8/16/08

Mind and Matter

Of all other things that I owe to my bachelors degree in media… this one is far more important and probably my greatest accomplishment as a human being.
It is a revelation in all senses of the term…and I don’t know whether I came upon it all of a sudden or through gradual thought and speculation.
But one day right after my culture studies lecture, after a heavy and gruelling session of cultural debate with Lavanya, my professor. I said to myself:
“ A Thinking Individual is far more powerful than an Opinionated one. An opinion arises from a judgement and judging something that has always been an open ended concept is foolishness”
And everyday that I have lived since then, I have been trying to understand what I had realised that day in class. Its seeping into me grain to grain and leading me to a ( I wouldn’t say better coz I don’t find comparatives relevant enough anymore) but to a more meaningful understanding.
In the 15th century, Rene Descartes, the greatest humanist of all times said “ I think therefore I am”. These words made a lasting impression on my mind. I thought that it is most definitely the wisest thing ever said.
Then I read Karl Marx and he said… Economy determines Human Consciousness!
This statement totally contradicts Rene… it said that something as Involuntary and autonomous as human thought is infact none of these, its not a matter of aesthetics. It’s determined and driven by how one financially operates and makes his or her money.

It was not that difficult to identify the large extent of truth in it.(I deliberately choose not to say absolute truth coz again I don’t believe there is any such thing as it) as the facts lay in front of me.
I, Reema Bhattacharya wouldn’t be here writing this blog if not for the various economic turbulences in my country and inturn in the world which eventually led to social and cultural changes.
Sometimes when I read stories dating back to the Partition of India 1947, I wonder how important a role it has played in my life and in making me who I am. If not for the partition then my grandfather would never have migrated to this country from Bangladesh. Those were such atrocious times, thousands of people killed, women raped and evaded. What if I was in one of those wombs, which were slit open with swords? And yet for this bloody, political upheaval I have the opportunity to be a part the modernised, urban and prosperous India.
I think of Reformation and how it bred the spirit of capitalism. Where everything was thought to be an opportunity to be tapped into and in making the most of the resources one has, lied god’s will.
I think of the Industrial revolution and how it changed the world forever. Made the village folk migrate to cities and become the working class and the rich even more powerful and colonising. And these colonisers inturn came to my country invaded and exploited it but also brought along English education and large-scale production. The industrial revolution gave birth to democracy when the working class gaining economic power demanded rights to vote.
Humanism, feminism, fundamentalism all such ideologies, all great events in the history of the world are all spun in a web and have shaped me into being who I am and what I think.

I belong to a country, which is the oldest living civilization in the world. A country of multiculturalism. A country where each of its regions n parts has a different language, ethic and history. Apart from the freedom struggle the various parts of India don’t really have a common history. A country with no official language ( Hindi is not definitely one) and yet all is unified under the great umbrella of The Grand Indian Culture. And it is a formidable brand worldwide now. I am not criticising it but the whole thing and its paradox intimidates me.

No matter how much I study, analyse or speculate, I don’t intend to be the knower of all, as I know that it’s impossible to be so.
But there are just somethings that I know for sure, I wont do again.
I would never accept a seat if offered on a bus or train.
I would never be sceptical to talk about sex, politics and religion.
I would try never to be judgemental. I shall listen, understand where it’s coming from and accept.
I would never stare a weird eye to a person with a vernacular accent.
I would never condemn, criticise or patronise anything as if I were passing a verdict.
I would never save up to be a nice woman with a nice job and car to ride in with a well earning and doing husband, children added! Life’s more important than that. I have lots to achieve for myself and for the people who need to be helped.
I shall never settle for any profession or companion who doesn’t relate to my ideologies.

I would never stay in one place forever. The world shall be my oyster and I with my hands shall hold it up and explore it………

4 comments:

Aamina said...

well said!
uve just made me realize that our culture studies classes have made a bigger impact on our lives than v realize...
i hope lavanya reads this n knows that her work has not gone in vain..
n yes even i hav become a less judgemental person because of them...

reema said...

yes aamina...ur absolutely right! it has gr8ly impacted all of us.... i am not the same person ne more!

Geek Lover said...

Im googling Lavanya.. and sending this to her.. she keeps saying nah.. this class is useless if it does not change the way we see life..

reema said...

oh shit! dont do dat plz...