Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The deepest insight I have probably had is that the ego is an illusion. But without that illusion, there is no more reality. Space and time cease to exist. An illusory ego doesn't mean we are powerless. The only power we truly possess is control over that illusion. It is up to us to craft our ego the way see fit and use it to satisfy what we want most from life.
Therefore, I am my own leader. I care neither to lead nor follow.
If someone finds my way of life worth following, I will take that as an indicator that I'm doing something right.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Anusheh Anadil _ Bahok

Her album RAI is beautiful.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

பெரியார் வழி

The pill of Indian global politics is a hard one to swallow. On one side is our ethos-wide prevalent culture of peace, self reflection, and non-materialism; on the other, a need to sustain this culture for future generations ahead. We have already become so deeply ingrained in the Western way of life that our thoughts and lifestyles model it. The greatest success of imperialism was not one of just material gains; it was the assimilation of the East into Western thought. Our lifestyles and our culture reflect this.

So, what do we do now? Do we pursue the non-alignment principle set forth by Gandhi and Nehru? Or do we embrace the surge of nationalism and participate in capitalist society to find our way forward? It is a question I keep debating in my mind, with no clear answer. I see this question of national identity of relevance to present-day Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is embroiled in a power struggle, where the decades old Periyar-driven political thought is being challenged by influence from the pan-Indian BJP. It is time for Tamil youth to consider the direction ahead. Do we still follow the Periyar way which embodies separation of church from state? Do we continue to focus on social empowerment of the underpriviledged? Or do we get consumed by religious politics in the name of capitalism and wealth generation? Both have importance and merit, as they do negatives. I will argue for the Periyar way.

The primary importance of this form of governance is separation of religion from state affairs. Religions, even neo-Hinduism, are prone to misinterpretations and emotion-fueled state decisions. What constitutes this Hinduism is a topic for another debate, since it has increasingly come to reflect just the Bhagavad Gita. It should be obvious that religion-based lifestyle choices should only be at the level of the individual, while civil governments ought to be secular and indifferent to religion. Governments ought to be based on their ability to maintain law, and law is independent of religion. Therefore, a religion-afffiliated government is intrinsically biased. When governments have religious affiliation, their actions become an interpretation of that religion itself, which ironically harm that religion. We seem to often forget that the government is a representative of its people and its actions reflect on us. We have traditionally resisted the influence of religion in Tamil Nadu. Thus far, from the formation of the DK party to recent times, the focus has been on social welfare and development. It has not been perfect, but we cannot deny that caste and welfare of the under-privileged improved significantly under these regimes. Only under Jayalalithaa did the tone begin to shift, due to her subscription to the BJP agenda. To be fair, she exhibited social consciousness to a certain extent. Karunanidhi, for all his faults, is a patron of Tamil art and culture and has done much in its preservation and development. Further, the dominance of this form of political thought has not come at the expense of economic frailty. Far from that, Tamil Nadu is the now the most industrialized state in the country(1), and third in terms of GDP(2). These facts, in my opinion, outweigh other demerits of this political institution. A second factor that contributes to this opinion is the desire to sustain our old Tamil ways and thoughts. It is easy to forget one's heritage in the wave of materialism and nationalism. This aspect however comes from a place of emotion and should be seen as a reflection of that. I must also temper this opinion by saying that though I seek a non-BJP government in TN, I consider them the best choice currently as a national and international party.

The DMK and ADMK need to field strong candidates in the fight ahead. We need socially aware candidates that understand the Periyar way and show the necessary resilience and understanding of politics. We crave candidates that can set themselves aside and look around at their people. The debate should not be about whether Rajnikanth, a man with no social awareness or political acumen, will make a good leader. It needs to be about what is good for the state, and who is fit to get it done. It doesn't matter whether the candidate chooses to prioritize economic growth or social improvement as long as the goal remains the same. I think we can safely say that a man who runs to the Himalayas at the first sign of trouble is probably not a good choice for that!



Saturday, December 9, 2017

பித்தன் மடையன்
சித்தன் சடையன் 

அனைவரும் என்னுள்

என் விழிப்பு
என் சிரிப்பு
என் அறிவு
என் மடமை

நான் ஒருவன் அல்ல, என் முன்னோர்கள் அனைவரும் என் நினைவிலும் செயலிலும் உள்ளனர். இஃதே என் முற்றொருமை. இதன் மேலே, இந்த உலகில் கானும் நிகழ்ச்சிகளும் அனுபவங்களும் சேர்ந்து என் உலக காட்சியை உருவாக்குகின்றன. இவையே என் கருத்துகளாகின்றன. இவ்வாறு இயற்றப்பட்ட கருத்துகளுக்கு மாறான அநுபவங்களை சந்திக்கும் போது ஏற்படும் முரண்பாட்டை தீவிரமாக சிந்திக்க வேண்டும். 

இந்த அனுபவத்தின் கருத்தை ஏற்று கொள்வதா, தூக்கி வீசுவதா? இந்த கருத்து என்னையும் என்னை சார்ந்தவர்களையும் முன்னேற உதவுமா? என் தமிழ் சமூகத்தை முன்னேற உதவுமா? பல நூற்றாண்டுகளாக செதுக்கி அமைக்கப்பட்ட பண்புகளும் நாகரீகமும் இதனால் உயருமா, அழியுமா?

"பொய்யான சில பேர்க்குப் புது நாகரீகம் 
புரியாத பல பேர்க்கு இது நாகரீகம் 
முறையாக வாழ்வோர்க்கு எது நாகரீகம் 
முன்னோர்கள் சொன்னார்கள் அது நாகரீகம்"

வாலியின் வார்த்தைகள் இன்றும் உண்மையாக ஒலிக்கின்றன. 

ஒவ்வொரு கருத்தையும் தீவிரமாக விசாரி. எந்த சிந்தனைக்கும் அடிமையாகாதே. தமிழன் எதற்கும் அடிமையல்ல, சிந்தனைகள் உட்பட. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

She sings to me,
in her own way,
through brushstrokes, paneer,
and joy.

I dreamed deep today, and had a realization of how ridiculously simple, yet so elegantly complex, our universe could be. Everything is reducible to the known stable elements in our universe, the fundamental chemistry. Including us. We are an expression of the universe, its children. And through us, the universe experiences itself. Life, is the ultimate "meta."

But why this urge for complexity, universe?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cumberland Falls, Kentucky

Rainbow on a full-moon night at Cumberland Falls (April 25, 2013). Photos by Joao (long-exposure image at about 11 pm-1am). The moon was very bright and had to rise above the creek so it could refract off the mist from the falls.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012