I'm very new to this blogging world. But certainly not so to the world of debate, writing and argumentation. I have been doing this job of argumentation with a great deal of noise, chaos and some entertainment too, since the very first day in my life I was able to think. Blogging is my latest fancy.
Sambaran and maybe some other readers asked me if I can collect some of my posts on Greatbong's weblog and put them together in my own blogspace so that they can read them as a single article and discuss. The writing would not have been like this, had I decided beforehand to write it in my own blog.
My blogging experience is turning out to be deeply interactive as well as controversial, much contrary to my expectation. I've been banned from a popular blog for expressing my views and ideas which the owner might have found heretical. I will record the details of this experience, which is not so pleasant, in my next post. So don't go. And please advice me about blogging ethics, possible technical improvements and interesting subjects of future posts. Will the people like to know about the "noshto meyer noshto godyo"? Let's see where it leads me to.
Due to fewer national and international icons from West Bengal, it is dangerous to criticize the minuscule such as Tagore, Ray, Subhash and of course Sourabh Ganguly in presence Bengali audience who tend to get very militant when faced with criticism, clearly showing the cultural and intellectual insecurity. If one says, Tagore’s knowledge of English was too poor to even be considered amateurish — which is quite normal for a non-english writer — and that without the active help in translation and campaign by Yeats as well as his and his family’s massive mollycoddling of the British (the fact is very manipulatively hidden away from the public), Nobel was completely unachievable, the Bengalis will feel insecure. Tagore with a through-and-through bourgeois upbringing was completely unable to understand the true heartbeat of the common mass who were poor even though they constitute the vast majority of the society, despite his formidable efforts to imagine their lifestyles. Tagore used his clout all-out to campaign for the Nobel prize, yet on getting that he wrote — quite hypocritically — “ei manihaar amar nahi saaje” to put up a charitable image about himself. He could well have rejected the prize like Sartre did on the basis that an artist could not accept a prize in fear that his mind would be biased. Tagore’s sycophancy of the British was well known among his contemporaries and he was on the verge of being socially boycotted by the community should he not surrendered his knighthood. There are more. There are many. There are no country other than India, Bangladesh and Nepal where Tagore’s writing is taught in school nowadays. Mysticism is never a timeless science and philosophy of the humans, far from it. It is just a fashionable art which loses its relevance after a short while. The departure of Tagore from the West as well as in other countries is slow, gradual and certain as they are irrelevant in the present context. If a poet wins a Nobel for mysticism, cocaine should be prescribed by the doctors for ADD. On the other hand, Bubhutibhshan, Tarashankar were closer to the people about whom they wrote.
And again Ray. For example, when I see Agantuk and Shakhaproshakha I cannot figure out how a person could become so ignorant, irresponsible and misleading as to profess the ideologies of those movies. Take Agantuk for instance: Should we go to a quack instead of a modern medical practitioner when we are ill? He argues like the way Deepak Chopra argues these days. Dangerous. I heard that Tagore (Ray as well) was a great admirer of ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines. Now we all know that homeopathy is the most cruel form of quackery and deception. It was well recorded that Tagore was himself a homeopath.
Sorry I forgot to mention another “great” Bengali evangelist Vivekananda who has been widespread portrayed by the hindutva media as scientific minded saint who could say no wrong, who could do no bad, who was with a very clear mind etc. etc. Now how trustworthy one can be if he endorses the greatest fraud Ramakrishna Paramahansa Dev as having had seen the GOD literally (not just spiritually). Seeing GOD literally. Even in the age Darwinian evolution, genetics and quantum physics. Huh!!! Now just don’t request me to believe Prahlad Jani’s story that has have lived 78 years without water and food, just because he was endorsed by qualified doctor from AIIMS and the news was published on CNN, BBC, Fox not to mention all Indian news papers.
Read Gora by Tagore and compare it with the novel “Felix Holt The Radical”, “The Vicar of Wakefield” by Oliver Goldsmith and “Fathers and Sons” by Ivan Turgernev. The plots are too similar to be deemed accidental. Tagore has shamelessly stolen ideas, plots, characters from less known foreign stories to build on many of his short stories without acknowledgments (some of them are nishithey, shamapti etc.). He was well known for plagiarizing several musical pieces from the West and other places too and pass them off as his own; all these things led Edward Shanks to make his famous comment, “Sir Rabindranath Tagore is not a poet who brings news from the East, but one who returns to us what we have already lent.”
There are many more too … Go search..
Well, I’m no Tagore scholar to feel professionally obliged to assemble all such stuff and bring it to the public for re-assessment of Tagore (and Ray too). This is not my job. But I can give you some clues for your disillusionment. The Indian/Bengali media always try to keep you in obscurity. I call it militant obscurantism. Try to break out of the shell and see the real truth, a practice for what the Bengalis are not very famous. You may also choose to ignore such scholarly scrutiny and pat each other’s back in false glorification of them. But that really does not help.
I see a book, called “The Argumentative Indian”, mentioned as a reference at the bottom of this article. The book contains many false, some exaggerated, some unsubstantiated facts in a very articulate way to increase the sales in the big Indian market. So just be careful before you are brainwashed by Sen’s finesse of words.
Every trade has its trick. Sales of a book or the prize won by a piece of artwork says virtually nothing about the merit of a book or the quality of the artwork. For example, Bible is always the rank one best selling book of all time, however, we know Bible contains loads of preposterous ideas and very little artistic elements. To exalt Tagore and Ray to a divine status just because they have own prizes is not only unfair, it is like turning yourselves fools by playing into their hands. But surprisingly this always happens in Bengal. For example, hardly any one remembers K.S. Krishnan who contributed the major, if not all, part of Raman effect but became a victim of anger and jealousy of his more well-known boss CV Raman who won the Nobel alone when Krishnan was pushed into forgotten past. Raman knew the trick to win the Nobel.
The trick of winning prizes for cinematic excellence has a formula too. Show to the West the stuff of the East that the West like to see in graphic detail, lobby hard, curry favor with those who matter and you are several miles ahead of others at grabbing the prize. It is true always and everywhere. It is true with Danny Boyle (Indian ugliness in SM), it is true with Buddhadeb Dashgupta (Missionary killing as in Uttara), and it is true with Tagore (completely nonsensical ideas like mysticism which is no better than narcotics in arts: amaro porano jaha chai tumi tai tumi tai go) and Ray (Indian poverty displayed in Pather panchali) too.
Tagore, who and whose family were at the center of Bengal renaissance, married an under age girl and also sent her to labor room too often to be expected from a truly progressive man who advocated, wrote on and supported women liberation, women equality and many other women issues under his public persona. Mrinalini Devi’s early death was partly attributed to her worsening health due to many pregnancies. The same is true about his philosopher father Debendranath Tagore too. There are many other facts also that happened in the “great” Tagore family which are more feudal in nature than modern unlike their public image. The Tagores had the influences, powers to manipulate things in their favor. And they did it with great success.
Ray lived in a glass-covered self-made romantic world with no relationship with reality, not even with social and natural sciences. Early successes had probably gone into his head on basis of which he probably thought he could actually make expert comments on anything from astrophysics to molecular biology to archeology to market economy and finally go home with claps if the presentation was made a bit pseudo-intellectual. Remember the question that was asked in Agantuk: “Why do the sizes of the Sun and the Moon look identical?” It is asked in a manner as if it is the greatest mystery of the universe and nobody never experimented with it. It may win claps and in fact it did in the theaters. It sells if you know how to make people clap, that’s all. Did he ever live with pre-historic tribes in Africa or India or whatever in order for him to make a comparison between tribal societies and modern civilized world. Does he know how humans, starting out from Africa, have gradually colonized the whole world against all odds to finally come to where we stand today. I can go on and on..
Dear Mr. Anirban,
You are not alone with this misconception. The question Ray put as something “magic” only betrays his ignorance on this fascinating subject of astrophysics and will make anyone with a little bit more knowledge than grade 9 break into laughter. If I toss a coin and you call “heads”, it is no magic if it is “heads” indeed. If I toss an unbiased coin arbitrarily many times and if it is always “heads” then it is indeed magic. Ray probably does not know Earth rotates around the Sun in an elliptic trajectory (rather than circular) so its distance from the Sun changes a big deal around the year, when the Sun itself moves in the Universe, as well as Moon revolving around the earth. If you take measurements for a long period of all the distances you will see the apparent sizes of the Moon and the Sun are the same only for very tiny period of time which is quite normal. Most of the time it is not the case; in simple words, they do not “look” equal in size. A glaring example of such fact is “Annular Eclipse”. There are plenty of other simpler phenomena to show this. I’m no physicist so I bothered to write so long. I find it real silly when people with rounded eyes say, “OMG, Ray is so knowledgeable in so many different”, while what he is supplying is his intuitive pseudo-science based on little knowledge.
Regarding his knowledge of tribes and their culture around the world, I could only say he needed to occupy himself with real study of anthropology, paleontology, archeology, biology and of course genetics before he could feel confident to comment. One more example from Agantuk again, “There is a doctor in one tribe who knew the benefits of 500 medicinal plants.” This statement probably shows his endorsements of ayurvedic treatments. I’m not going into how unscientific and therefore, risky ayurvedic treatments are in reality which bases itself on astrology and which sometimes diagnoses diseases from looking at the color of tongue and nails. And the medicinal plants that are prescribed as medicines in tribes culture or ayurved sometime turn out to be more toxic than beneficial. There is no standardization of doses therefore can be very fatal if taken on the basis of anecdotal evidence. A proper medical procedure through double-blinded clinical trials will be able to ascertain the qualities of a medicinal plant; that is what we in fact do. All in all, it’s a shame Ray made films like Agantuk. Ther are more pseudo-intellectualism throughout his career in films and books on Feluda etc. Trust me they sell well when truth is a little bit twisted to make people happy. Human minds are very much prone to believing myths and susceptible to hallucination (neurologically people want dopamine activation to feel happy).
Advaita Vedanta are mostly trash except for a few general good suggestions like meditation etc. They don’t stand up to rigorous scientific scrutiny. Bill Clinton, British Royal family, Tagore, David Beckham, Amitabj Bachxchan, Lata MAngeshkar are some famous people among 500 million in the world who believe homeopathy is a scientific therapy. They believe it for as long 200 years. This fact does not make homeopathic medicine any better than a drop of water (analyze it with Avogadro hypothesis). So never bother to gather people to establish such things. Science is no democracy. Although I doubt Einstein believed in God. His God is metaphorical. When he says “God does not play dice” He means that he did not believe quantum mechanical probabilistic behavior of subatomic particles. A mere interest in Advaita Vedanta does not make me a believer in that.
That’s true, Mr. Greatbong. Irrelevant. Yes seriously. My comments are irrelevant to your blog.
asole sob kichhui irrelevant. meaningless. transient. the life, the living, the feelings.. but not the Universe, it stays forever in its birth and death and rebirth. The more you read science to understand the universe, the life, the more you feel helpless, insecure. I always love to believe that there is a God who watches us from above and that we are answerable to her (my god is a female, how about that) in life and after death for our good and bad conduct. But there is just no God, no “bhagya bidhata” as Tagore said. We all are composed of just materials like hydrogen, helium and all the elements in the periodic table and their compounds. Our feelings are nothing more than chemical reactions in laboratories which burn out forever when we die, leaving no traces of us in the universe. When Ray feels surprised about the sizes about the stellar bodies, I feel more surprised about the fact that our consciousness is nothing but a chemical reaction. Darwin has suspected long back. Every passing day we get testimonials that he is just too right. Now as we make life in laboratory from scratch using bottles of chemicals, we humans probably take the roles of God. …
oboseshe ekta blog khulei fellam …
kotokhani likhte parbo jani na…. tobe ekta kotha bolte pari … 65 million years aage ekta asteroid eshe jemon dinosaur der dhonsho kkore diyechhilo …. serokom aaro ekta asteroid ele amader sobar saathe ei blog tao je dhonsho hobe taate amar bindumatro sondeho nei….
advaita vedanta niye amaro kichhu knowledge aache … however I don’t think theology (not to be confused with philosophy) is at all a subject which can provide answer to any question that other branches of science and philosophy cannot. So the subject is moot to say euphemistically. tao alochona korar ichche roilo …. keu chaile oi link e likhte paren ..jaa khusi… sudhu personal attack, abuse na holei bhalo … after all we are “the argumentative indian”s…
thank you very much.