanta Da is a national legacy.

A towering standard of virtuosity.

We are extraordinarily fortunate to have such a variegated legacy to celebrate.

So why does our media only want to dig graves and bury it?

June 25 was the 86th birth anniversary of Madan Mohan sa'ab. Born according to Wikpedia in Baghdad.

Now that's another global Indian!

What a magician!

Show me a woman today who can come on to a man for four minutes and eighteen seconds of sustained passion and I'll show you somebody who will very soon be made mincemeat by our necrophilous media.

Michael Jackson - Stopped Before He Got Enough

From a young age Jackson was physically and emotionally abused by his father, enduring incessant rehearsals, whippings and name-calling. Jackson's abuse as a child affected him throughout his grown life. In one altercation — later recalled by Marlon Jackson — Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and "pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks". Joseph would often trip up, or push the male children into walls. One night while Jackson was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterwards, Jackson suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.

Jackson first spoke openly about his childhood abuse in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. He said that during his childhood he often cried from loneliness and would sometimes get sick or start to vomit upon seeing his father.
In Jackson's other high profile interview, Living with Michael Jackson (2003), the singer covered his face with his hand and began crying when talking about his childhood abuse.

Jackson recalled that Joseph sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed and that "if you didn't do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you." Wikipedia

Any consideration of Michael Jackson's awesome oeuvre has to include his angelic triumph over his brutal childhood.

His music was his triumph. A writing in the sky iteration of his love and sanity.

And just as violent repression by sections of the establishment is a thick black strand running through the history of Rock and Roll, so is love, love as feeling and love as healing, a theme through Michael Jackson's work.

No question, Michael Jackson was one of the sanest human beings of the 20th century.

To attempt to anachronise Michael Jackson is ridiculous. As for that matter is rest of Kaveree Bamzai's hurried, ahistorical, all motion no memory piece.

Harried and narcissistic column writers may want the President of the United States all for themselves,but POTUS would do well to acknowledge that he stands on the shoulders of many, many human beings who stood up and asserted their sanity.

Farah Khan makes a confession of the most acute cultural malnourishment, when she calls MJ her "guru".

O Tempora O Mores

What about the allegations of child molestation ?

First, I never believed them.

Second, remember they were brought to you by the same wonderful folks who gave you Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Third, the world over children, women and others who are not certified members of the power structure are treated with varying degrees of brutality. Those in power are quickly handed a cloak of invisibility by the media.

A case in point.

How many in India know that the Vatican has paid out close to a hundred million dollars to compensate for victims of child sexual abuse by albeit "a small minority" of priests.

The Indian media has barely reported that story.

Was the media's heinous silence an act of concern for Indian children or a hideously wrongheaded act of leaving well enough alone ?

The world treated this angel of light the way it treats its children.

We starve them and deny them. We pimp them and brutalize them. We load their futures with the costs of our profligacy. And we kill them. Yet we believe and behave as though we have some special wisdom to impart.

Michael Jackson, there are many in India, who rooted for you since your Jackson Five days.

We are shocked and grieve your untimely passing.

But you will always be with us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan - India's National Treasure Passes Away In An Alien Land

India's flakey editorial class may adulate a Narayanamurthy or even a A R Rehman as models of Global Indians, but this generation for all the fuss, does not remotely compare with the audacity, the cultural confidence and the joy and genius of the pioneering creators of Brand India.

There are many in the West, the Thatcher/Reagan types,- thankfully fading out (?) - who affect a loathing of the 60's, and their witless Indian acolytes have imported and imposed that deracinated disdain on a fearful and unquestioning generation.

But India individuated in the 60's. India was an idea in the 60s - a masterfully old and astonishingly fresh aphrodisiac of an idea.

India was the ginseng of the 60's.

India may have been materially undernourished, still searching for the right path to recovery, but there could be no questioning its rugged, cornucopian soul.

And what a soul ! From Jawaharlal to J Krishnamurti to JRD Tata, From Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to Homi Bhabha, Indira Gandhi to Rukmini Arundale - these and so many others were Indian Originals.

Exemplars not just of innovation. But of Innovation and Integrity.

To my mind, and this is entirely my fond, personal opinion, nobody typifies the Universal Indian as Pandit Ravi Shankar does.

I have been truly blessed to have felt the Ravi Shankar vibe at very close quarters, a vibe that I would describe as a being unbounded by mastery.

In the sixties, Panditji played with Ali Akbar Khan Sa'ab and Allah Rakha Sa'ab. I have watched them and heard them and even as a child, I adored them. I adored the music. I adored the life that gushed from the carefully cultivated synthesis of rigour and spontaneity.

I thought Ali Akbar Khan sa'ab's sarode was the gentle, adoring restraint to the effervescence of Panditji.

I am deeply saddened that Ali Akbar Khan Sa'ab is no longer with us.

It matters to me that he could not be in India.

It says something about the babuised India of today, that his obituary was almost completely cogged from his website.

If some journalist had just Googled, "how to write an obituary", she may have found five and a half million entries. Reading even one, may have helped.

It will be a good day for all of us when an influential section of our ruling elite unlearns the idea that a surrender to tawdriness is the only response to pressure.

Maybe then our Masters will recognise the land they left behind and return to lay down their weary heads.

Must read:

Famed Indian-born musician Ali Akbar Khan dies SF Gate Jonathan Curiel
Ali Akbar Khan dies at 87; sarod player helped bring Indian music to U.S. LA Times Jon Thurber
Remembering Musical Giant Ali Akbar Khan Sandip Roy India Currents New America Media
Ali Akbar Khan, Sarod Virtuoso, Dies At 87
William Grimes, New York Times.
Don't forget to scroll down for treats from the NYT archives.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just A Teeny,Weeny Bit Behind The Curve, Maybe?

Here's what made my head spin today.

It is a piece of news that will probably appear in tomorrow's Hindu.

"First batch of students trained in HIV medical care passes out"

We have had this scourge since more than two decades, India probably has the highest number of HIV infected people on the planet with more than six crore Indians infected and "only 5 hours ago" have we received the news that India has finally produced a batch of 24 people who are trained to extend the special care needed for HIV infected Indians.

About 15 years ago, I wrote a proposal to Doordarshan, based on a cover story in Time magazine featuring Laurie Garrett's book .

The then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh represented my case with the nobs on DD, so did the Home Minister of the day, the late Shri Indrajit Gupta, Jaipal Reddy, the Information & Broadcasting Minister had written a fulsome letter admiring the Urdu language documentary that I had made for Doordarshan, but the nobs nixed me.

I am a bad boy, because I will not do kickbacks.

From CNN to Oprah, BBC to ABC they all beamed in on Lauries Garrett's book. The lady herself became, according to her bio, the only writer ever to be awarded all the three Big Ps of Journalism. The Peabody, Polk (twice) and the Pulitzer.

For us in India, nearly six months after the Garrett's book, the plague surfaced at Surat,Gujarat.

Incidentally, I tried and tried and tried, but I could not find a copy of Ms Garrett's book in India.

To the best of my memory, the book was not even reviewed in India.

Monday, June 1, 2009

M J Akbar - India's Marlboro Man

When one of the greybeards of India's decadent editorial class reveals his mind on the subject of modernity, you realise;

Gee! Whiz! M J Akbar is India's Marlboro Man.

He ought to be working for Philip Morris !

"The Bar in Mangalore is not about alcohol." intones our panjandrum from the Naive Fifties."It is about choice and freedom from the grey shadows of a moral police."

Apart from the minor fact that they do not serve sambhar and rasam at pubs in Mangalore or any place else, sambhar and rasam with turmeric and tamarind and fenugreek and pepper, all sanctioned and certified by "modern" science as life savers, enough for me to be able to boldly tell any teen,"If ever there was a food, made by the Gods, in a moment of fondness for mortals, it is sambhar and rasam, it is sambhar and rasam, it is sambhar and rasam." ,

the real issue is Akbar's quaintly conditioned ideas on freedom.

The chance to be addicted is freedom?

If a person is ignorant/gullible/plain unlucky enough to think as Shri M J Akbar does, then it is not very difficult for that person to believe that strapping on some explosives and blowing himself in public is not about killing innocent people, but about having a wild alcohol free party in the hereafter.

But Shri Akbar can neither claim to be ignorant or gullible; there are tonnes of reader friendly and viewer friendly material available about the potential dangers of substance abuse.

A mature, sane, loving mind would only be concerned about making a life. So what tempts Mr Akbar to make such a jejune observation?

Has he become that jaded about the many small and huge struggles involved in making a life?

Or has he always been a pathologically conformist,politically correct and market friendly raconteur, pretending to be a journalist and editor?

It is possible that Shri Akbar feels unfairly singled out for some close scrutiny.

If that were the case, his self pity would be justified.

The media by and large, has been more concerned about playing along with advertisers and the powers that be than in pitching in to creating a relatively safe world for our children.

Our kids need have no problems with pubs,cars or credit cards as long as they are not brainwashed into abandoning their intelligence and caution.

They need to be taught to watch out for any senile and perverted grand uncle in the media diabolically conning them about how these powerful and potentially lethal machines are "about" "choice" and "freedom" and "modernity".

It is one of the blessings of being an Indian, that there is so much to learn and so much to do.

An occasional vist to the pub need not be considered sacrilegious.

But the minds that attempt elevate a pub or a mall to the status of a temple of modern India or the driving force of the Indian economy ?

They are sick. They are out of touch. They need to take a break.

I am normally not a ban 'em and flog 'em kinda guy, but Cold Joe of Phillip Morris and his wog descendants may just have taken me to the edge.

For my own views on pubs and the idea of modernity, esteemed readers are invited to click on the links.

And Manananiya Akbar Mahodhay, the only kind of policing, idiotic policing, I have experienced is at the hands of corrupt babus and India's addled editorial class.