Monday, July 05, 2010

Towards enlightened curiosity

Overview

Athaa to Dynaanjidnyasaa- Part 1
(Marathi)
Dr Y A RAIKAR

The quality of perception in this book coupled with the author’s non-conformist leanings makes it a refreshingly different work of analysis and interpretation. As Part One of a two-part series, the 160-odd pages throw light on India’s unique physical and cultural attributes and aspects. The forthcoming Part Two will revisit select personalities, concepts, problems and events.

Any research that crosses the boundaries of specific domains and fields is invariably held as a neat compilation at best. The penance of the endeavour is hardly acknowledged, forget its acclaim. For the benefit of all readers, the author has modestly elucidated the method behind the endevaour, which in infact spells its edge.

One, the book attempts to probe any issue in its three-dimensional context - Universal (as a challenge before humanity), Historical (with reference to specific timelines) and Global (tracing its diverse manifestations across the globe)

Two, at the core is a holistic approach that implies the study of Knowledge to be the study of the history of Knowledge - a painstaking research of the commonalities and overlaps of varied disciplines and the ensuing influences - both subtle and obvious.

Three, to ensure that the enormity of the whole endeavor does not prove overwhelming to the busy reader of our times, each chapter is a slice of life, allowing the luxury of reading led by interest, rather than by instruction.

Apart from unearthing forbidden paradoxes, myths and realities, the book offers a perceptive window to India’s unique lineage and linguistic diversity, the sub-continental transformations - natural and geographical - over time, the enigmatic ( if not dark) sides of great men, and a detached probe into the relevance and distinction of our forest treatises, epics, sacred texts and sanctified teachings -sans pride or prejudice. More importantly, the author is equally conscious of the subjectivity of his own interpretations and welcomes reader feeback to revisit what inadveratently could prove inadequate, incomplete or incorrect in hindsight.

Given the sincerity of the author’s intent and the brilliant poise of his writing, he is sure to inspire many readers to tread the path of heightened awareness ahead of enlightened awareness… one in acknowledging the constraints and continuity of personal knowledge and experience, and two in shunning “cushions of convenience” that shield the plurality of truths and contrasts - inherent as well as manufactured.

The author’s prologue, however, takes the form of angst when it comes to his conclusions on the new waves of change hitting cultural and intellectual shores. He believes the new age is pregnant with threatening consequences lest we fail to adapt to an era which mistakes information for knowledge.

We can never deny that cut-throat competition has fuelled shallow thinking, convenient morals, blatant plagiarism and ruthless minds; but it has also challenged man to revisit many self-defeating beliefs that have unknowingly stunted the growth of the most intellectual of minds for long. And this truth is also plural.

Today, employment in itself is no longer a substitute for progression, embracing global sensitivities is not a matter of choice anymore and the collaborative strides of the internet have made a big dent into the rigid structures of pompous thought leadership, inching the world slowly but surely towards a culture of open source development.

And when life was supposedly hunky dory, were thinking minds any better? Self-proclaimed experts thrived even then, albeit the number would have been less in comparision. Hypocrisy and double standards are truly secular and timeless - beyond age, time, region, religion, caste, creed and sex. Like the yester-year abundance of time and space alone was no stimulant for detached probe and introspection, the new order is no utopia either. And like a poker-faced introspection is no epitome of deep conviction, happiness and contentment do not reside in stupid smiles, hollow laughs or wishful thinking. And thankfully, they need no advertisment. But does that mean detachment should come devoid of emotion? We think not. The heretic need not build thorny islands of seclusion or pose as enfant terribles.

As a celebrity tweeter post recently quoted a shayar

duniya me hu duniya ka talabgaar nahi hu,bazaar se guzra hu,khareedar nahi hu....

More often than not, it's the guy who declares his detachment and seclusion from the rooftops who happens to be the most attached.

If sensitivity, ahead of sincerity, to one’s life purpose is not overlooked on the pretext of rapid change all around, the new paradigms should not seem like intimidating encroachments, rather they would turn into chosen objects of analysis - and with some good old dark humour and a self-deprecating stance as the weapons of probe, why should any one - scholar, thinker, follower or reader feel redundant...whichever the generation.

One immediate way to raise a toast is to embark on a delightful reading voyage of this book, back and forth in time, amidst all the mayhem around. The delight won’t be compromised one bit.


Athaa to Dynaanjidnyasaa - Part 1
(Marathi)
Dr Y A RAIKAR
Majestic Publishing House, Thane, Mumbai
First Edition, June 2010
Price: Rs.200/-

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