Friday, December 23, 2011

Majboori mein…hum nikal padein

I ask this young kid, who looks about 17-18 yrs (I don’t know how old he is) where he is from. He replies that he is from Gorakhpur, I exclaim, ah, that is a familiar place, if I remember correctly the train to Delhi from Hyderabad passes through Gorakhpur. This kid, along with his colleagues are all doing wood work and painting. They are of the same age and are from the same place. They speak apart from Hindi, Bhojpuri. I have heard a folk song in Bhojpuri in a hindi film, and liked it.

I am happy with the way they execute and finish their work. They do a very good job at their work and the only thing that upsets me is that they are doing work that is inappropriate for their age. The kid I spoke to today dropped out of school when in his 8th standard, and when I ask his why, he replies majboori tha, isi liye chodna pada. My heart pains to know this story of his. Now, he doesn’t want to go to school even if he can afford to do so, as he says that he lost interest in it now. He now earns money, and is pretty good as his work.

The question here is, whose loss is it if the kid drops out of school never to return to education? Is it the individual? The society? Or is it the nation? Can we afford to let these children stay out of school, whose loss is it anyway? I wonder if we have answers to these questions.

When I was in school, at times I was afraid to go to school, because I would not do my home work or I would be late to school or I would get low marks, and would get bad remarks from school. I thought it was my duty to go to school and I did not know anyone who did not go to school. Moreover my parents valued education, and I went to on to complete my Bachelors and even my Masters.

Now coming back to the majboori, what can we as a society do so that the majboori of the parents does not fall on the children? Let our children lead their lives as children only and let them charter their own course towards adulthood, with support from family.

Next day, I speak to them again, and I have some more updates: Gorakhpur is about 12 hours from Delhi, and is close to Chattisgarh, a 16 hour train journey from Secunderabad. These kids, are migrant labour here. They have come here during the lean agricultural season back in Gorakhpur. They have learnt there work right here. The person I spoke to today is the older brother of the person I spoke to yesterday, and he passed class 10. And he did not continue further because ‘ man nahin tha aur ghoom ne ka shok tha’. ‘Aur aage jake, isi kaam mein lage rehenge’ is his reply. That’s the story of India’s migrant labour.

They get away from education, before they bear fruit. Pick up a trade and continue in it, alongside looking after their fields. Their wages are usually below the prevailing rate in the market, and they do not have any protective gear. If we see ‘India Shinning’, it is because of the sweat and toil of these people.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Story of India

If you have missed out watching the show on TV, here you have it, courtesy - youtube.

Watch Michael Woods take you not just through the sights and sounds of India, but through the long lost echelons of time, bringing the magic and the mystic of India to the world and those sweet memories back to you.

Courtesy - BBC & PBS .

Beginnings-Part 1

Beginnings-part 2

beginnings-part 3

beginnings-part 4

beginnings-part 5

beginnings - part 6

The power of ideas - part 1

The power of ideas - part 2

The power of ideas - part 3

The power of ideas - part 4

The power of ideas - part 5

The power of ideas - part 6

Spice routes and silk roads-part 1

Spice routes and silk roads-part 2

Spice routes and silk roads-part 3

Spice routes and silk roads-part 4

Spice routes and silk roads-part 5

Spice routes and silk roads-part 6

The ages of gold - part 1

The ages of gold - part 2

The ages of gold - part 3

The ages of gold - part 4

The ages of gold - part 5

The ages of gold - part 6

The meeting of two oceans - part 1

The meeting of two oceans - part 2

The meeting of two oceans - part 3

The meeting of two oceans - part 4

The meeting of two oceans - part 5

The meeting of two oceans - part 6

Freedom - part 1

Freedom - part 2

Freedom - part 3

Freedom - part 4

Freedom - part 5

Freedom - part 6

Thursday, October 2, 2008

When I longed to hear Vemana’s poetry…

When was the last time I heard Vemana’s poems, I thought to myself as longed for it. Hmm, I would guess in my fourth or fifth standard. Back then, when I read Vemana’s poetry, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me and I merely read them for the sake of reading it. My telugu teacher (Sleevamma ?) would heap praises on his poetry, my Mom would make me read and understand them, well, I somehow managed all of that.

Now, out of the blue I wanted to read more of Vemana’s poetry. All I could remember was the last line of the poem…. ..Vishvadhaabhi Raama, Vinura Vema. My thoughts on Vemana’s poetry took a back seat on my mind until I hit upon Vemana’s poetry book in the house of my uncle and aunt.

Now guess what I have in store, more of Vemana’s poetry ! I was really delighted, as I could now read his poems in whole. I could even recollect some of them vaguely. And then my wonderful aunt and uncle recited some of the poems, and explained them to me. It felt like nectar to my ears, I wished I could have a thousand ears to listen to it (no exageration !), but, I’m more than happy with what my two ears can do :)

Thanks a lot Shaila akka and Mama for reading out Vemana’s poetry, you made me really happy ! I’m also glad that you let me record it, so I can listen to it when I want to :)

Here is a sample of Vemana's poems- courtesy, Wikipedia.

Uppu Kappurambu nokka polika nundu

Chooda chooda ruchulu jaada veru

Purushulandu Punya purushulu veraya

Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema

Salt and camphor look similar,

but closer observation shows their taste is different

Among men, virtuous people stand apart

Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!

Gangi govu paalu garitadainanu chaalu

Kadivedainanemi kharamu paalu

Bhakti kalugu koodu pattedainanu chaalu

Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema

A ladleful of a sacred cow's milk is enough,

Of what worth is even a potful of donkey's milk

Even a little food given with respect is sumptuous

Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!

Atmasuddhi leni acharamadi ela

Bhandasuddhi leni pakamadi ela

Chittasuddi leni sivpujalelara

Viswadhaabhiraama, Vinura Vema

What is the purpose of custom sans inner purity?

What is the purpose of cooking sans cleanliness of vessels?

What is the purpose of worship of Shiva sans purity of mind?

Beloved of the Bounteous, Vema, listen!

Enjoy them while you read !

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Best of my UConn years: August'06-August'08

I've listed here ten things in random order, that will form the best of my UConn years, and this again has not been possible without the love, affection and support of my family and friends. I love you guys !

1. The beautiful UConn campus

2. Debbie's lab
3. Fun with friends
4. Sara's pockets: I love to go to Sara's pockets for the yummy food they have and more over, Samir and Sara are wonderful people who make the extra yummy ! Sam was like a loving father to me, I miss eating at his place !

5. The collection in Bob Chudy's office

6. Teaching at UConn

7. Swimming: I was swimming after nearly a decade, and I thought I would drown in the pool the first time I swam there, but thanks to Rajashri, I love to swim like always !

8. Reading books @ UConn Co-oP: Oh, how blissful was the time that I spent in the co-op reading books - from Arabian nights to the geology of New England to Textiles of Indonesia. I was transported across geographical borders and taken back down memory lane, all in the few hours I used to spend reading books. Now I read more for the joy of reading than anything else, and I'm so happy about it !

9. UConn dairy bar ice-cream: This is ice-cream that I would never say NO to ! How much I enjoyed eating bucket fulls of ice-cream in the summer, I can't put it to words. All I can say is,

I scream, You scream, Everyone screams for Ice-cream !!

10. Last but not the least, all the wonderful people I met at UConn: I met many wonderful people on the bus, that I used to take everyday to go to school. We shared stories, experiences, cultural backgrounds and I truly enjoyed it. Too bad, I don't have pictures with all of them to post them here.

Traalalaaala..It's a wonderful life, full of surprises !

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It’s not the strongest nor most intelligent of the species that survive; it is the one most adaptable to CHANGE” - Charles Darwin

Be the Change..

It’s not the strongest nor most intelligent of the species that survive; it is the one most adaptable to CHANGE” Charles Darwin

How do you want to bring about a good change in this ever changing world?

Ask yourself this question, if you haven’t already.

A couple of weeks ago as I was taking the usual bus ride back home from school, my thoughts were on the Salar Jung museum. I only remember being there two times so far, but I do have recollections of it. The reason that my thoughts were on an important museum was because I recently finished reading the book “The Untold Charminar – Writings on Hyderabad”. As I was reading the book, it brought back to me the fond memories I had of living in Hyderabad for 21 years. I almost get goose bumps when I think of it. I could imagine how Salar Jung museum was in my minds eye, it houses articles collected by only man in his entire lifetime. These objects provide us with an insight not only into the life and times of Salar Jung, but also of Hyderabad and the World at that time. We as Hyderabadis are fortunate to have such a collection right in the heart of the city. It certainly means the same to us as the Louvre is to the Parisians, but the fact is that we certainly don’t treat it the same way as the Parisians treat Louvre. I tried to read more about the museum on the internet. Sadly, it dosen’t even have a website for its grandest museum. All that I found was a Wiki article. I’m glad we have that at least, but I certainly think that when the state can boast of being the I.T. hub of South India along with Bangalore, it can surely have a website. During my free time here in the US, I got a chance to visit two museums, the William Benton Museum of arts at the University of Connecticut and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I was totally overwhelmed by both of them. Both museums have become a success because of the patronage they received. The state is not doing much to make the museums popular which are a window to our culture, tradition and history. I would hate to see Indian items been auctioned at the Christie’s and Sotheby’s for millions of dollars. The fact is that, we are not valuing our traditions to a great extent any more, its only when a price tag of a million dollars is set on it that people realize its value.

I know a lot of industries in India and the State are succumbing due to lack of funds. The solution is to create funds. Make your object presentable, so that it appeals to the eye, market it, so every one knows about it. I would suggest that the museums have a museum store selling clothes-Indian and western with graphic designs of the museum objects, stationary, calendars, mugs etc there are so many things that one can sell. Thus creating employment opportunities and generating revenue. Also provide facilities to make the museum people-friendly, especially towards the old and the handicapped, have food courts selling food for the tourists. Making the industries, especially the native and multi national a part of it will be a good idea. The industry will have the good name of promoting the arts and culture of the state and it will bring funds to the museum that can be used to develop infrastructure. Having podcasts in various regional and foreign languages will make it easy for the visitors of the state to understand what the museum has to offer. I would suggest you to take a quick peek at the website of the Museum of Fine Arts, this will tell you probably give you an idea of how things can be and should be. The state is a hub for many home grown and multinational industries, but sadly we not able to make use of the home grown talent. I’m sure we have the facilities to make it happen, but it is sad to see that our energy and resources are being misdirected.

I’m also unhappy about the fact that foreign brands for example GAP, Tommy Hilfiger etc, use Indian traditional designs on their clothes etc and market it by using their own labels. I would be happy to see that the Indian designs being patented so the people who are actually involved in it will get the credit and I’m sure we can have a home grown label marketing the Indian designs internationally. For example, the LePakshi brand can be made international. I was curious to check for the Kondapalli toys on the internet; they are something that I really love. They obviously don’t have a website, but through some one else’s blog, I came to know that there are now only 50 odd families practicing this beautiful art. I simply cannot authenticate my information, but it is obvious that something that has a huge potential is not given its due. There are so many institutes and organizations that need to go through a resurrection process in order to for them to be alive in this ever changing world. We as fore bearers of our history and tradition need to preserve it for the future generations that are to come. It is important to give place to the new, but also to not let the past die away.

When I talked about my thoughts to a couple of people, some of them thought that it was good idea and they encouraged me, but there were also cynics trying to silence me by saying that, ‘In India it is hard and next to impossible to bring about this change’. In fact we have a great resource in the form of human capital, which when enlightened is the most powerful resource on earth. It is high time that the cynics turn over a new leaf.

If one desires a change, one must be that change before that change can take place – Gita Bellin.

Let us all join hands to bring about the good change that is much needed.