ಹಣ್ಣಿನಂಗಡಿ ಮತ್ತು ಸುಪ್ತ ಶೋಕ

ಹಣ್ಣಿನಂಗಡಿ ಮತ್ತು ಸುಪ್ತ ಶೋಕ

ಎರಡು ದಿನಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಕುಟುಂಬದ ಹತ್ತಿರ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಬ್ಬ ಹಿರಿಯರು ತೀರಿಕೊಂಡ ಸುದ್ದಿ ತಲುಪಿತು.  ಸುದ್ದಿ ಸಹಜ ನೋವು ಆ ಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಕೆ ನನ್ನ ಅನುಭವಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂತು. ನಾನು ಸಣ್ಣವನಿದ್ದಾಗ ಅವರು ಅಪರೂಪಕ್ಕೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಾಗಲೆಲ್ಲಾ (ಸರ್ವೇ ಸಾಧಾರಣವಾಗಿ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಮಾಡುವಂತೆ) ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಎತ್ತಿ ಆಡಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದುದು ನೆನಪಿದೆ. ಅವರು ಯಾವಾಗ ಸಿಕ್ಕರೂ ಸೌಜನ್ಯಯುತವಾಗಿ, ಆಪ್ತವಾಗಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಿಸುತ್ತಿದುದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾವತ್ತೂ ಗೌರವವಿತ್ತು. ಅಪರೂಪಕ್ಕೆ ವರ್ಷ ಅಥವಾ ಎರಡು ವರ್ಷಕ್ಕೊಮ್ಮೆ ಬೇಸಿಗೆ ರಜೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅವರ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ನಾಲ್ಕು ದಿನ ಖುಷಿಯಾಗಿ ಕಾಲ ಕಳೆದುದನ್ನೂ ನಾನು ಮರೆತಿಲ್ಲ. ಹೀಗಿದ್ದೂ ಸಹ, ನನ್ನ ಅವರ ನಡುವೆ ಅಪೂರ್ವವಾದ ಬಾಂಧವ್ಯ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವಂಥದ್ದು ಏನೂ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬುದೂ ನಿಜ. ಹೀಗೆ ಔಪಚಾರಿಕತೆಗಿಂತ ಹತ್ತು ಸೇರು ಹೆಚ್ಚು, ಹೃದಯ ಸಂಬಂಧಕ್ಕೆ ಎರಡು ಸೇರು ಕಡಿಮೆ ತೂಗುವ ಇಂತಹ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಕ, ಹಿರಿಯರ ಸಾವಿನ ಸುದ್ದಿ ನೋವನ್ನುಂಟು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದೂ ಅಷ್ಟೇ ನಿಜ. ಅವರನ್ನು ಕೊನೆಯದಾಗಿ ನೋಡಲೂ ಸಹ ದೂರದ ಊರಿನಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ನನ್ನಿಂದ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ.

ಹಣ್ಣಿನಂಗಡಿ ಮತ್ತು ಸುಪ್ತ ಶೋಕ
ಹಣ್ಣಿನಂಗಡಿ ಮತ್ತು ಸುಪ್ತ ಶೋಕ

ಸುದ್ದಿ ತಿಳಿದ ರಾತ್ರಿ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ನಿದ್ದೆ ಬಂದಿರಬಹುದು ಎನಿಸಿತ್ತು. ಕನಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಯಾರದ್ದೋ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದೆ. ಯಾರದೆಂದು ಗುರುತಿಸಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅಜ್ಜಿಯೊಬ್ಬರು ಅಂಗಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಕುರ್ಚಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಕುಳಿತು ದೊಡ್ಡ ತುರಿಯುವ ಮಣೆಯನ್ನು ತೊಡೆಗೆ ಆನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಕೊಬ್ಬರಿ ತುರಿಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಪಕ್ಕದ ಕಟ್ಟೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ನನ್ನ ಸೋದರ ಸಂಬಂಧಿ (ತೀರಿಹೋದ ಹಿರಿಯ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಕರ ಮಗ) ಕುಳಿತಿದ್ದ. ನಾನು ಅವನ ಬಳಿ ಹೋಗಿ ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲೇ ಕುಳಿತು ಹೆಗಲ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೈಹಾಕಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಲು ತಿರುಗಿದೆ. ಕ್ಷಣಾರ್ಧದಲ್ಲಿ ಅವನು ಅವರಪ್ಪನಾಗಿ ಬದಲಾಗಿದ್ದ! ನಾನು ಸಣ್ಣವನಿದ್ದಾಗ ಅವರಪ್ಪ ತಮ್ಮ ಹಣೆಯ ಮೇಲಿದ್ದ ಪುಟ್ಟ ಚುಕ್ಕಿಯಾಕಾರದ ಕುಳಿಯನ್ನು ತೋರಿಸುತ್ತಾ “ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಚಂದಿರ ಇದೆ, ಕೊಡುತ್ತೇನೆ ಬಾ” ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿ ನನ್ನನು ಕರೆಯುತ್ತ ಇದ್ದುದು ನೆನಪಾಯ್ತು. ಅವರೂ ತಮ್ಮ ಎಂದಿನ ಸೌಜನ್ಯದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಆ ಚುಕ್ಕಿಯ ತೋರಿಸುವಂತೆಯೇ ನನ್ನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಮಾತನಾಡುವರೇನೋ ಎನ್ನುವಂತೆ ನನ್ನ ಕಡೆ ತಿರುಗಿದರು. ನಾನು ಮಾತನಾಡುವ ಬದಲಾಗಿ ಜೋರಾಗಿ ಅತ್ತು ಬಿಟ್ಟೆ. ನನ್ನ ಅಳು ನಿಂತ ಕ್ಷಣ ಅವರು ಮತ್ತೆ ನನ್ನ ಸಮಕಾಲೀನ ಸೋದರ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಯಾಗಿ ಬದಲಾಗಿದ್ದರು. ನಾನು ಮಾತು ಮುಗಿಸಿದವನಂತೆ ಎದ್ದೆ. ಸುಪ್ತ ಶೋಕದಿಂದ ಎದ್ದ ನಂತರ ಮನಸ್ಸು ಹಗುರಾಗಿದ್ದಂತೆ ಅನಿಸಿತು.

ನನ್ನ ಇದುವರೆಗಿನ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ರಾತ್ರಿ ಕಂಡ ಕನಸುಗಳನ್ನು ನೆನಪಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಅವುಗಳಿಂದ ಹಗಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಸದನ್ನು ಕಲಿಯುವುದರ ಪಾತ್ರ ಬಹಳ ದೊಡ್ಡದು. ಇರುಳು ಕಂಡ ಬಾವಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಗಲು ಬೀಳುವುದೆಂದರೂ ಚಿಂತೆಯಿಲ್ಲ. ನೂರರಲ್ಲಿ ೯೫ ಕನಸುಗಳು ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ನೆನಪಿಗೆ ಬಾರದೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತವೆ. ಹಲವು ಕನಸುಗಳಿಗೆ ಅರ್ಥ ಹುಡುಕುವುದೇ ಕಷ್ಟವಾಗುತ್ತವೆ (ಹಗಲುಗನಸುಗಳಿಗೂ ಕೊರತೆಯಿಲ್ಲ ಎನ್ನಿ). ಆದರೆ ನಾನು ಮೇಲೆ ವಿವರಿಸಿದ ದೃಶ್ಯದಷ್ಟು ಸರಳವಾದ ಕನಸು, ನೆನೆಪಿನಲ್ಲುಳಿಯುವಂಥ ಅಪರೂಪದ ಅನುಭವವವನ್ನುಂಟು ಮಾಡಿ, ಎದ್ದ ಮೇಲೂ ವಿವರವಾಗಿ ಜ್ಞಾಪಕವಿರುವುದು ವಿಶೇಷ ಎನಿಸಿತು. ಹೀಗೆ ಹಿಂದೆಯೂ ಕೆಲವೊಮ್ಮೆ ಆಗಿದೆ.

ಸರಳವಾದ ಈ ಮೇಲ್ಕಂಡ ಕನಸಿಗೆ ಕಾರಣವನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕುವ ಕಷ್ಟ ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೂ, ಆ ಕನಸಿನ ಅರ್ಥವನ್ನು ಗ್ರಹಿಸಲು ನಾನು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಪಟ್ಟೆ. ಆಗ ನನಗೆ ತೋಚಿದ ಸಮರ್ಥನೆ ನಿಮ್ಮೊಂದಿಗೆ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಎರಡನೇ ತರಗತಿಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾಗ ನಮಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಪಠ್ಯ ಪುಸ್ತಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಪುಟ್ಟ ಗದ್ಯವಿತ್ತು. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಬಾಲಕನೊಬ್ಬ ಹಣ್ಣಿನಂಗಡಿಯ ಮುಂದೆ ನಿಂತುಕೊಂಡು, ಹಿಸಿದ ಹಲಸಿನ ಹಣ್ಣನ್ನು ನೋಡುತ್ತಾ ಏನೋ ಯೋಚಿಸುತ್ತಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅಂಗಡಿಯವನು ಬಾಲಕನನ್ನು “ಹಣ್ಣು ಕೊಳ್ಳುವೆಯಾ?” ಎಂದು ಕೇಳುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಬಾಲಕ ಇಲ್ಲ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಆಗ ಅಂಗಡಿಯವನು “ಈ ಹಣ್ಣುಗಳ ವಾಸನೆಯನ್ನು ನೀನು ಅಷ್ಟು ಹೊತ್ತಿನಿಂದ ಸೇವಿಸಿದ್ದೀಯೆ. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ನೀನು ಹಣ ಕೊಡಬೇಕು” ಎಂದು ಚೇಷ್ಟೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಆ ಬಾಲಕ ಒಂದು ಕ್ಷಣ ಯೋಚಿಸಿ ತನ್ನ ಜೇಬಿನಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಚಿಲ್ಲರೆಯನ್ನು ಕುಲುಕಿ “ಝಣಝಣ” ಎಂದು ಸದ್ದು ಮಾಡಿಸಿ “ವಾಸನೆಯ ಬೆಲೆ ಇದೇ” ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾನೆ. “ಹಣ್ಣು ಬಂದಿದೆ, ಜನರು ಹಣ್ಣು ಕೊಳ್ಳಿರೊ, ಪುರಂದರವಿಠಲನೆಂಬೋ ಹಣ್ಣು ಬಂದಿದೆ” ಎಂದು ಪುರಂದರ ದಾಸರು ಪ್ರೊಮೋಟ್ ಮಾಡಿದ ಹಣ್ಣನ್ನು ಕೊಂಡು, ಸರಾಗವಾಗಿ ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಜೀರ್ಣಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಹೋದವರಿದ್ದಾರೆ, ಮುಂದೂ ಬರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇರುವ ತನಕ ಝಣಝಣ ಸದ್ದು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಲೇ ಹಣ್ಣನ್ನು ಕೊಂಡೂ ಕೊಳ್ಳದಂತೆ ಆನಂದಪಡುವುದೂ ತಪ್ಪಲ್ಲ (“ಝಣಝಣ” ಶಬ್ದ = ಸುಪ್ತ ಶೋಕ).

Also see To Quantify Grief and Yours sincerely, PM

yours sincerely_ Gordon Brown

 

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Three years since the Indian election mandate in 2014: A subjective analysis

This is the third article in an annual series that has examined the Indian central government’s hits and flops since the general election in 2014. (Part 1, Part 2)Once in a generation mandate

From July 2016 to July 2017, the Indian union government took some bold decisions.  The rolling out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the midnight of June 30th, was probably the most significant, and may I say, a wise decision. I do not fully understand the GST yet. I can’t think of anyone who understands the Indian GST, except perhaps members of the GST council set up by the central government. At this stage, GST is one of those pills that many believe is good for the nation’s economic body, which may boost its circulatory system without any side effects.

I feel sorry that coveted constitutional posts remain highly politicised in India ever since Independence. However, within such constraints, India has seen some outstanding persons in those posts.  Last month, Mr Ramanatha Kovind was elected the 14th President of India. From everything we have heard of him, he has all the credentials to be a good president and deserves the highest constitutional position in India. His past and current sympathies with some political pressure group (namely the RSS) should not be an issue since others in past who had strong connections with other political dynasties and loyalties had become Presidents of India. Him being a Dalit (a class of people oppressed in India, for centuries) became a talking point only because the opposition (UPA) reacted and fielded their own Dalit contestant in the race. There is no doubt that Mr Kovind’s election marks an important milestone in the current union government’s tenure. I must also say a few words about the outgoing president Mr Pranav Mukherjee, who is a Congress veteran (so why not Mr Kovind?). Mr Mukherjee took much needed decisions on many mercy petitions (by criminals on death row) languishing for decades with the President’s office. He occasionally warned the government by returning legislative amendments sent to him without parliamentary scrutiny. He also made his customary speeches on tolerance, calling for social harmony. The Indian President is the Commander in chief of Indian armed forces and s/he is the symbolic head of our union. Mr Mukherjee fulfilled these obligations adequately. Apart from that, he was busy visiting temples and he was in news only when he visited temples. In comparison, the Vice President (the Chairperson of the upper house) holds more operative power in our democracy. At least in theory, the upper house must raise above party politics, and be the non-partisan jury of the Indian legislature. The newly elected Vice President (who shall remain unnamed) does not inspire any confidence.

Some of the positive initiatives by the Union government in 2016-17 (in my view) are the following:

  1. National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme: Planned expenditure of 10,000 crore over the next 3 years to create 50 lakh jobs by 2020.
  2. Introduction of full paid maternity leave for women working in the organized sector, in any company or organization employing 10 or more persons. This was a significant amendment to an old maternity benefit act (1961).
  3. Merger of rail budget with union budget: An important step towards improved efficiency and focus.  Takes away useless sop-announcements from the Railway ministry.
  4. The Government will be investing thousands of crores in several new IITs, a few new AIIMS all across India. New institutes of potential are welcome. Please do not neglect what is already there. Governance structure in many of the existing central and state universities is opaque to say the least. The newly introduced national university ranking system may serve the purpose of internal disaster assessment and they must not be indicators of performance. There is nothing to write home about. Every state government I see, has its head buried in sand.
  5. National highways and the rural road construction projects were among the biggest achievements of NDA-1 (under Mr Atal B Vajapayee). NDA-2 continues to impress when it comes to investing in road infrastructure. 
  6. Bilateral agreements on security, aviation, agriculture and in other sectors between India and other countries.

Point 6 has been the boon and the bane of the current government. The Prime Minister was on a foreign visit spree even in his third year in office. His visits to Israel, Germany, USA, Russia (I don’t know in which order) and how many more…were important events for sure.  He is not tiring from his foreign trips but, I am tired of his foreign trips. A warm reception to our PM in any country is always welcome. However, Mr Modi’s arrival in all these countries has also enthused a handful of billionaires and people of Indian origin who are now permanently citizens of other countries for whatever reasons. I am not comfortable when the PM addresses select groups of PIOs or cheered by masses of NRIs who see him as a facilitator of FNRI (not generic FDI) in India. This extravagant flag waiving on foreign soils is not needed if they want to help their former mother land.  Those with a heart (either genuinely good or even guilty) have always done their bit for India no matter who, where, or what.

While Narendra Modi loves his professional tours, the would-be opposition leader (Rahul Gandhi) loves his personal vacations abroad 6 months a year. I have nothing important to say about him (that should say a lot). In effect, both are on self-imposed exile at any given time, except when canvassing for elections. The government has not turned off election heat from the day it took charge in 2014. Goodness knows what it will be like when the next general election comes around in around 16 months. The PM’s radio soliloquies have garnered a few crores of much needed revenue to the ailing All India Radio. My reactions to the PM’s publicity seeking manners is summed up by my diary notes that I quote below.  If the PM loves promoting his mediocre acronyms, I think copy pasting my own (slightly better than mediocre) flourish is acceptable once in a while 😉. Here is what I wrote in my diary on June 17th, 2017

The Prime Minister of India inaugurated a metro train service in Kerala, a South Indian state (June 16th, 2017; yesterday). He travelled approximately 13 km in an empty metro train. He also inaugurated one of the longest river bridges in Arunachala Pradesha, a North East Indian state (May 26th, 2017; a few weeks ago). He was standing alone on a bridge too far. The PM also inaugurated a tunnel road in Jammu & Kashmira, a North Indian state (April 2nd, 2017; a few months ago). The photograph of the PM waiving his hand alone in front of a dark empty tunnel is still fresh in my mind. The PM posed for the cameras in a train in South Africa (July 10th, 2016; was it last year?). He was alone and the train was empty. He was safe and insecure. Can’t he see the emptiness of this all? Train travel is good but it is neither a necessary nor sufficient precondition to understand Mahatma Gandhi”.

I mentioned implementation of the GST as the most significant of all the decisions made by the central government in 2016-17. GST was rolled out after many years of deliberation. The PM also took another bold decision when he unleashed a demon in demonetisation on the fateful night of Nov 8th 2016. Demonetisation was meant to be a shark attack on black money hoarders, but it turned out to be a piranha attack on the skinny feet of innocent, vulnerable, ordinary people. I have written on demonetisation in detail in a post three months ago. In short, unleashing the demon was bold, and the government was clever enough to make a political capital out of that decision. History will judge the decision as one that was probably unwise and certainly irresponsible.

If we take ‘the demon’ away from the legislative year 2016-17, there is nothing left to talk about. A series of state assembly elections happened and NDA won most of them. The farmers’ agitation in Delhi caught some eyes. There was widespread concern against antisocial elements (still) beating and lynching in the name of saving cows. The unrest in Jammu and Kashmira is nothing new. The unrest at the borders with China and Pakistan are not new.  We, the people of South India, are far removed from everything happening there. However, the unrest against Hindi imposition in Karnataka is worth a mention. The agitation against Hindi imposition in Namma Metro in Bengaluru city caused a huge uproar locally in Karnataka.  The national (Delhi centric) media did not do justice to the broadcasting of the sentiments expressed by Kannada peoples.

The Indian identity is a complex mixture of many identities. Political parties with a near-pan Indian presence (BJP and INC) have always tried to undermine local aspirations for cultural and fiscal autonomy. They have tried to homogenize our public spaces. I hated the past when there was a single dominant political party in India.  I hate to see a future where there is only one dominant political party in India. Some pro-government media houses are running a gunny bag race with the central government to an unknown finish line. There are many political leaders who are corrupt to their bones, and no torch is required to find them in day light. If only the central law-enforcing agencies (under UPA and NDA) acted where needed, with or without HMV records playing in the background.  The rate at which regional (state-level) political parties are capitulating without a trace, and succumbing to central tactics of (a) lure (money), (b) seduction (power), and (c) threat (from ED and CBI) has continued to damage Indian democracy.

India faces an almost insurmountable challenge of severe drought and water crisis in the 21st century. State governments are sparring over river water that isn’t going to be there. Land grab scams are killing lakes in cities and forests in rural India. Nobody cares when in political office, and those not in political office (ordinary people) do not want to care because they are busy getting their next meal. I fear that a large majority of our politicians will sacrifice sustainable habitability of our lands for their own exploits and their party’s short-term selfish agendas. Such politicians are inspired by us, the ignorant citizens. Of course, business cronies, negligent bureaucrats, and a subservient police force do not help. I wish to believe that I am neither pessimistic nor anti-politics. In fact, I know that I am not (Can’t hee rava?).

Tricolor-india-in vegetables
The Indian Tricolor (photo courtesy: pinterest)

ಶಿವಗಂಗೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟವು ತಿಳಿಸುವ ಸತ್ಯ: Shivagange Hill on Truth

Musings on Truth from Shivagange Hill

The Shivagange Hill (ಶಿವಗಂಗೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟ) is a rocky outcrop (around 800 m above ground level and 1300 m above sea level) in Bengaluru rural district in Karnataka, South India.  These boulders have ancient volcanic origin (are at least 2.5 billion years old) and are some of the oldest geological formations in India.

Shivagange from different angles
ಶಿವಗಂಗೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಹಲವು ಮುಖಗಳು

We come across situations where different versions of any event or anything are narrated to us by different people. Is truth just a perceived construction of the world by human mind? Is there only one ‘version’ of truth? Here, I wish to use the Shivagange Hill as an example to dissect the problem of truth, wonder whether truth is singular or can we have multiple versions of truth. This is also my attempts to superficially understand prominent theories of truth in philosophical studies.

When viewed from a distance of a few km, the peak of Shivagange appears to us in the form of a bull from one of its faces. When viewed from another side, the hill gives us the impression of an eeshwara linga (a Hindu God). It apparently also gives the impression of an elephant and a snake from other angles and I have not personally seen the hill from all possible angles. Of course, it may appear as other things to people of other faiths or non-faith. There is the correspondence theory of truth, which says that a belief or a notion is true if and only if it corresponds to an existing appropriate entity, i.e., a fact. If there is no such entity, the belief is false. If truth has a corresponding fact, then our perception of a bull or a linga in Shivagange hill must be corroborated with the fact of a large rocky statue of a bull or an elephant. But, any such impression of things that are familiar to us, vanish when we get closer to the hill and if we climb the hill, we will notice that the rocks are just rocks.  Does that mean our perception of a bull (nandi) or of a linga from a distance are false or untruths? What about the views from directions other than these four, from where the hill in all likeliness looks merely like a pile of boulders?

The only fact that is probably verifiable about the Shivagange hill will be that a pile of boulders exists at such and such geographical coordinates and if we go there, we may find it.  So, the hill does exist and it is true that the hill exists.  But whether our notions of a nandi, or a shivalinga from a distance are true or not true are not as easy to address.  Some semanticists and redundancy theorists will find fault with the term ‘true’ itself since the usage of the word ‘true’ does not add anything to our perception of the hill’s existence. But, the word ‘true’ has some weight and it gains importance when we use it in more complex collection of statements about this hill.

The process of getting to the ‘truth’ is more or less formulaic if you are in the field of science. It is like watching a hill from a distance, then making one’s way towards it and finally climbing it. Someone holds a belief that has some tangible evidence based on some observations. In other words, he sees the hill of Shivagange from a distance and sees objects that he is familiar with. He will go there to verify his belief. To do that, he will have to conduct some measurements and experiments.  In some cases, more experiments, and even more experiments are needed under different conditions.  Any opinion or hypothesis gets closer to truth and can become absolute truth (a natural law in this case) when experiments are repeatable and the observations provide no exceptions (assuming theorising and experimenting feed off each other).

It is often assumed that truth is singular, and a scientific method helps us get there.  At any given time, the most formidable and evidence based consensus on anything or non-thing is said to be the closest to the absolute truth we aspire to know.  It is indeed repeatable that you or any number of people who view the Shivagange from different angles, can come to the same conclusion (i.e. the hill resembles a bull, a snake, a shivalinga among other things). If someone makes some  accurate measurements of the boulders in situ, and do some spatial modeling, they may find that a random spatial distribution of rocks have given rise to impression of objects familiar to human imagination (common sense, ah!). Are such perceptions part of an incomplete truth? Are they all part of a coherent whole?  Hmm.

Most of us will probably accept that our knowledge of things around us changes everyday and a small fraction of our beliefs and hypotheses, which we thought were truths, no longer remain true. Truth as an evolving and verifiable consensus at a given instance of time, constitutes the pragmatist’s theory of truth. I find that idea attractive.

Reading: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth/

 

ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ “ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾದೇಶಿಕ ಪಕ್ಷಗಳ ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತತೆ” ಚಿಂತನ ಗೋಷ್ಠಿ: ಒಂದು ವರದಿ

ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾದೇಶಿಕ ಪಕ್ಷಗಳ ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತತೆ ಎಂಬ ಚಿಂತನ ಗೋಷ್ಠಿ ಹೋದ ವಾರ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಭಾರತೀಯ ವಿದ್ಯಾ ಭವನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯಿತು. ಈ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮವನ್ನು ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಮುನ್ನೋಟ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಮಳಿಗೆ ಮತ್ತು ಐಟಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ಕೂಟವು ಜಂಟಿಯಾಗಿ ಹಮ್ಮಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದವು.  ಅದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಲ್ಕು ಸಾಲು ಸಹ ಸರಿಯಾಗಿ ಯಾರೂ ಬರೆಯಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಮಧ್ಯದ ಪುಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಎಲ್ಲೋ ಮೂಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾರವಿಲ್ಲದ ಸಾರಾಂಶವನ್ನು ಗೀಚುವ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡುವ ಅಗತ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಇಂಥ ಮುಖ್ಯವಾದ ವಿಚಾರವನ್ನು ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಗಳು ವರದಿ ಮಾಡುವ ವಿಧಾನವನ್ನು ಮೂದಲಿಸುವ ಗೋಜಿಗೆ ಹೋಗದೆ ನಾನು ಆವತ್ತು ಕೇಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ವಿಚಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮುಂದಿಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ.  ಮುಖ್ಯ ಅಂಶಗಳಲ್ಲಿ  ನೆನಪಿನಲ್ಲಿರುವುದನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರ ಬರೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಯಾವ ನೋಟ್ಸ್ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲಿಲ್ಲ, ಯಾವುದನ್ನೂ ರಿಕಾರ್ಡ್ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮ ನಡೆದು ಒಂದು ವಾರ ಕಳೆದಮೇಲೂ ನನ್ನ ನೆನಪಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವು ಅಂಶಗಳು ಉಳಿದಿವೆ ಎಂದರೆ ಅವು ಪರಿಣಾಮ ಬೀರಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಬಹುದು.

okkoota-pradeshika-BVB-May18-2017
Relevance of Regional Political Parties in the Indian Union- A discussion in Bengaluru, held on May 18, 2017,

ಸಭೆಗೆ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಅತಿಥಿಯಾಗಿ ಬಂದಿದ್ದವರು ಎಚ್ ಡಿ ದೇವೇಗೌಡರು. ಸುಮಾರು ಒಂದೂವರೆ ತಾಸು ತಡವಾಗಿ ಬಂದು ಕ್ಷಮೆ ಕೇಳಿದರು. ಅವರಿಂದ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮ ಸಂಜೆ ೪ ಗಂಟೆಗೆ ಶುರುವಾಗಬೇಕಾಗಿದ್ದುದು ೫:೪೫ ಕ್ಕೆ ಶುರುವಾಯ್ತು. ಮುನ್ನೋಟದ ವಸಂತ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ಪ್ರಾಸ್ತಾವಿಕವಾಗಿ ಸುಮಾರು ಹದಿನೈದು ನಿಮಿಷ ಮಾತಾಡಿ, “ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಈವತ್ತು ನಾಡು-ನುಡಿಯ ನಾಡಿ ಮಿಡಿತ ಬಲ್ಲ ಪ್ರಾದೇಶಿಕ ಪಕ್ಷವೊಂದರ ಅಗತ್ಯ ಯಾಕೆ ಇದೆ” ಎಂಬ ವಿಷಯಕ್ಕೆ ಪಾಯ ಹಾಕಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟರು.  ಹಿಂದಿ ಹೇರಿಕೆ, ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರಿ ಕೆಲಸಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಅವಗಣನೆ, ನೀರಾವರಿ ಮತ್ತು ಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಸ್ವಾಯತ್ತತೆಯು ಸಾಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಬಗೆಯನ್ನು ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ಗಟ್ಟಿಯಾಗಿ ಹೇಳಿದರು. ಅವರ ನಂತರ ವಕೀಲ-ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿ ಬಿ.ಎಲ್. ಶಂಕರ್ ಸುಮಾರು ೪೦ ನಿಮಿಷ ನಿರರ್ಗಳವಾಗಿ ವಿಷಯದ ಹಲವು ಆಯಾಮಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ಮಾತಾಡಿದರು. ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದ ಅಂಶಗಳು…

  • ಭಾರತದ ಸಂವಿಧಾನದ ತಕ್ಕಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ಬೊಟ್ಟು ರಾಜ್ಯ ಸರ್ಕಾರಗಳ ಬೊಟ್ಟಿಗಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ತೂಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಸಂವಿಧಾನದ ತಿದ್ದುಪಡಿ ಮಾಡಲು ಲೋಕಸಭೆಗೆ ಅಧಿಕಾರವಿದೆ. ಲೋಕಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ೨/೩ ರ ಬಹುಮತದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಭಾರತ ಒಕ್ಕೂಟದ ಶೇಕಡಾ ೫೦ ರಾಜ್ಯಗಳು ಒಪ್ಪಿದರೆ ಸಾಕು, ಯಾವ ಬದಲಾವಣೆಯನ್ನು ಬೇಕಾದರೂ ತರಬಹುದು (ಉದಾ: GST ಮಸೂದೆ / ಕಾಯ್ದೆ). ರಾಜ್ಯ ಸರ್ಕಾರಗಳು ತಿದ್ದುಪಡಿಗಳನ್ನು ಸೂಚಿಸಲು ಕೂಡ ಅಶಕ್ತವಾಗಿವೆ.
  • ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಜ್ಯಗಳು ಕೇಂದ್ರದಷ್ಟೇ ಬಲಿಷ್ಠವಾಗುವ ತನಕ “ಫೆಡರಲಿಸಂ” ಪದದ ನಿಜವಾದ ಅರ್ಥ “ಟ್ರೀಟಿ ಅಥವಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದ” ಕ್ಕೆ ನ್ಯಾಯ ಸಿಗದು.
  • ಕನ್ನಡೇತರ ಐಎಎಸ್ ಅಧಿಕಾರಿಗಳಿಂದ, ಸ್ವಂತ ಬುದ್ಧಿ ಇಲ್ಲದ ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿಗಳಿಂದ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಕಂಟಕ ಬಂದಿದೆ

ಇದರ ನಂತರ ಪತ್ರಕರ್ತ ಎನ್. ಎ. ಇಸ್ಮಾಯಿಲ್ ಅವರು ಹಿಂದಿ ಹೇರಿಕೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಚುಟುಕಾಗಿ ಆದರೆ ಮೊನಚಾಗಿ ಮಾತಾಡಿದರು.  “ಹಿಂದಿ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯಾಗಲೀ ಅಥವಾ ಬಾಲಿವುಡ್ ಸಿನೆಮಾ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯಾಗಲೀ ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ರಾಜ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಎಂದೂ ಹೆದರಿಕೆ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ಹಿಂದಿ ಹೇರುವ ನೀತಿಗೆ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಅಸುರಕ್ಷಿತ ಭಾವನೆ ಅಥವಾ ಪೊಲಿಟಿಕಲ್ ಇನ್ಸೆಕ್ಯೂರಿಟಿಯೇ ಮುಖ್ಯವಾದ ಕಾರಣ” ಎಂದು ಇಸ್ಮಾಯಿಲ್ ಹೇಳಿದರು. ” ಹಿಂದಿ ಹೇರಿಕೆ ಒಂದು ರಾಜಕೀಯ ತಂತ್ರ. ಅದನ್ನು ಎದುರಿಸಲು ನಾಡು-ನುಡಿಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕಾಳಜಿ  ಇರುವ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಹೋರಾಟ ಬೇಕಾಗಿದೆ” ಎಂದು ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದಾಗ ಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷಕರು ಕರತಾಡನ ಮಾಡಿ ಒಪ್ಪಿಗೆ ಸೂಚಿಸಿದರು.

“ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಪಕ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ರಾಜ್ಯಗಳಿಗೆ ಆಗಿರುವ ನ್ಯಾಯಾನ್ಯಾಯಗಳು” ಎಂಬ ವಿಚಾರವಾಗಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಿದವರು ಶಿಕ್ಷಕ-ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿ ವೈ.ಎಸ್.ವಿ. ದತ್ತ. ಇವರ ಮಾತಿಗೆ ಸಮಯದ ಅಭಾವ ಉಂಟಾಗಿತ್ತು.  ಹಾಗಾಗಿ, ಇವರು ವಿವರಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಗದೆ ಸೂಚ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಕೆಲವು ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗಳನ್ನು ಸ್ವಾರಸ್ಯಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ಪಟ್ಟಿ ಮಾಡಿದರು.  ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗಳೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಸೂಕ್ತವಾಗಿದ್ದುವು ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಸೀಮಿತವಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಬಲಿಷ್ಠ ಪ್ರಾದೇಶಿಕ ನೇತೃತ್ವ ಇದ್ದಾಗ ಕೇಂದ್ರವು ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಪಾದಸೇವೆಗೆ ದೌಡಾಯಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಬಂದಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಅವರು ಕಾವೇರಿ ನ್ಯಾಯಮಂಡಳಿ ರಚನೆ ಮಾಡುವಾಗ (ತಮಿಳಿನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ) ನಡೆದ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗಳನ್ನು ಉದಾಹರಿಸಿದರು.  ಎಚ್. ಡಿ. ದೇವೇಗೌಡರು, ದೇಶದ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ಆಗಿದ್ದಾಗ (ಯುನೈಟೆಡ್ ಫ್ರಂಟ್ ಸರ್ಕಾರ) ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಕೃಷ್ಣಾ ಮೇಲ್ದಂಡೆ ಯೋಜನೆಗೆ ಅನುಕೂಲ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಡುವ ಸಲುವಾಗಿ, ಹಣಕಾಸಿನ ಕೊರತೆಯಿಂದ ನೆನೆಗುದಿಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದಿದ್ದ ದೇಶದ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ನೀರಾವರಿ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳಿಗೂ ಹಣ ಒದಗಿಸುವ ನಿಷ್ಪಕ್ಷಪಾತ ನಿರ್ಧಾರ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡರು ಎಂದು ಸ್ಮರಿಸಿದರು. ಆದರೆ, ದತ್ತ ಅವರು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡ ಬಹುತೇಕ ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗಳು ನೀರಾವರಿಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಸಿದ್ದೇ ಆಗಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ವಿಷಯಕ್ಕೆ ನ್ಯಾಯ ಸಿಗಲಿಲ್ಲವೇನೋ ಎನಿಸಿತು.

ಇವಿಷ್ಟೂ ಚರ್ಚೆಗೆ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯೆ ಕೊಡುವ ಜವಾಬ್ದಾರಿ ದೇವೇಗೌಡರ ಮೇಲಿತ್ತು.  ಅವರು ತಮ್ಮ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಸ್ಥಾನಕ್ಕೆ ತಕ್ಕುದಾದ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರನ್ನೂ ವೈಯಕ್ತಿಕವಾಗಿ ದೂಷಿಸುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಕಾವೇರಿ ವಿಚಾರದಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಜ್ಯ ರಾಜಕಾರಣವು ಒಗ್ಗಟ್ಟಾಗಿ ನಿಲ್ಲುವ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ದೇವೇಗೌಡರು ನಡೆದುಕೊಂಡ ಸಮಯೋಚಿತ ರೀತಿಯನ್ನು ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದವರೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಭಾರೀ ಕರತಾಡನದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಶ್ಲಾಘಿಸಿದರು. ಕೇಂದ್ರದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಈಗಿನ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ಕಾರ್ಯವೈಖರಿಯನ್ನು ಟೀಕಿಸುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ದೇವೇಗೌಡರು ಹಿಂಜರಿಯಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ, ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಇತರರು ಮಂಡಿಸಿದ್ದ ವಿಚಾರಕ್ಕೆ ನೇರವಾಗಿ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯೆ ಕೊಡಲು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ತಮ್ಮ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನುಭವಿಸಿದ “ನೋವು” ಎಂದು ಪದೇ ಪದೇ ಪ್ರಸ್ತಾಪಿಸಿದರು.  ಆ “ನೋವು ಏನು ಎಂದು ವಿವರಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ” ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿದರು.  ವಿವರಿಸಲು ಇಷ್ಟವಿರದ ವಿಚಾರವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಸ್ತಾಪಿಸುವುದಾದರೂ ಯಾಕೆ ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಅನೇಕರಲ್ಲಿ ಎದ್ದಿರುವಂತೆ ಕಂಡಿತು.  ತಮ್ಮ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯೆಯ ಉದ್ದಕ್ಕೂ “ನಾನು ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ಆಗಿದ್ದಾಗ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡ ನಿರ್ಧಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಯಾರೂ ಸ್ಮರಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ,  ನಾನು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಅನುಕೂಲವಾಗುವ ಅನೇಕ ನಿರ್ಧಾರಗಳನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡೆ.  ಅದರ ಹೆಸರು ಬೇರೆಯವರಿಗೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿತು” ಎಂದು ಹಲುಬಿದರು. ದೇವೇಗೌಡರ ಇಳಿವಯಸ್ಸಿನ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರೆಯೆಯಿಂದ ಇನ್ನೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನದನ್ನು ನಿರೀಕ್ಷಿಸಿದ ನಮ್ಮದೂ ತಪ್ಪಿರಬಹುದು.  ಅವರ ೮೫ ನೇ ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಪ್ರಯುಕ್ತ ಅನೇಕರು ಅವರನ್ನು ಸನ್ಮಾಸಿದರು. ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮದುದ್ದಕ್ಕೂ ಅವರನ್ನು ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಹೊಗಳುವವರೇ ಆಗಿದ್ದರು. ಯಾರೂ ಸಹ ಪ್ರಾದೇಶಿಕ ಪಕ್ಷಗಳು ತಮ್ಮ ಜವಾಬ್ದಾರಿಯನ್ನು ನಿರ್ವಹಿಸದೇ ಹೋದ ಯಾವ ಸಂದರ್ಭವನ್ನೂ ನೆನಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಪ್ರಾದೇಶಿಕ ಪಕ್ಷಗಳು ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತವಾಗಬೇಕಾದರೆ ಏನು ಮಾಡಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ಪರಿಹಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಹೇಳಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಈ ಕೊರತೆಗಳ ಮಧ್ಯೆ ಯುವಕರ ಸಮೂಹವೊಂದು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಪರ ಯೋಚನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾ,  ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಹಿತವನ್ನು ಕಾಯಲು ಸಂಘಟಿತ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನದ ಮುನ್ನುಡಿ ಬರೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎಂಬ ಆಶಾ ಭಾವನೆ ಎಲ್ಲರಲ್ಲೂ ಇತ್ತು.  

                

Gopalakrishna Adiga on Poetry and on Being a Poet

m-gopalakrishna-adiga
M. Gopalakrisha Adiga (1918-1992); photo courtesy: kamat.com

Mogeri Gopalakrisha Adiga (1918-1992) is one of the pioneers of the Navya (post-romantic) literary movement in Kannada that began in the second half of the 20th century. Some argue that MG Adiga (MGA) is to Kannada what TS Elliot is to English. The Waste Land (1922) by TS Eliot is one of the landmark poems of the 20th century English literature, marking the beginning of a new era of free verse, an era where a sense of despair triumphed over the sense of hope and harmony of the Wordsworthian Romantics. Adiga’s critically acclaimed poems in the navya genre punctuated the looming deterioration of Nehruvian Romanticism in India (late 1950s and early 1960s).

Kannadiga teenagers, who are introduced to Adiga in high school, generally fall in love with him because for them Adiga personifies angst and disillusionment. I was one of those teenagers who found Adiga the most practical and the hardened realist of all poets in my textbooks. However, I grew out of Adiga’s frustration as I got older. On my way to rediscovering my roots, I became more and more at home with the Navodaya (Romantic) tradition (B.M.Sri, Govinda Pai, Kuvempu, DR Bendre, Pu.Ti.Narasimhachar, SR Ekkundi, Kadengodlu, KSNa, SV Parameshwara Bhatta, GS Shivarudrappa and others). The Navya school of Kannada poetry, to which Adiga was the fountain head, rejected the style and interests of Navodaya poets. In my view, to reject a noble tradition (in this instance, the Navodaya tradition) one has to be steeped in it. When someone who is steeped in a tradition rejects his tradition, it is easier to believe that the rejection is authentic and legitimate. Many of Adiga’s poems that are popular with the commoner today were written in the romanticist style (including Yaava Mohana Murali Kareyitu, Aluva Kadalolu Teli Barutalide). Adiga was perhaps eligible to reject the style and mindset of the Navodaya tradition because Adiga was perfectly capable of writing some of the best Navodaya poems of his time. The same cannot be said of many of his contemporaries and literary successors.

I know Gopalakrishna Adiga through his poems. Many like me, who read modern classics in Kannada poetry, never saw the great poets and will never know what it is like to be one of those towering intellectuals of a given generation. It is important that we understand the poet to understand his poems.  Reading a few magic lines of verse has never been sufficiently satisfactory and certainly not to me. A few weeks ago, I was reading U R Ananthamurthy (1932-2014) and his recollections of Adiga and suddenly I realised that the year 2018 will mark the birth centenary of Adiga.

Here, I have translated (from Kannada to English) excerpts of an interview with Adiga done by U R Ananthamurthy (URA). URA was a pupil and an approving critic of Adiga. The interview was published in the deepavali special issue of Udayavaani in 1980. In the full Kannada version (available at kanaja.in) URA asks ten questions and Adiga has answered them all. In this excerpt, I have selected and combined a few of those questions and answers and I feel these are of interest to poets of any language. It is intriguing that a post-romantic socialist and existentialist like U R Ananthamurthy sounds very romanticist in his questions to Adiga. Don’t we all romanticise people we adore?

URA: Your poems draw a lot of inspiration from memories and experiences of your childhood.  Why is that? Will you illustrate one or two important incidents from your childhood that moulded your intelligence for writing poetry?

MGA: There are no easy answers to your question. It is worth searching for an answer though. Everything in this world looks fresh and new when seen through a child’s ever curious eyes. A child’s mind is like a (semi-molten) ball of wax and the worldly experiences get imprinted invisibly, only to reveal themselves at the right time later.  While this is true for every human being, the collective experience of a childhood takes a new dimension in the life of anyone [poet] with a creative imagination. These experiences and imaginations go beyond the standard notions of spatiotemporal reality and some of my successful poems may have experimented with such acts of creativity. It is difficult to tag distinct childhood experiences as less or more important.  When I look back, immediately I can hear the outcry of a frog struggling to escape the clutching pair of beaks of a crow. I can hear my own despairing heartbeat failing to save the frog.  I can hear and see tens and hundreds of big frogs in the pond near my home, making their ritualistic noise after the rains… I can go on listing many more.  None are less important and none are more so. Each incident had appeared important to me at some stage.

URA: It appears that you shifted from urban(e) symbols in some of your early poems to rural contexts in your later poems.  Has this shift anything to do with your childhood in rural Karnataka? Did the constraints of a language [Kannada] play any role?

MGA: It is true that at the time of Indian independence, we [poets and creative thinkers] were responding to our immediate past, which was characterised by an urbane consciousness. We were trying to escape from the shackles of urbane symbols and inadvertently I used urbane symbols in my early poems.  Perhaps, I should also acknowledge the influence of English poetry since urban thought was characteristic of many western civilisations.  However, writing poetry requires a lot more than merely being conscious of one’s surroundings.  A literary consciousness has to not only recognise and acknowledge the astonishing diversity of life but it also has to draw from a rich array of transient and symbolic inner experiences. Our [Indian] urban construct has not evolved to the level where it can distinguish itself from its rural roots. An adulterated urban language (a mixture of English and Kannada) is incapable of capturing transient inner experiences.The urban consciousness lingered in the superficial layers of my mind for too long and that may have forced me to search for vitality in a rural context (despite deterioration of the rural ideal).  It is natural that a person like me with a rural background, goes in search of a language framework in his rural roots. A poet succeeds when he finds a language that reconciles his inner [sub-conscious?] experiences with the conscious external experiences and knowledge.

This takes me to the constraints of Kannada on thinking and writing poetry [in 1980s] .  The formal form of Kannada language has evolved over many hundred years to serve the poets. There is the spoken form of the masses, and there is the modern scientific and technological vocabulary which is growing by the day. It is a constant three way dialogue between these three forms. Kannada as a language has to produce independent books and articles on the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, which is still a long way away. A Kannada poet who wants to think about these modern challenges is struggling and his best bet is to go for the language that realistically captures his experiences [implied: rural and childhood experiences].

URA:  Do you feel you should write poems that are accessible [comprehensible] to the people?

MGA: When you say people, immediately the question arises which people? No art is easy for any people. Let us leave the common people alone.  Don’t we see many of those who are supposedly enlightened [educated?] showing limited or no sensitisation to art?  It is important that simple experiences materialise [in poems] with an ease that matches the simplicity of those experiences. At the same time, there will be other more layered and complicated experiences that require an equally sophisticated form of expression. It is wrong to say that a poem becomes a poem only when it is easily accessible and it is equally wrong to think that a poem is a good poem only when it is inaccessible. It is necessary that one has to break the boundaries of literary rhythm and [this is possible] only after one masters the form. However, the aim of breaking free from rhythmic verse is not a quest for ‘loose verse’.  We break free from one rigid frame [form] only to reframe [reinvent] ourselves in a new form. I agree that in the current context we [poets] have a duty to be accessible to the people [India was fresh out of political emergency in 1980]. This must be achieved through good education, through mass media and through nurturing a robust intellectual discourse.

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