Wednesday, April 16, 2014

இருந்து பாடிய இரங்கற்ப்பா


கவிதை எழுதிய மகனை, தந்தை 
கட்டி வைத்து அடித்தார்
கழுதை, வராத கவிதையை 
அவர்தான் முதலில் வரவழைத்தார்!
காதல் பார்வை பார்த்தவள்
காலில் போட்டு மிதித்தாள்
தளர்ந்து போயிருந்த கவிதையை
அவள்தான் தூக்கிப் பிடித்தாள்!
காகிதத்தை எடுத்து முகத்தில்
கோபமாய் மேலதிகாரி அடித்தார்
தூக்கில் அன்றே தொங்கியிருப்பான்,
கவிதை மகள் அன்றோ தடுத்தாள் !
கவிதை செத்து விட்டதாய் - பலர்
கைகொட்டி ஒன்றாய் சிரித்தார்
செத்துபோன கவிதைக்கு
சிலர் இரங்கற்பாக்கள் வடித்தார்!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's good Navayana gave up English translation of D'Cruz's Aazhi Soozh Ulagu

Siddharth Varadarajan says that he is sure that 'D’Cruz’s blind embrace of the Modi cult will tell on his future writing' but one must not discount the worth of his past writing because of that. http://svaradarajan.com/category/bad-ideas/

 But considering that the past writing has been by somebody who would later 'embrace Modi blindly', could it be that it too is in some way flawed? Does not the past hold the seeds of the future?

So it is fitting that Navayana doesn't publish D'Cruz but somebody more equal to the task takes it up. I am sure it will get a better reception that way. There surely are many alternatives to the 'alternative' publishing house Navayana though the episode clearly shows how 'alternative' this concern is!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Actor and the Song

The row over Aamir Khan's out and in from the copyright panel set up to suggest changes to the 1914 act, had the actor making the point that it is actors who actually popularise a song, and some credit should be due to them too.

There seems to have been some bad vibes between him and the lyrical heavyweight Javed Akthar, which may have had something to do with his rubbing in the fact that more than writers or tunesmiths, its the actor's presence that holds up a song.


This has been a debate for long. In Tamil films, MGR made his songs ring with his political messages and also built up his persona through them.

Sivaji Ganesan too used songs in his own way as vehicles of his brand of melodramatic acting.

Music composers like M.S. Viswanathan and K. V. Mahadevan, lyric writers beginning with Kannadasan, and singers like T. M.Sounderarajan contributed tremendously in the making of the songs of MGR and Sivaji.

Though the above personalities were respected for their art, there was no doubt in anybody's mind about who came first.

It was the star.

Such was MGR's predominance that ultimately, he walked away with the party which he had been championing through song and celluloid, and entered Fort St George after dethroning his arch rival Karunanidhi.

Indians believe in the personality cult, and the highly visible actor takes everything.

All rivers flow into the ocean of the star and actor.

But till now, the stars did not ask for a share of the copyright pie from the music composer and lyricist.

I trust Aamir Khan and believe he is right in saying that the actor popularises the song. But the song also popularises the actor. There should be no egg first or hen first argument about this.

It would be ideal for the actor to expect his creative crew to give him their best, for which he would give them the copyright benefits.

If Aamir believes that he is contributing a great deal towards the making of the lyric and music, he can take part of the copyright benefits too.

Some creative personalities contribute so much towards all aspects of film making that it may be right for them to claim copyright in many spheres.

While I understand that the rights of all parties must be protected, I am very sad that these are times when we insist only on rights...not on duties and responsibilities.

What copyright did Thyagaraja who created hundreds of immortal melodies enjoy?

What copyright did the immortal sculptors of Mamallapuram enjoy?

None....but century after century the waves lisp their secret names to anybody who has the silence to hear.

While all the one side we should protect the rights of people, we should also build a compassionate society that goes beyond the letter of the law and lives by the vision of a great art and a greater life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Come clean – Tell the Truth



Kanimozhi will face it and come out clean, says the DMK spokesman Elangovan on the charges against Kanimozhi in the 2G scam.

Kanimozhi too, her body language and speaking style giving away her extraordinary discomfiture at being in the chock centre of the mother of all scams, has been saying, ‘I will come out clean’

Let us take what ‘come out clean’ means according to English idiom.

Oxford online dictionary on ‘come clean’

come clean

informal be completely honest; keep nothing hidden:the Chancellor must come clean about his plans for increasing taxation


Meaning of come clean as given in http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/come-clean.html

To make a full disclosure; to confess.

Origin

'Come clean' originated in the USA in either the late 19th or early 20th century. The earliest example that I have found of it in print is from the Moberly Evening Democrat, August 1904:
"Now, then Chillicothe papers - Constitution, Democrat, Tribune - come clean. Tell the truth."
The unnamed journalist who wrote that must have liked the phrase, as it appears several times in the same paper from around that time and before I can find it elsewhere. It's possible that the phrase was coined in Moberly, but that's just conjecture.
This being the meaning of coming clean, one truly hopes that chief minister M.Karunanidhi’s only daughter will confess to her role in the astronomical 2G scam.






Why I am a Hindu


  
Despite not being a devotee of many a mutt head and despite making only rare visits to temples -- though I have shot a documentary or two on temples -- I am a Hindu, and a proud one at that.

Let me try to enumerate my reasons for being one.

  1. Hinduism has no Satan. So I need not look upon life as a perpetual fight against darkness. I need not have the feeling of being shadowed by an Arch Villain.

  1. . Hinduism is not about believing, but experiencing. Hinduism doesn’t say that you must believe all that it says You can joyfully disbelieve many Hindu ideas without inviting curses from God, of all persons.

  1. Hinduism doesn’t have eternal damnation. So you do not need to squirm at eternal retribution being awarded to some actions. Even human courts are prepared to look kindly upon a reformed criminal. Would God be otherwise?

  1. Hinduism doesn’t go about telling other people that they are worshipping false gods. Thankfully, Hinduism is free from the worse-than-AIDS virus of conversion. It believes in a million ways to God…but none that is dyed in hatred and narrow-mindedness.

  1. HINDUISM IS FREE FROM THE TYRANNY OF ONE SACRED BOOK. In Hinduism, Revelation does not Rail at me. Despite looking upon its Vedas as scriptural proof of God, there are enough traditions in Hinduism which give more weight to individual experience – anubhooti. The words of the Veda return without reaching Him, says the Veda itself. I appreciate this humility a great deal. I cannot stand scriptural inerrancy.

  1. Hinduism adapts itself to the times. Once Hindus were used to child marriage ; now they have almost given it up entirely. I need my religion not to be oppressively unchangeable.

  1. Unlike the Semitic religions, Hinduism believes that Man can become truly liberated in a spiritual sense. The word for such a man in Hinduism is, ‘Jivan Muktha’. Jainism has the jina and the siddha, the liberated soul, and Buddhism has the bodhisatwa (bound for nirvana).

  1. Hinduism has had hundreds of Mahatmas who have lived the highest ideal. They are living proof of the divine life on earth.

  1. While being culturally bound to the Hindu, Hinduism does not seek to be theocratic and take the law into its hands. Hinduism has no shariah.

  1. THERE IS NO ‘JUDGEMENT DAY’ IN HINDUISM. The law of karma says you are the maker of your Destiny. You are your own judgement day, every second of your life.

  1. HINDUISM LOOKS TO GOD IN THE HEART (you need not look to prophets, books and divine intimations amidst thunder and lightning).


  1. IN HINDUISM, God and divine beings are INTIMATE BEINGS CLOSE TO US. Unlike the Semite, Hindus don’t shudder at the sight of an ‘angel’ or of God.

  1. CASTE WAS INDEED A FACT OF HINDU SOCIAL LIFE, BUT HINDUS ARE LEARNING THAT IT’S NOT HINDUISM PER SE.

  1. HINDU MAJORITY INDIA HAS OUTLAWED UNTOUCHABILITY. THE TRUE SPIRITUALITY THAT HINDUISM FOSTERS, SHOULD MAKE MEN HOLD CHARACTER, NOT CASTE OR ITS ABSENCE, AS OF PRIME IMPORTANCE

  1. Hinduism has a spectrum of practices – yoga, tantra, mantra, yantra --- to make for a higher consciousness in man.






Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Mother's first visit to Pondicherry

March 29, 1914. Sri Aurobindo waited for his European guest in the afternoon at ‘The Guest House’, a large one storey house on Rue Francois Martin in Pondicherry that formed the centre of his spiritual retreat.

Mirra Alfassa, along with her husband Paul Antoine Richard, a French citizen who was seeking election to the French Senate from Pondicherry, was lodged at ‘Hotel de Europe’.

As she made her way up the staircase, Sri Aurobindo emerged from the room and quietly stood at the top of the stairs.

Mirra was immediately able to see that this was the dark Asiatic figure that she had called Krishna in her visions.

Of Jewish extraction, Mirra Alfassa was born in Paris and began to have ‘spiritual’ experiences even as a child. At 12, she was practicing occultism and claimed to be travelling out of her body.

She married at the age of  19 and had a male child. She divorced and married again at 32, and made her journey to Pondicherry with her husband tracing their way through Geneva, Japan, Colombo, Dhanushkodi and Villuppuram (To raise money for the trip, one-fourth of Mirra’s small fortune had to be sold).


At the sight of Sri Aurobindo, she aspired for a total cessation of all mental moulds. She did not speak a word, nor did he; she just sat at his feet and closed her eyes, keeping her mind open to him. After a while there came, from above, an intimate silence and settled in her mind.


The next day, Mirra wrote in her diary : ‘‘It matters not if there are hundreds of beings plunged in the densest ignorance. He whom we saw yesterday is on earth: His presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, when Thy reign shall be indeed established upon earth’’.


The irony, however, was that World War I would keep Mirra away from Pondicherry for another four years. After Sri Aurobindo withdrew for deeper yogic sadhana on November 24, 1926, the Ashram would be started! Mirra would be The Mother….and what a home she made for spiritual aspirants….what directions she showed…what unique dimensions she unveiled!!

 As Sri Aurobindo described Savitri in his spiritual odyssey, ‘‘Her spirit opened to the Spirit in all, Her nature felt all Nature as its own, Apart living within, all lives she bore, Aloof she carried in herself the world…..’’

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stray thoughts on TMS's birth anniversary


The year before last, on March 24, I had visited TMS in his flat. He had been in bed resting even at 10 in the morning though it was his birthday, but came out slowly after seeing me. He warmed up quickly enough, and even essayed some high pitched aalaap! What was he if not a singer and entertainer!

 It was about 2 in the afternoon that I left, asking him to take lunch in time. As we sat near the dining table before that, I could see his hands shaking, the effect of the disease that had dogged him for some years, but not this visibly.

I expressed my concern and slowly massaged his hands. There was a tacit understanding of mutual affection and respect between us, but neither I nor he had shown affection outwardly. As my expression of tender affection for him, TMS look appreciatively at me…So you have this much feeling for me…thank you, he seemed to be saying.

TMS and his wife Sumitra stood in front of the little puja niche they had in the drawing room and gave me sacred ash and kumkum. I then recited parts of a song I had written on him and we had staged during the release of  his biography, ‘TMS – Oru Pan-paattu Charithiram’.


தென்மதுரை வீதியிலே நடந்த தென்றல் - அவன்

வைகையிலே முகம்பார்க்க வந்த திங்கள்

தேமதுர தமிழோசை முழங்கும் சங்கம் - அவன்

தேவார திருப்பாட்டின் அந்தரங்கம்

தேனமுதாய் தமிழுலகை வலம் வந்தான்

தேவதேவன் முருகனவன் பலம்தந்தான்


Then Madhurai Veedhiyile Nadandha Thendral – Avan

Vaigaiyile Mugam Paarkka Vandha Thingal

Themadhura Thamizhosai muzhangum sangam – Avan

Thevaara Thirupaattin Antharangam

Thenamudhaay Thamizh Ulagai Valamvandhaan

Devadevan Muruganavan Balam thandhaan….


…He has heard the song sung before, but when I spell it out to him clearly he gets the meaning.

‘Siththar Solraa Maadhiri Solreengayya..’

(You speak the words like a Siddhar). These are the last words he spoke to me.


I saw him a few days before his passing at his grandson’s marriage at the Hemamalini Kalyana Mandapam. He literally had to be helped to get on to the stage.  I went up to the stage and conveyed my pranams. He is utterly weak, but those eyes express their gratitude for being with him all along. After that it was only the body lying in the courtyard of his bungalow for all to pay their respects. The voice had been silenced, but the chorus of common singers on the street belting out his hits like ‘Ulagam Pirandhadhu Enakkaaga’ give testimony that the echoes will continue.