Thursday, September 29, 2016

Letting go 2: what happens when you come back

Kaleidoscope went back to the wonderland for one more time, within a little more than two months' time after his departure. During the journey he enjoyed the beautiful landscapes from the 'nonstop bus.' As the time progressed he became increasingly excited about his return to the place, more so about his return to the river he loves the most.

The journey:

When the daylight was gone, he became on his own with a mix of loneliness- as he rarely travelled the distance alone, excitement - to meet the river, the wonderland, and anxious- because of his scepticism about the interaction with place where he is no longer a regular visitor. Would the place question him because kaleidoscope has made so many promises? Would it dance to celebrate kaleidoscope's return? Would it stop talking to him, because of the broken promises? Would it tremble if kaleidoscope touches it one more time? With the twilight he started to write a blog, easiest way to take refuge from storms inside that he has to handle every now and then.

The arrival:

When the bus crossed the 'gateway', Kaleidoscope could not hold his excitement anymore. He tried to look out in darkness, tried to make sense of the place which is engulfed in darkness. He failed to do so until he reached the crossroad near his workplace. The crossroad, the port lights, the rivery smell, the wind remained the same. They did not welcome kaleidoscope in any overwhelming way, but kaleidoscope could feel the connection began to build once again from within. They were not excited with the return, neither they remained indifferent, they rather looked at Kaleidoscope, as if questioning 'while you expect us to be the same, are you the same person when you revisit here again?'

The interaction:

Kaleidoscope had a wonderful reunion with his friends, celebrated the life, and continuation.
The place, surroundings interacted differently at different times. Sometimes, kaleidoscope felt at home, sometimes he cried out silently, because this visit, and every next one would be momentary. He cannot roam around aimlessly on the streets, talk over hours, wait with his camera forever to capture the right moments. This very momentary nature of his visit made all the difference. He attempted to see the not so conspicuous road side outgrowths, the birds, trees, reflections of the sky over marshy land and numerous tiny little things which lives happily and only comes alive in 'macro lens.' Kaleidoscope's inside shouted out 'miss you all, there is nothing like you here so big and yet so small.'

The river:

The river remains as lovely as the sunset moments, as warm as a lover's soft hands. Perhaps more inviting than a blooming flower. Kaleidoscope wept for a while along with the river. They told each other 'stay well/ bhalo thakis'- that's Bangla way of saying 'please don't leave, stay!' and then with darkness two lovers depart with longing selves living for another reunion.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Letting go: What happens when you leave?

Kaleidoscope has just finished his wonderful days at the wonderland. When he was shocked by the fact that he has to leave the place he fell in love with, has to stop seeing the river he can't live without, he was numb. He knew that best days of his life was about to get over. Its not that he never thought about this day. He knew he would be shattered when these days would be over. He had in his distant thought about the things that would have happened when he leaves the place he is so attached to. When the moment arrived he fell short of words to describe exactly what was going on inside his self.

The abrupt departure:

The nature of attachment Kaleidoscope had would made any departure abrupt to him.  He made it sure that he leaves without tears, he made it sure that he leaves with a positive mind. On his way back he talked to the river and to himself, said its not the end. Its a beginning with a new journey at a new place. He also expected a new journey with his friends at the wonderland. He expected new beginnings at the new place.

A divided and restless soul:

Its now about two months. One part of his soul still lives at wonderland and perhaps will never leave the place ever. Perhaps there is another part of his self,  an imposed division, which he had to make because of the sudden change of place. Now when he roams around the city where he grew up and has so many memories, he finds himself as a complete stranger in the middle of a crowded place, all alone, attempting to find a refuge, attempting to develop a language to converse with.

Everydayness and the loneliness:

He is transferred to a new part of his city, rather an extended part, specifically designed to house the Information Technology hub. Everyday he travels in a crowded bus to reach his work place. He cannot estimate the time needed because he almost forgot to calculate time and distance, keeping in mind the traffic conditions. He usually lets go most of the over crowded buses and stands alone in a fleeting bus stand to see people come and go. He sweats, looks around the busy people talking over phone, or arguing with the bus conductors and fellow passengers. Often nothing registers in his mind. He looks out, tries to transcend his contextual change and imagine the highway rides, sunsets over the river, kisses and smells of the waves that made him survive so many hurdles of his everyday life.
When stuck at traffic jam Kaleidoscope never gets irritated, he is usually in a process of churning the memories, because memories are all he has.

The return:

Kaleidoscope could perhaps never return to the wonderland, to the river, to the lover like he used to rush everyday, every moment. He could, perhaps never be the one with the wave. Perhaps he would never cry out thousand rivers. He would never be the same again.
However, kaleidoscope returns everyday, every night in his dreams, sometimes in a surreal way to his river. His soul claims the river, the sunset and the wonderful highway.
Would it ever be the same again? Would the river give him another chance, another time to cry, tell a story. The story of growing up misplaced. Would his highway set him free like it used to be?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Naturalized injustice: intolerance of difference and polarisation

It appears that Kaleidoscope's endeavour to thematically organise the recent resurgence of religious intolerance had an impact (click here). A few people, or may be many, have taken Kaleidoscope's everyday experiences seriously. They have decided to keep an eye on Kaleidoscope's future posts, they may take some adverse step if he continues to post what in their understanding is anti-Hindu. Such an event along with a couple of comments from one of his favourite colleagues from his new workplace has made this post possible. His colleague mentions that the Hindu Muslim polarisation is less prominent in his native place, it is nevertheless increasing with each passing day. However, eventually within a short spell he recalls that this not so, rather the polarisation and mutual hatread is quite prominent now a day in his native place. While those of the intolerant people and my colleague occupy two completely different positions but are victims of the same primordial feature of human mind variously known as 'natural attitude' by Husserl, 'taken for grantedness' by Schutz, 'reification' and 'false consciousness' by Marxists, Gramscian and even the Bourdieuians (if there is any such thing at all)

Kaleidoscope wishes to call this primordial bias as 'naturalisation of injustice.'


Following agriculture revolution, our beloved civilisation needed humans to organise themselves in mass cooperation networks - something that ants, bees have in their instinct but we lack. To handle this baggage we have developed imagined orders that is naturalised. People needed to be divided which is neither natural nor fair.

Here are few examples:-

1. Naturalised hierarchy between slave and masters.
2. Hierarchy based on racial theory, where rights  of men had little to do with Negroes.
3. Hierarchy and gendered division of labour, rights and opportunities.
4. Todays' hierarchies between rich and poor is equally and falsely taken as naturally pre-given, at almost an ontological level.

If you discuss with white supremacists you will enjoy a psudoscientific lecture concerning the biological differences between races. You will be informed that there is something superior about Caucasian blood!

Ask a die hard capitalist about the hierarchy of wealth, you are likely to be explained that this is an obvious and objective outcome of differences in ability. The rich have more money because they are more capable and diligent. No one should be bothered if a wealthy gets better health care, better education and better nutrition simply because they are born in a rich family.

Caste hierarchy coming from some mythological origin of Purusa is no exception.

All these hierarchies are essentially an outcome of human imagination. Just as for today a Hindu cannot accept that there once existed ritual widow burning the famous satidaha pratha, similarly today's westerners would be shocked to accept that once there were laws to prohibit blacks to stay in white neighbourhoods.

Similarly, kaleidoscope cannot accept the fact that he is living in this polarised society where there are different layers of hypocrisy in religion based discrimination - to accept this fact he has to perform some sort of coding of his own experience.

Kaleidoscope's favourite colleague takes time to recall the difference between his idea about his society in his native place and contemporary reality.

Kaleidoscope's groups of anonymous friends similarly cannot accept their imagined disgust to be analysed and presented in a manner that they feel threatened.

All these are products of our fertile mind which has once accepted the creation of imagined order (mythological orders in caste system about some 3000 years ago, psudoscientific racism and the like). What happens afterwards is interesting. Eventually, human beings tend to take these orders for granted and never questions.

People imagining their society as a just society, religious intolerance as acceptable, killing in the name of protecting one's country, accepting rich and poor gap as natural are all victims of the process of naturalisation of injustice.
Take it easy my friends; we are all product of a long 'civilisational legacy' like a long long blood vessel.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Resurgence of religious sentiments

Resurgence of religious sentiments in recent time is formidable. Kaleidoscope experiences the recent transformation in his every day discourses across different sections of his society. He wishes to make a few thematic foundations based on his earlier readings in phenomenology and qualitative research.
Depending on the context and extent of acquaintance he wishes divide these discourses into these broad divisions.
A. Formal sphere with close friends
B. Informal sphere with close friends often after a few shots of alcohol
C. Spheres with acquaintances
D. With complete strangers in public places

A. Formal sphere with close friends

i. Increasing terrorism and Islam association: often referring to the 9/11 incident and numerous other cases.
ii. Lack of religious reform among the Muslims
iii. Issues of internal threat and its association with the Muslim population.
iv. Politics with Muslim voters: mostly referring to congress at the centre and trinamool congress at state thereby justifying BJP - RSS alliance and polarised politics. Therefore, all other issues of bad governance, international relations, fatwa on cultural expressions are legitimised.
CORE FINDING: policy, politics, religious orthodoxy admixture in arguments is noted.

B. Informal sphere with close friends often after a few shots of alcohol

Here often a complete transformation in arguments is noted. It usually begins with much like the formal sphere discussions, eventually the nature of discourse becomes more personal filled with hatred on the Muslims.
i. Personal attack: from traitor to religious enemy are the labellings attached once kaleidoscope tries to place the arguments against the discrimination based on religion.
ii. Good and bad Muslim: usually these people had or has Muslim friends who are 'strangely' good and therefore are exceptions, all the others on the other hand are exceptionally bad in nature.
iii. Partition and riot: are all caused by Muslims and not by Hindus.
iv. Lack of birth control and minority majority issue: there is a fear psychosis growing. They believe that because of allegedly lack of birth control measures among the Muslims soon they will overtake the number of Hindus. Even when presented with statistics from census the argument remains the same - a strong sense of denial prevails.
v. Filthy and unclean living: muslim food habit, dress code and their smell is bad. Completely disgusting. (But of course this discussion over glasses of whisky and kebab continues).
CORE FINDING: us/them division, cultural disgust, fear psychosis.

C. Spheres with acquaintances :

i. Educational issues: since Kaleidoscope is associated with educational industry, he often encounters with views which states the needs to remove Madrasa institutions completely. Some would say it is not the question of Madrasa education system or syllabus but it is more about the way they teach and inject communal hatread among their students. Although the people do not present any concrete evidence not even from their personal experience.
ii. Muslim country and no country for Hindus: there are countries for Muslims but India as a superpower needs to be a Hindu country! To protect their race.
iii. Food habit and cultural sentiments: the difference of food habit and the the like is so prominent that there is no way these two can co-habit peacefully!
CORE FINDINGS: Policy, space and cultural incompatibilities.

D. With complete strangers in public places

i. Sheer number of their children (meaning large family size).
ii. Uncontrolled behaviour and public display of beard face, hijab is disgusting.
iii. There are so many things for them (alia university, minority empowerment centres, OBC status reservation and the like) and nothing for HINDus.
iv. How can they be allowed to have special muslim law?
v. Why should they be allowed to keep more than one wives?
vi. They are uneducated and uncontrolled.
vii. All of them support Pakistan.
Cultural difference and intolerance, anti-national sentiments.

Nature of the problem:

Kaleidoscope thinks and thinks for quite some time now, that there has been a recent resurgence of religion based discrimination in the active thought pattern of the people with whom he interacts or listens to when they interact with each other. In his last few months of pseudo bachelorhood he has encountered an increase in frequency of such issues at the informal and intoxicated space. After a careful but quick review of the nature of discourses it is clear that while in formal discussions the underlying disgust which is primarily an outcome of the cultural incompatibility is masked with issues of partition, population problems, policy issues and the like, in informal sphere it is more personal and revealing that people are taking out their primordial hatread and religious sentiments.
Interestingly people with whom Kaleidoscope has a chance of interacting with formally and informally, all belong to educated often upwardly mobile middle class of West Bengal. Whose polished ways of presenting their underlying disgust is shattered with alcohol-in-action in private space. The nature of hatread and disgust is dreadfully same with the passing comments that kaleidoscope encounters in bazaar, public vehicles and other places where every other person is a perfect stranger.
It is quite early and immature to conclude anything based purely on random expressions being noted by a qualitative mind, but the essential nature of discourse that clearly indicates some sort of parallel of thought between the so called educated middle class mind and those of the not so educated mass minds at time of increasing polarisation is a matter of concern!