Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I am not a Hindu’- a must read

I just completed reading “Why I am not a Hindu” by Kancha Illaiah. I chose the because of sheer curiosity as it has attracted lots of controversies. Desire to know the perspective of a Dalit-bahujan regarding the Hindu system also motivated me to read the book.

Now after reading the entire, I would recommend everyone to read this book at least once. This doesn’t mean that the book is a masterpiece on Dalit culture or Hinduism. In fact I doubt if it comes even closure to being a masterpiece! However, I must say the book presents few excellent insights into Hindu religion and lifestyle and Dalitbahujan’s lifestyle. But there are other reasons too for which this book should be read.

Primarily to know about the Dalit-bahujan’s lifestyle, to know about their Gods and Goddesses, their working style, of which very few of us have proper knowledge, the class and cultural differences between upper castes (whom Illiah has referred as the entire Hindu community) and lower castes.

Secondly to get a first hand perspective of a person from so called “Dalit community” about the Hindu religion and its tradition and culture and mainly on caste-system. I hope that’s not the view of entire community as there are many loopholes and apparently misunderstanding of Hindu as a religion or as a lifestyle.
Thirdly to know how not to generalize everything. A religion can not be accused of being unfair and based on the desire to rule others, just because some of it practices are unacceptable. The evil and unreasonable practices of a religion should be brought into light and criticized so that they can be eradicated but blaming the whole system of a lifestyle and religion is not justified.
The fourth reason for you all to read the book is to learn how not to let your personal anger and enmity governs you while writing a book on topics of social and cultural concerns!

There might be other reasons too for reading this book which you all can suggest me after reading the book.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Whats there in dress code???

Since our childhood, we are conditioned or I must say forced to wear particular kind of dresses on particular occasions and situations. Going to meet your grandparents, you must wear something 'decent'- preferably a kurta or a long top and it would be loved if its salwar- kammez(which goes without saying). Going for a family function, you are not expected to wear jeans and tees even though you are most comfortable in it. Coming to academic and professional life, college have their own dress code-you are supposed to wear only formal shirts and pants and salwar-kameez which offcoursecan't be sleeveless! As if the system will colapse if you attend classes in jeans.
What are these institutions preaching? Are they trying to avoid distractions or curbing personal freedom of an individual? Are these institutions still unaware of the vary basic fact that dressing won't affect an individual's performance. wearing jeans or tees at work or in classes doesn't mean that the person is incapable of doing the task s/he is assigned to do. It just shows our choice of dressing in which we are most comfortable.
Leave institutions, two months back a mall in Chennai prohibited people from entering the mall in lungi. A mall is a place to hang-out and shop, in a way a place to relax; what a person's dressing has to do with it?
Dressing is an expression of oneself, one's personality. It is a representation of the choices we make. So why curb one's freedom to present themselves in whichever they like to? Why govern even the way they dress?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Just another interesting journey…

While going to Guwahati this time, I decided to take three night long journey via train instead of four hours of flying. So, if I am travelling for so long with strangers, how can I even expect it to be simple and uneventful?
Hmm…this journey was uneventful, apart from one family of four coming with “13” bags…I repeat 13 briefcases with 2 additional hand bags and 2 laptop bags!! Don’t underestimate the size of hand bags…they were capable of giving competition to my only bag.

Life didn’t seem to be so good when they all sat on the births in front of me. The very look of their luggage gave me a mini heart attack!! By the time I came out of my shock, I saw they have already settled their luggage problem by using one of their seats for keeping their bags, giving the coach a look of store room! My God, why can’t people travel with basic stuff?? Why they have to carry their entire home wherever they go?
Placing all the bags was also a task in itself with their uncles and kulis trying all permutations and combinations to keep as many bags as possible on one seat. I seriously felt bad for the poor seat. If seat wasn’t a non-living thing, it would have died of over-burden for sure.

Enough luggage story…now lets move to the fifth passenger …His very look was upsetting me…his appearance- Yes he looked exactly like one of my lecturer!!(Name I can’t disclose). His extremely slow body movements with a permanent smile reminded me of “him” again and again. Though his selection of bright pink shirt with candy stripes wouldn’t have gone too well with my professor, apart from that, he was exactly like “him”. As if 6 months of classes and assignments were not enough that I was still being haunted by our dear lecturer…even during vacations!! I need a break!! Leave me alone at least for 15 days…I kept thinking about that while staring at my co-passenger without him having the slightest idea of what he is making me go through just by his looks!!!