Category Archives: Reflections

Supreme court of India does not know the difference between rights and duties

I am proud of my Indian identity without hating anyone. Some times I am angry and anger can be good sometimes. But the current situation in Karnataka and the injustices to us from the central institutions are transforming my pride into ‘self-doubt’ and I worry that I might start hating ‘others’. I have struggled with the ideas/ questions discussed below for a long time and I don’t think I have answers. I don’t claim to be correct with everything I say here.

SUPREMECOURTOFINDIAI have seen the photograph of the building that houses the Supreme Court of India.  Every time a news associated with a supreme court judgement comes along we see the photo of the building along with the news. The building does not mean anything to us in Karnataka because people in that building do not respect Karnataka’s rights and they do not understand the difference between rights and duties. I will explain. The Indian Supreme court has squashed preference to Karnataka citizens in post-graduate (PG) medical courses in medical colleges run by Karnataka (our) state or supported by our state. I feel the Supreme court of India just does not understand what it means to be an Indian. Indian citizenship is neither an entitlement nor a right to encroach on others’ rights. Where does ‘we’ stop and where does ‘others’ begin is a/not an easy question. The linguistic division of states is a good starting point and a criteria of population above a critical mass, and a geographic presence that is economically and ecologically sustainable are good boundary markers.

I know that the sense of entitlement in Indian citizens is not very different from the sense of entitlement in Karnataka citizens, when the latter demand preferential treatment in Karnataka. Critics will say if an Indian is not entitled to get a PG seat in Karnataka, a citizen of Karnataka is also not entitled to get the same. But, the problem is the top-down approach. The Supreme Court does not give equal importance to duties when it talks about rights. If a student has a right to study anywhere he or she likes, does he or she also have a duty that is beyond bounds?  I am not talking about fundamental rights (right to life etc) and fundamental human duties (vaguely, doing what is right etc). Most duties appear anchored in some place, stem from one’s own self and spread out (bottom-up). In contrast, most rights appear to be ubiquitous, give the impression of equity, and often imposed from outside (top-down). Those citizens of Karnataka who benefited from Karnataka (also India to a lesser extent) but are now performing ‘universal’ duties elsewhere must have faced these questions. The same also applies to many thousand non-citizen experts and non-experts residing in Karnataka, who trained elsewhere, are now serving Karnataka, may be with fervour.

Universalist attitudes are good and must be practiced under moderation (a contradiction, I know). By all means have a quota for all-India entrance exams. All institutions must give some seats on merit/need basis to anyone from anywhere in the world (not just within India). What is that ‘some’? 50%? or 80%? Be realistic, 20%? It is important to foster diversity in centers of learning (Karnataka has enough diversity within itself to enrich a student’s life and offers enough to develop a broad world view). But, any institution that is separated from its society is destined to die, and until then it will be a burden. Try this: Cut off the central funds (BTW, state funds disguised as central funds), cut the tap water from the local river or tube-well, cut the food supply from the local agricultural field, and cut electricity from a local grid, and see whether the institutions survive. If they do, by all means give all seats to students from Mars. Universities and colleges full of students from other states, who do not speak the local language, who do not trust the land (the land always trusts them), who create their own isolated bubbles within the larger society worry me. Having said that, it is worth remembering that PG seats in most state and central universities (all fields) have lost value for other reasons. Sadly, rampant cronyism, nepotism, treating education as a stock market commodity, and misinterpretations and misuse of ‘sense of entitlement’ by citizens of Karnataka have damaged us. Our claim for greater autonomy in state matters has suffered as a result. So it is probably not worth defending them today. However, I hope that someday our state run universities can really be worthy of being part of Karnataka.

I am proud of being a citizen of Karnataka and a citizen of India. Our central government and central institutions (including a blind Supreme court) are making me hate them. I worry that my anger may turn into hatred. Karnataka’s interests have been compromised in the name of India time and again. Of course we have elected some useless MPs to represent us in the parliament, which does not function anyway. With a heavy heart, I say that my faith in Indian federalism in its current form is evaporating.

 

Added on April 18th, 2018

When people start talking about ‘resource limitation’ or ‘violation of environmental norms’, the first thing they do is to look for scapegoats. Migrants (either recent or ancient) are easy targets and the same is happening all over the world. The ‘anti-outsider sentiment’ is one of the basic instincts that gets activated in any human or animal when it is under distress. However, let us also see why this feeling is more palpable these days in cities like Bengaluru.

(i) Cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai have become unsustainable. Blame the locals (who?) for their greed and for destroying the environment. But, there is some legitimacy with nativism too, considering how unjust our Indian federal system has become. Migration from rural to urban centers at the current rate (mainly from North to South India) will be fatal for both. “by 2050 AD” says a crooked fortune teller. Just wait and see.

(ii) Recent immigrants into any city fall into two categories and both have bad reputation. The affluent from other richer cities who buy property in Tier II cities look at their new home as real estate. Nothing more. The poor laborers from other poorer parts of the country may bring unskilled labour to their new home and many do migrate out of economic needs. But, they also add to the existing ‘unstructured’ expansion of often illegal settlements. They do strain the public services, which is pathetic as it is. Even the ultra-rich are illegal in my view, since they buy properties developed on encroached lake beds or forests. Amidst this chaos, there are the old middle class (who are fast becoming the neo-rich, destroyers-in-chief of the environment), who do not vote, who only speak when taps run dry in their own homes, and who can exploit anything and everything for their short-term gains.

(iii) Add to the above, the linguistic mismatch, the public display of alien festivals, and all other conflicts that migration brings with it, and all of those concerns are brushed aside in the name of “India” and “equal rights”. This point is often ridiculed as the first refuge of the racist, the parochial, and the bigoted. But, those who ridicule this view point fail to realise the enormity of the problem. The Brexit vote in Britain has woken up sleeping liberals and universalists in their 1000s…a touch too late for them.

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The Citizen State of Karnataka: ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಜನರ ಜಾಡು ಹಿಡಿದು

What constitutes citizenship of a state?  Who can be called a “true citizen”? These are questions of global importance today, in a world where every person has multiple identities and when people and populations ebb and flow like never before.  To know what I mean by the word “true” or “truth”, you should read another article on truth.  But, assuming that all of us vaguely understand what “true” stands for, I am going to define 5 categories of people and their traits, and I provide a critique of citizenship statuses in a state like Karnataka (a state within the Indian union).  Any attempt to categorise the human condition will be flawed in some way. Hence, these categories may be objectionable to some people. Please also see that those who object will belong to one of the five categories (or a sixth category if you like). They are free to choose.  

ಒಂದು ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಪೌರತ್ವ ಪಡೆಯುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಮಾನದಂಡಗಳೇನು? ನಿಜಪೌರ ಯಾರು? ಇಂಥ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳು ಈವತ್ತಿನ ನಮ್ಮ ಪ್ರಪಂಚದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಹಳ ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತ.  ಒಬ್ಬ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯು ತನ್ನದೆಂದು ಅಧಿಕೃತವಾಗಿ ಹೇಳಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿರುವ ವೇಷಗಳು, ಭೂಷಣಗಳು, ಮತ್ತು ದೇಶಗಳ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ ಇಂದು ಹಿಂದೆಂದಿಗಿಂತಲೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿದೆ.  ನಿಜಪೌರ ಎಂಬಲ್ಲಿ “ನಿಜ”ದ ಅರ್ಥವೇನು ಎಂದು ನೀವು ಕೇಳಬಹದು.  ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಉತ್ತರವನ್ನು ನಾನು ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಲೇಖನದಲ್ಲಿ ಚರ್ಚಿಸಿದ್ದೇನೆ.  ಈ ಲೇಖನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮೆಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ “ನಿಜ” ಎಂಬ ಪದದ ಅರ್ಥ ಗೊತ್ತಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಭಾವಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ (ಭಾರತ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನದೇ ಆದ ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಮತ್ತು ಇರವು ಉಳ್ಳ) ರಾಜ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂದು ವಾಸಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಜನರನ್ನು ಬೇರೆ ಬೇರೆ ವಿಧದ ಜನರನ್ನಾಗಿ ವಿಂಗಡಿಸಿ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನವನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ.  “ಮನುಷ್ಯ ಸ್ಥಿತಿ“ಯನ್ನು ಯಾವುದೇ ಆಧಾರದ ಮೇಲೆ ವರ್ಗೀಕರಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಒಂದಲ್ಲ ಒಂದು ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಊನವುಳ್ಳ ಪ್ರಕ್ರಿಯೆಯೇ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ.  ಈ ಮಿತಿ ಇದ್ದರೂ ಸಹ, ಕೆಳಕಂಡ 5 ವಿಧದ ಜನರನ್ನು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಕಂಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ನನ್ನ ಈ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನದಲ್ಲಿ ಲೋಪ ಇದ್ದೇ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ.  ಆದರೆ,  ಆ ಲೋಪವನ್ನು ಗುರ್ತಿಸಬಹುದೇ ಹೊರತು ಈ ಪ್ರಕ್ರಿಯೆಯೇ ತಪ್ಪು ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವುದು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಹಾಗೆ ಹೇಳುವವರೂ ಸಹ ನಾನು ವಿಂಗಡಿಸಿರುವ 5 ಜನವಿಧಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಗುಂಪಿಗೆ ಸೇರುವಂಥವರೇ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಅವರವರ ಆಯ್ಕೆ ಅವರಿಗೇ ಬಿಟ್ಟದ್ದು.  

True Citizen:  He or she is a person who trusts the land he lives in, speaks and transacts in the language of the land, and has no conflicts of interest in matters concerning the welfare of his home land (home state). A true citizen need not be a citizen of Karnataka by birth. He or she need not be fully aware of Karnataka’s history (glories and ignominies of the past).  A long-term permanent resident of Karnataka is a true citizen when he or she genuinely trusts the land and the land also trusts him/her completely (the land is a hold-all phrase for the waters, the air, the forests, the wild life, the languages, and the true citizens of that land).  True citizens always transact in one of the languages rooted in the state.  They pay taxes to the state’s exchequer (if they are taxable), and will uphold state identity and state interests in any situation within India or outside India.  True citizens have immense respect for their environment and they care for their environment (respect for the land is the first Trust Building Measure). They converse with their children in one of the languages rooted in the state they live in. They will ensure their children become fluent users (spoken and written form) of the language of the land. They respect visitors from other states and will go out of their way to help tourists. Those who serve the interests of the home state by being short-term visitors to other states and countries (without harming the place they are inhabiting, without devious schemes), those people will remain true citizens of Karnataka. However, a small number of true citizens may exploit or mistreat temporary visitors and may provide fodder for “national media” to show Karnataka in poor light. Those that damage Karnataka’s public properties (for whatever cause) and cause bodily harm to other residents of the state, do not deserve their “true citizen” status. They must be expunged from the land in an exemplary fashion. 

“ಟ್ರೂ ಸಿಟಿಝೆನ್” (ನಿಜಪೌರ) ಗುಂಪನ್ನು ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇವಲ ಒಂದು ಸಾಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ವ್ಯಾಖಾನಿಸಬಹುದು. “ಟ್ರೂ ಸಿಟಿಝೆನ್ಸ್” ಅಂದರೆ “ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಜನ”.  ಅಂದರೆ, ಇವರು ತಮ್ಮ ನೆಲ, ನೀರು, ಗಾಳಿ, ಭಾಷೆ, ಕಾಡು, ಮತ್ತು ಜೀವ ಸಂಪತ್ತನ್ನು ನಂಬಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಅದೇ ತೆರನಾಗಿ ಆ ನೆಲವೂ ಅವರನ್ನು ನಂಬಿರುತ್ತದೆ (ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ನಾನು “ನೆಲ+ಅನ್ನು” ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಯೋಗ ಮಾಡಿಲ್ಲ).  ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಮೂಲವುಳ್ಳ ಯಾವುದಾದರೂ ಒಂದು ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನು ತಮ್ಮ ನಿತ್ಯ ಜೀವನಕ್ಕೆ ಬಳಸುತ್ತಾರೆ, ತಮ್ಮ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೂ ಕಲಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಹಿತವನ್ನು ಎಲ್ಲ ರೀತಿಯಿಂದಲೂ ಕಾಯ್ದುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಬದ್ಧರಾಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಜನರು ಆ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲೇ ಹುಟ್ಟಬೇಕು, ಅಥವಾ ಆ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲೇ ಆಡಿ ಬೆಳದಿರಬೇಕು ಎಂಬ ನಿಯಮವಿಲ್ಲ.  ನೆಲದ ನಿಯಮಗಳನ್ನು ಮನಃಪೂರ್ವಕವಾಗಿ ಮೈಗೂಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಯಾರೇ ಆಗಲೀ ಆತನನ್ನ ಅಥವಾ ಅವಳನ್ನ ನೆಲವು ನಂಬುತ್ತದೆ. ನೆಲವನ್ನು ಗೌರವಿಸುವುದು ನೆಲ ನಂಬುಗೆಯ ಕಾರ್ಯಗತಗೊಳಿಸುವ ಮೊದಲ ಹೆಜ್ಜೆ. ಆ ಗೌರವ ಬೆಳೆಸಿಕೊಂಡವರು ಮಾತ್ರ ನೆಲದ ಪರಿಸರವನ್ನು ಶುಚಿಯಾಗಿ ಇಟ್ಟಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ತಮ್ಮದಲ್ಲದ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಿಗೆ ತಾತ್ಕಾಲಿಕ ಅವಧಿಗೆ ಭೇಟಿ ನೀಡಿ ತನ್ನ ಸ್ವಂತ ನಾಡಿನ ಏಳ್ಗೆಗಾಗಿ ದುಡಿಯುವ ಜನರೂ ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಜನರೇ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ ಈ ಜನರಲ್ಲಿ ತಾವು ಭೇಟಿ ನೀಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಸ್ಥಳಕ್ಕೆ ತೊಂದರೆ ಉಂಟುಮಾಡುವ ಅಥವಾ ಇನ್ನಾವುದೇ ವಿಷಮ ಮನಸ್ಥಿತಿಯ ಆಸೆಗಳು ಇರಬಾರದು.  ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಕೆಲವೇ ಕೆಲವರು ತಮ್ಮ ನೆಲಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುವ ಅತಿಥಿಗಳು, ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗಳನ್ನು ಕೆಟ್ಟ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ, ಅಥವಾ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಅಪಚಾರವೆಸಗಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಕೆಟ್ಟ ಹೆಸರು ತರುವಂಥವರೂ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅಂಥವರು ನೆಲ ನಂಬುಗೆಗೆ ಅನರ್ಹರು.  ಅವರನ್ನು ಅದೇ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಣ್ಣಾಗಿಸಿ ಇತರರಿಗೆ ಎಚ್ಚರಿಕೆ ಕೊಡಬಹುದು.  

True Citizen

Permanent Resident:  He or she is a person who has lived in Karnataka for many years and ticks almost all the boxes of eligibility criteria for becoming a True Citizen.  A permanent resident need not be a citizen of Karnataka by birth.  Their forefathers and mothers may have immigrated to Karnataka many decades or hundreds of years ago.  These permanent residents of Karnataka have not only earned their living in Karnataka, would have also learnt to speak and transact in one of the languages rooted in Karnataka. They may converse with their children in their ancestral tongue, but they are likely to encourage their children to learn the local languages, adopt a local-like life and their children will be on their way to becoming true citizens although may never become a true citizen for other reasons. The main reason for permanent residents falling short of becoming true citizens is that they don’t trust the land they are part of. They can’t reconcile the fact that their ancestral root is somewhere else, and deep down, they have conflicts of interest. They struggle (not in public, but within themselves) to be a true citizen of Karnataka because they may rate some other identity (caste, religion, ancestry etc) more highly than their identity as a citizen of Karnataka. They may fail to represent Karnataka when they are in other states within the Indian union or outside India. Despite this, the land values them as its own.

“ಪರ್ಮನೆಂಟ್ ರೆಸಿಡೆಂಟ್” ಎಂಬ ವರ್ಗಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಿದವರನ್ನು ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಸರಳವಾಗಿ “ನೆಲ ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಜನ” ಎನ್ನಬಹುದು.   ಈ ಜನರ ಪೂರ್ವಿಕರು ಬಹಳ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ, ಶತಮಾನಗಳಿಂದ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ನೆಲೆಸಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಇವರೂ ಸಹ ಹುಟ್ಟಿನಿಂದಲೇ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದವರಾಗಿರಬೇಕಿಲ್ಲ. ಇವರು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಬದುಕು ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವುದಷ್ಟೇ ಅಲ್ಲದೆ, ಈ ನೆಲದ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನ ತಮ್ಮ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ಹೇಳಿಕೊಟ್ಟಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ನೆಲದ ಜೀವನ ಶೈಲಿಯನ್ನು ರೂಢಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪ್ರೇರೇಪಿಸಲೂಬಹುದು.  ಆದರೂ, ನೆಲವು ಇವರನ್ನು ನಂಬಿದರೂ ಇವರಿಗೆ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಪೂರ್ಣ ನಂಬಿಕೆ ಇರುವುದು ತುಂಬಾ ಕಷ್ಟ. ತಾವು ಈಗ ಇರುವ ನೆಲದ ಋಣಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಇನ್ನಾವುದೋ ಹಳೆಯ ಗುರುತಿನ ಮೇಲೆ (ಜಾತಿ, ಧರ್ಮ) ವ್ಯಾಮೋಹ ಇನ್ನೂ ಇರುವ ಸಾಧ್ಯತೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚು. ಪೂರ್ವಿಕರ ಮೂಲ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಮತೆ ಇರುವುದು ತಪ್ಪಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೂ, ಇವರಿಗೆ ಈಗಿರುವ ನೆಲದ ನಂಬುಗೆಗಿಂತ ಆ ಬೇರೆ ಲಂಗರುಗಳೇ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಪ್ರಿಯವಾಗಿರುವ ಕಾರಣ, ಇವರು “ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಜನ” ಅಥವಾ “ಟ್ರೂ ಸಿಟಿಝೆನ್” ಆಗುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಸಾಧ್ಯ ಆಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಹೊರಗಿರುವಾಗ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ನಿಲುವನ್ನು ಶಕ್ತವಾಗಿ ಬಿಂಬಿಸಲಾಗದೆ ಒದ್ದಾಡುವ ಇವರನ್ನು ನೆಲವು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡರೂ, ನೆಲವನ್ನು ಇವರು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು ಬಹಳ ಅಪರೂಪ.  ಹಾಗಾದಾಗ ಇವರೂ ಸಹ “ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಜನ”ರಾಗಿ ಭಡ್ತಿ ಪಡೆಯಬಹುದು.    

Permanent Guest (the dangerous breed): He or she can be a type of metic. A metic in ancient Greece was someone who was a long-term resident of a city or a state, economically integrated, but politically and morally separated from the citizenry. Some of these people are very rich, holding influential public and private positions, and may have bought their way (through philanthropy) into societal acceptance. Some of them can be working class, who are getting wealthier and wealth has made them aloof.  Some may have “true citizen” ancestors, but through shear negligence and stupidity, they would have relinquished their identity in pursuit of short-term material wealth and patronage. A few of them can be intellectuals, who feel they are “GLOBAL CITIZENS” but in reality, they are rootless people. In ancient Greece, metics were denied citizenship of the state but in modern Karnataka, these permanent guests of Karnataka assert themselves because they are entitled to citizenship rights as Indians. Permanent guests don’t want to see themselves as loyal to the political and cultural cause of the state they live in. They are happy to drink the water from the rivers flowing in this land. They breath the air here.  But, having lived in Karnataka for many years (decades), a permanent guest never learns to speak or transact in one of the local languages. Permanent guests earn their living in Karnataka, but they do not enjoy any trust with true citizens. They may (or may not) pay taxes in Karnataka and always feel entitled to “their kind of life” anywhere they go within or outside Karnataka. They have business-like concern for Karnataka’s welfare. While most of them stay disconnected from the society they live in, some of them even abuse “true citizens” when the true citizens do not know Hindi, English or any other non-Karnataka language. Extremely rich permanent guests reside in gated-communities in urban areas, i.e., in high rise apartments usually built on lake beds,  or in artificially accumulated colonies of people of similar external origins, or in grand villas built on farm land in city outskirts. Such permanent guests are completely secluded from their societies, living in their own bubble.  The children of privileged permanent guests go to private schools (teaching English and Hindi), which blatantly ignore state value systems. If permanent guests are poor, they work hard when they can, but do not develop any emotional links with the land that has given them jobs. Hence, permanent guests simply use the land they live in.  They never trust the land, and the land will make a mistake if it trusts them. 

“ಪರ್ಮನೆಂಟ್ ಗೆಸ್ಟ್” ಗುಂಪಿಗೆ ಸೇರಿದ ಜನರನ್ನು ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ “ನೆಲ ಬಳಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಜನ” ಎನ್ನಬಹುದು. ಇವರದು ಬಹಳ ಅಪಾಯಕಾರಿ ಗುಂಪು.   ಪ್ರಾಚೀನ ಗ್ರೀಕ್ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ (ಕ್ರಿ. ಪೂ. ೫ ನೇ ಶತಮಾನ) “ಮೆಟಿಕ್” ಎಂಬ ವರ್ಗದ ಜನರಿದ್ದರಂತೆ.  ಮೆಟಿಕ್ ಗಳು ಆರ್ಥಿಕವಾಗಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದುಗೂಡಿದ್ದರೂ, ರಾಜಕೀಯ-ವೈಚಾರಿಕವಾಗಿ ಮತ್ತು ನೈತಿಕವಾಗಿ ಬೇರೆಯೇ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಇವರಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವರು ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಶ್ರೀಮಂತರಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕವಾಗಿ ಉನ್ನತ ಹುದ್ದೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುವವರಾಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ತಮ್ಮ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಬಲದಿಂದಲೇ, ತಮ್ಮ ದಾನ-ಧರ್ಮದ ಹೆಸರಿನಿಂದಲೇ ತಾವಿರುವ ನೆಲಮಾನಸದಲ್ಲಿ ಜಾಗವನ್ನು ಖರೀದಿಸಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಇವರಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವರು ಕಾರ್ಮಿಕ ವರ್ಗದವರೂ ಇರಬಹುದು. ಕೆಲಸಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಗುಳೆ ಬಂದು ಶಾಶ್ವತವಾಗಿ ಈ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲಿ ನೆಲೆಯೂರಿ, ತಮ್ಮ ಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಉತ್ತಮಗೊಂಡಷ್ಟೂ ನೆಲದಿಂದ ವಿಮುಖರಾಗುತ್ತಾ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಮೆಟಿಕ್ ಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವರು ದಿಕ್ಕು ತಪ್ಪಿದ ವೈಚಾರಿಕ ನೆಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ತಾವು “ವಿಶ್ವ ಮಾನವ”ರೆಂದು ಭ್ರಮಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದರೂ, ವಾಸ್ತವದಲ್ಲಿ ಅವರು ಬೇರಿಲ್ಲದ ಜನರಾಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇವರಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವರು “ನೆಲ ನಂಬುವ ಜನ”ರ ಪರಂಪರೆಗೆ ಸೇರಿದವರಾಗಿರಬಹುದು.  ಆದರೆ ತಮ್ಮ ವೈಯಕ್ತಿಯ ಲಾಭಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಅಥವಾ ಅಧಿಕಾರದಲ್ಲಿರುವವರನ್ನು ಓಲೈಸುವುದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ತಮ್ಮ ನೆಲ ನಂಬುಗೆಯನ್ನು ಬಲಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಪ್ರಾಚೀನ ಗ್ರೀಕ್ ಸಮಾಜದ ಮೆಟಿಕ್ ಗಳಿಗೆ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಸಮುದಾಯ ಪೌರತ್ವ ಕೊಟ್ಟಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಆದರೆ, ಇಂದಿನ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ನೆಲ ಬಳಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಜನರು ಎಲ್ಲೆಡೆಯೂ ತಮ್ಮ ಹಕ್ಕು ಸ್ಥಾಪಿಸಲು ಭಾರತೀಯತೆಯನ್ನು ಅಸ್ತ್ರವಾಗಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ.  ಈ ಜನ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಉಪ್ಪು ತಿಂದು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಹಿತ ಕಾಯದೇ ಹೋಗುವ ಜನ.  ಹತ್ತಾರು ವರ್ಷಗಳು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲೇ ಇದ್ದರೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಯಾವ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನೂ ಕಲಿಯದೆ ಕೇವಲ ಹಿಂದಿ, ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್, ಅಥವಾ ಇನ್ನಾವುದೇ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕೇತರ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನು ನೆಚ್ಚಿಕೊಂಡಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲಿ ದುಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡಿದರೂ “ನೆಲ ನಂಬುಗೆ”ಯನ್ನು ಬೆಳೆಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.  ಈ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲಿ ತೆರಿಗೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿದಾಕ್ಷಣ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ತಾವು ಏನು ಬೇಕಾದರೂ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು, ಹೇಗೆ ಬೇಕಾದರೂ ಇರಬಹುದು ಎಂಬ ಧೋರಣೆ ಉಳ್ಳವರು.   ಇವರು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ನೆಲವನ್ನು ವ್ಯವಹಾರದ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯಿಂದ ಮಾತ್ರ ನೋಡಲು ಶಕ್ತರು. ತಮ್ಮ ಸುತ್ತಲಿನ ಸಮಾಜದಿಂದ ದೂರವೇ ಉಳಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಈ ಜನ ಹಣವಂತರಾಗಿದ್ದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ನಗರ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಗಗನಚುಂಬಿ ಅಪಾರ್ಟ್ಮೆಂಟ್ ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ವಾಸಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಇಲ್ಲವಾದರೆ ಪಟ್ಟಣಗಳ ಹೊರ ವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಮೂಲ ನಾಡಿನವರನ್ನು ಕರೆತಂದು ತಮ್ಮದೇ ಕಾಲೋನಿ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ, ಇಲ್ಲವಾದರೆ ಬೇಸಾಯದ ಭೂಮಿಯನ್ನು ಮನೆ ಕಟ್ಟುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಬದಲಾಯಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಬಂಗಲೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ಜನರ ಮಕ್ಕಳು ನೆಲದಿಂದ ದೂರ ಕಾಯ್ದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಖಾಸಗಿ ಶಾಲೆಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಬಡವರಾದರೆ, ಮೈ ಮುರಿದು ದುಡಿಯುತ್ತಾರಾದರೂ ಅವರ ದುಡಿಮೆಗೆ ಜಾಗ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ನೆಲಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಅವರು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬಂದ ನೆಲವನ್ನು, ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನು ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಅಪ್ಪಿಕೊಂಡಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಹೀಗೆ, ಪರ್ಮನೆಂಟ್ ಗೆಸ್ಟ್ ಎಂಬ ಈ ಜನ ನೆಲವನ್ನು ಬಳಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ನೆಲವು ಇವರನ್ನು ಬಳಸಿಕೊಂಡರೂ ಇವರಿಗೆ ನೆಲದರಿವು ಮೂಡುವುದಿಲ್ಲ (ಬಳಸು ಎಂಬ ಪದದ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಅರ್ಥದಲ್ಲಿ).  ನೆಲದ ನಂಬುಗೆಗೆ ಇವರೂ ಸಹ ಅರ್ಹರಲ್ಲ.           

Tourist or Temporary Visitor (the Welcome category): United Nations defines tourism as a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors and tourism has to do with their activities. A visitor (domestic, international, inbound or outbound) is classified as a tourist (or visitor), if his/her trip includes a few days stay, or a stay for a single day in a non-native place. A temporary visitor is a traveller taking a trip to a destination outside his/her usual environment, for less than a year, for a legitimate purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be employed by a resident entity in the state or place visited. The same rules apply in Karnataka. Anybody visiting Karnataka from any other state within India or any other foreign destination is treated as a tourist as long as they satisfy the above conditions. They enjoy security expected of a tourist (included in their travel insurance) and they will be treated with utmost respect and provided services in English (for leisure only).  Any misadventure by tourists in the land they are visiting is completely their responsibility and they will be liable in a court of law. Minor misdemeanours by tourists will be tolerated (in good faith) by the state, its true citizens and permanent residents. 

ಯುನೈಟೆಡ್ ನೇಷನ್ಸ್ ವ್ಯಾಖ್ಯಾನಿಸುವಂತೆ “ಪ್ರವಾಸಿ” ಅಥವಾ “ತಾತ್ಕಾಲಿಕ ಅತಿಥಿ” ಎಂದರೆ ಆ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಸಮಯ ಇರುವಂಥವನ(ಳ)ಲ್ಲ. ವ್ಯಾಪಾರಕ್ಕೋ, ಮನೋಲ್ಲಾಸಕ್ಕೋ ಅಥವಾ ಇನ್ನಾವುದೇ ಕಾರಣಕ್ಕೋ ತಮ್ಮ ಮೂಲ ಪ್ರದೇಶದಿಂದ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಸ್ಥಳಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುವ ಇವರು ಒಂದು ದಿನಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಕಾಲ, ಮತ್ತು ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಕಾಲ ಈ ಹೊಸ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುವಂಥವರು.  ಈ ತಾತ್ಕಾಲಿಕ ಅತಿಥಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಅವರ ಪ್ರವಾಸೀ ವಿಮೆ ಕೊಡುವ ಸೌಲಭ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಸುರಕ್ಷತೆಯ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಅವರು ಭೇಟಿ ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ನೆಲವನ್ನು ನಂಬುವ ಜನರೂ (ಟ್ರೂ ಸಿಟಿಝೆನ್ಸ್) ಸಹ ಎಲ್ಲ ರೀತಿಯಿಂದ ಸಹಕಾರ ಕೊಡಬೇಕು.  ಅವರಿಗೆ ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಸೇವೆ ಒದಗಿಸಬಹುದು.  ಆದರೆ, ಈ ಅತಿಥಿಗಳು ತಾವು ಭೇಟಿ ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ನೆಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುವಷ್ಟು ಕಾಲ ಯಾವುದೇ ಕುಚೇಷ್ಟೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ತೊಡಗಿಕೊಂಡರೆ ಅವಕ್ಕೆ ಅವರೇ ಜವಾಬ್ದಾರರಾಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ, ಮತ್ತು ಆ ನೆಲದ ಕಾನೂನಿಗೆ ಒಳಪಡುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ತಿಳಿಯದೇ ಮಾಡುವ ಸಣ್ಣ ಪುಟ್ಟ ಪ್ರಮಾದಗಳನ್ನು ನೆಲವು ಮನ್ನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.  ಅಂತಹ  ನೆಲವು ಮಾತ್ರ ನಂಬುಗೆಯ ಜನರನ್ನು ಹೊಂದುವುದು ಸಾಧ್ಯ. 

Fleeting visitor: A person who usually is in any Karnataka airport (duty-free zone) or in international sea waters in the vicinity of Coastal Karnataka. They are not associated with the citizenry in anyway.  International laws and treaties govern their existence.  However, fleeting visitors are still expected to maintain the dignity of the land they are watching or waving at from a distance.   

ಕ್ಷಣಿಕ ಇಣುಕುವ ಈ ಜನ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ವಿಮಾನ ನಿಲ್ದಾಣದ ಒಳಗೋ ಅಥವಾ ಸಮುದ್ರ ತೀರದಿಂದ ಬಹಳ ದೂರದಲ್ಲೋ ನಿಂತುಕೊಂಡು ನೆಲವನ್ನು ವೀಕ್ಷಿಸುವಂಥವರು.  ಇವರಿಗೆ ನೆಲದ ನಂಬುಗೆಯ ಆವಶ್ಯಕತೆ ಇರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.  ಅಂತಾರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಕಾನೂನಿಗೆ ಒಳಪಡುವ ಇವರೂ ಸಹ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದರೂ ನೆಲವನ್ನು ನೋಡುವಾಗ ಗೌರವ ದೃಷ್ಟಿ ಬೆಳೆಸಿಕೊಂಡರೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದು. 

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

 

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/

 

Demonetisation of the Indian economy: A layman’s reaction

I am no expert on this subject. I have to rely on expert opinion to understand the implications of demonetisation. I have put-together a selection of reactions on ‘demonetisation’ from some of the leading names in India’s contemporary discourse on India, its society, economy and peoples. Therefore, the title of this blog article may appear misleading to some of you. But, it is also true that while utilising expert opinions to get clarity on what’s going on (see the quote graphic below), I will share with you my own views as well. Therefore, mine will be a reasonably informed layman’s reaction.

I have tried to contrast opinions as pro (green) vs. against (red) the decision to demonetise the economy. Some experts are obviously politically inclined while others express their views as ideologues of certain kind of policies.  From first reading, it will be clear that all of them have made equally meritorious comments and assessments.  We will look at them in greater detail in their relevant contexts.  As a non-expert lay person, I am not as apolitical as Mr Narayana Murthy (Infosys chairman) is. I need not be.

demonetization_quotable-quotes_cantheerava
Demonetisation: Reactions from prominent citizens of India

All of us, rich or poor, female or male, scheduled caste or upper-caste, urban or rural…all of us acknowledge that the country as a whole is struggling because of cash-crunch. Most people including me share Mr Murthy’s sentiments that the society should try to help and accommodate the needs of the most disadvantaged, especially under these trying circumstances. The Prime Minister (Mr Narendra Modi) himself has time and again acknowledged the difficulties faced mainly by the rural citizens and workers in the unorganised sectors of the economy.  Mr Arun Jaitley, the Union Finance Minister made a statement at the Hindustan Times leadership summit a few days ago that “with such a large population, there will be long queues [in front of banks and ATMs]”. While it was made as a jokingly rhetorical comment, it also casts doubts on the central government’s attitude when it took the decision to demonetise the economy on the fateful night of November the 8th, 2016.

Dr Surjith Bhalla (commentator and economist) and others like him have expressed cautious optimism at the government’s move to demonetise the economy and he hopes that the PM will back this up with other necessary steps. Former Finance Minister Mr Chidambaram while vehemently opposing demonetisation, agrees that more tax reforms are necessary. What those steps should be is debatable. Mr Chidambaram and Mr Arun Jaitley are in opposite political parties but those who have followed their careers know that they are quite cordial with each other and have common economic policy views. But on the matter of demonetisation Mr Chidambaram’s criticism of the government are well placed.  He says in a TV interview that the government did not consult anyone and did not obtain an adequately grounded view of the situation before taking such an unprecedented decision.  He rightly identifies that maintenance of secrecy would not have been affected if the PM had consulted top experts and opposition leaders after swearing them to secrecy.     

Dr Manmohan Singh (former RBI governor and former PM) made a fiery intervention in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on demonetisation when the current PM was in the house and listening.  It was an extraordinary 7 minutes in my view and I openly expressed my joy (on facebook) of hearing him speak after so long.  He made some excellent points in his incisive statement, which he later elaborated in an opinion written for the English daily The Hindu. The quote I have reproduced in the graphic is an excerpt from his article. I was deeply touched when Dr Singh recollected his years of standing in long queues for rationed food during the war years (mid 1940s). Many of us, especially the current young voters (born after the 1991 liberalisation), don’t realise what our country has been through to reach a state it is in today.  They know UPA II, they vaguely remember UPA I and probably just know the name of Mr AB Vajapayee (NDA I). They may not know their own state’s political history. We have taken three steps forward and two steps back all the way but we have made some progress.  Long queues have always been the norm in India, and strangely enough there were also long queues to buy some useless mobile SIM card recently in India! Was Mr Arun Jaitley just reflecting on this fact?  I am not so sure.

Dr Singh along with Prof Amartya Sen (Economist and Teacher) have made a philosophical assessment of a decision of such magnitude and repercussions. Prof Sen is well known for his anti-capitalist views. Those who don’t know that he has stood for social equality and dignity (consistently over many decades) are quick to rubbish him saying that he is anti-right. His point about “economy of trust” is fundamental to any civilization and key to this discussion. Demonetisation has made many wary of the banks for sure. While many bank employees are working doubly hard to ensure that new currency notes reach the last man in the queue, there are some rats who are further damaging the central and state banks’ legitimacy.  Before you dismiss Prof Sen’s view, please imagine what ‘economy of trust’ means and why we have not progressed towards “politics of trust” even after 69 years of independence (see postscript). This also hits at the core of Mr Chidambaram’s criticism of the government, which lacked trust in the opposition (the feeling was perhaps mutual). 

Ever since he has taken oath (May 2014), Mr Narendra Modi has been stressing at every opportunity that his government is for the poor. Even after taking this latest decision, the PM has invoked “justice for the poor and benefits for the poor” in his rallies and speeches in Uttar Pradesh citing demonetisation as the panacea for corruption related diseases. In his latest radio soliloquy, he again asked his 1.25 billion countrymen to help the poor, the elderly, and disadvantaged to get online and be part of a digital economy. Many in my parents’ generation and certainly a large majority of my grand parents’ generation have never used a bank card in their life and they should not be forced to do so at this stage. What the PM must realise is the society adapts slowly to most technological innovations. As my grandmother in her mid-80s used to tell me, “don’t try to change me now.  I am too old”.   

Going back to Dr Bhalla, it is useful to note that he is also known for his antipathy towards “doing politics in the name of the poor”. I share Dr Bhalla’s general view that India has suffered a lot over the decades because of povertarian politics. Yes. Economic policy in India must work towards alleviating the ills of poverty and hunger and all political parties have at least this in common. In India, the left and the right and the centrists, all political parties are socialists to different degrees and it is a necessity. But, claiming that every policy decision is made thinking of the poor is not only illogical but also disingenuous. The PM cannot say that demonetisation was undertaken to benefit the poor. At the same time, policies meant to support someone can have significant consequences for someone else. Let me make this clear to one and all.  Demonetisation had nothing to do with the poor in our country, yet the poor have taken the brunt of this, they have bravely embraced the PM’s decision partly because they have no choice. Again, Mr Narayana Murthy’s words are relevant. He regrets that sacrifices are coming from the most disadvantaged in our society. The poor have embraced the PM’s decision also because they share a bit of optimism that Dr Bhalla expresses.  They are hopeful that the PM will follow up this ‘high-risk’ but well-intended carpet bombing (to quote the Supreme court) with other less-risky things to curb systemic corruption. I remember the online survey done on mygov.in by the PM’s event team.  While most correspondents had given positive reviews on most parameters (even if we ignore the fact that the respondents were loyalists of a certain type), the one thing that received relatively poor ratings overall was the central government’s inaction on corruption. Was Mr Modi anxious to do something?  Mr Arun Jaitley sounded optimistic about the steps the government has taken. The genuineness of the intentions expressed by the Prime Minister (on Nov 8th) will be tested in the coming months and years.