The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazelles. P.S.Remesh Chandran.

The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazelles.

P.S.Remesh Chandran. Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum.

PSRemeshChandraStarred Page By PSRemeshChandra, 17th Aug 2013  Short URL http://nut.bz/3dwnobim/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Music crosses borders of nations and oceans and reaches hearts of human beings in strange lands. God stands just behind those who sing, so close, that we will wonder who actually sings. Ghazals are Nature’s wonderful creations in which the purest of passions, emotions and feelings are stored up so that grief-stricken human soul in loneliness can seek solace in it at any time as if in the presence of God. It is His ardence, affection and benediction once in a lifetime that flows through ghazals

Ghazals originated in pre-Islamic Arabia, existed in this world for 1500 years and is dying in Europe.

Ghazals originated in pre-Islamic Arabia, developed in Medieval Africa, Spain, Persia, Turkistan, Afghanistan, Hindustan and Russia and ended in Europe. They existed in this world for more than 1500 years. Since the diluting of their form, meter and rhyme by modern day poets, they are no longer going to remain, making already created ones endearing. Great singers like present day Salman Alvi and Habib Wali Muhammad but continue to sing old ghazals and keep the interest in them alive.

Translating Persian poems into English was the earliest hobby of the British East India Company officers to escape from boredom.

We know about the poetic form quatrain as used in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in which a quartet of four independent lines when joined together one after another like flowers in a garland obtain a unique form and develop into exotic themes. It has an Arabic origin wherefrom it moved to Persian. In the courts of Persian Emperors, it gained importance and momentum and, as Persian rule expanded through the continent, it reached Afghanistan, Pakistan and India- then a common land under Persian rule. Every British officer posted to the English East India Company to serve in this region was required to learn Persian to converse well with the courtiers and the Emperors of this Empire. Not all of these officers were boorish illiterates. Many of them were real scholars who learned Persian well. To escape from the isolation, loneliness and boredom they felt in India, they took it as their hobby to translate famous Persian poems into English. First it was a hobby, then exhilaration and finally a career. Many British scholars who never reached India but remained inside native universities also continued undertaking this translation, once initiated into this flair by earlier translations. Thus these exotic quatrains, from Arabic through Persian, reached English literature. When translated into English, they reached the main stream of world literature and became singularly famous. ‘They began to fill the pages of English poetry books with the sweet sound of bulbuls and the scent of roses.’ Translations by some of these early British officers like such luminaries as Edward Fitzgerald and A. J. Arberry remain classics.

Whichever emotions could not be shared with a woman who is forbidden to be longed for was expressed in ghazals in more intimate terms.

Ghazals evolved the same way the quatrains were. Their origin was in Arabia and the word literally means ‘addressing a woman or speaking to a woman’. We know, seldom will a poet write poems addressing his wife, for their intimacy would have waned considerably through years. It was always ‘addressing a woman who is normally unreachable and forbidden to long for’ that necessitated and inspired the creation of ghazals. Whichever emotions could not be shared directly with that woman, were expressed in these quartets or couplets, in more intimate terms. From Arabia, this form was taken up from Turkey by the 10th century Persian literati and widely used in Persian courts where it became popular. In 12th century Hindustan, ghazals spread to Urdu language, following the installation of Islamic Sultanates and the advent of Sufi saints in India. In later years they were taken up for translation by English East India Company officers who learned both Urdu and Persian well. Sufi philosophy and mysticism also influenced and diverted the themes of ghazals. So, following the same path taken by quatrains, ghazals also reached world literature. Even before the origin of Islam, similar poetic forms had existed in Arabia, which the Persians had assimilated and developed as the Persian poetic form qasida, the real mother of all present day geets and ghazals.

Ghazals were named after that sweet loving-bird gazelle of Africa known for its love songs, crying for its beloved.

Urdu poetry or shayari has two forms which are geets and ghazals. In geet, the entire poem is independent, developing a central theme. Geet is also called as nazm, or rhymed verse. In ghazals, only the quartets or couplets are independent, complete in itself but unrelated to each other, which when combined together, develops a central theme. This poetry form is more spelt as ‘ghazal’ than as ghazelle’ which would have been more apt. We know the sweet loving-bird gazelle in Africa known for its love songs, crying for its beloved. The word ghazal is derived to symbolize this love-stricken ghazelle. Ghazals also have the characteristic of the poet’s name hidden, alluded to or referred to at the end.

Ghazals evolved from the emotional opening part of Qasîdah, the pre-Islamic poetic form of Ode.

In the pre-Islamic world in Arabia, there was a golden time for odes called qasîdahs. They included mainly four poetic genres such as madîh, hikam, hijâ and fakhr. Madîh represened praising poetry, Hikam represented moralizing poetry, Hijâ represented satirizing poetry and Fakhr accommodated boasting poetry. The love-genre which later came to be called Ghazals was not a recognized form in those golden times of Arabian poetry before the emergence of Islam. Whichever genre it belonged to, a qasîdah had three parts- the opening part called nasîb, the middle and main part called rahîl and a last part called madîh. We will normally think this first introductory part nasîb would be of comparatively lesser importance in such an elaborate structure of Arabian poetry, but strangely it was from this introductory part that ghazals evolved later. Since emotional attachment to women was an important part of human constitution and winning listeners’ hearts even from the opening lines an objective of all poets, there was no wonder the beginning part nasîb of the qasîdahs of Arabia became the foundation for ghazals to base themselves on later.

The risky, dangerous and brittle Arabian Bedouin life created ghazals for solace and escape.

Ancient Arabians were mostly Bedouins and their life was dangerous, risky and brittle. Love and emotional attachment was the only momentary respite, relief and diversion in their lives. As life became harsher, laborious and more painful, affinity for indulging not in moralizing and boasting poems but in love songs made embracing ghazals more natural and their development inevitable. Old world scholars like Ibn Qutaybah have analyzed the origin of qasîdahs, nasîbs and ghazals up to the rising of Arabian written literature. The unrecorded periods were guessed and synthesized by modern day scholars like Theodor Gaster Hayât Jâsim, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych and Jaroslav Stetkevych who have tried to trace Bedouin life and their literature back to ancient Middle Eastern times.

Arabian urbanization made people demand for music, dance and entertainment and made ghazals shorter and lighter.

During the Ummayyad Era from 661 to 750, Arabian urbanization grew and townsfolk wanted more music, dance, songs and entertainment. Ghazals were an apt poetic form to be adapted, converted and used for these entertainment purposes. Deserts preferred classic traditional form but cities liked ghazals modified and separated into nasîb, rahîl and madîh in the qasîdah. The qasîdah form of ghazals consisted of couplets. Each line ended in the same rhyme. Each line in a couplet was called bayt in Arabic language and sher in Persian. Using the same rhyme scheme by a poet was termed qâfiyah.

Popularity and development of ghazals also led to different schools of ghazals coming into being. Courtly love, free of eroticism and physical desire, developed as udharî, the proponents of this school being puritans like `Abd al-Rahmân, `Urwah b.Hizâm, Jamîl b. Ma`mar, and Tawbah b. al-Humayr. Erotic hissî was nothing but graphic and vivid descriptions, mostly written by `Umar b.Abî Rabî`ah. Poets like Abû al-Nuwâs practiced mudhakkar which was homo erotic. The only school of ghazals which based not on theme but on form was tamhîdî which was a transitional form with only two parts in it, the introductory part nasîb entering straight into the last part madîh without the middle part rahîl.

Arabian urbanization made ghazals becoming generally shorter and lighter also. Stiff meters like kâmil, basît, and rajaz which were used in the classical ghazals changed to lighter ones like khafîf, ramal, and muqtarab, to suit mass entertainment. Themes diverted more from memories of clan, home and heroism to romanticism and erotic, to suit people’s tastes.

Like great rivers, ghazals received everything from the lands they flowed through.

The chronological and geographical development of ghazals can be traced by following the names of the most important persons associated with ghazals. Persian mystic poets like Jalal al-Din Muhammad and Rumi in the 13th century, Hafiz in the 14th century, Turkish poet Fuzuli in the 16th century, Indian poets Mirza Ghalib in the 18th century and Muhammad Iqbal in the 19th century and finally the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the 19th century, will give a rough outline of the countries through which ghazals travelled and the time segments in which it progressed. Or, will we have to doubt, was it a progress really? It certainly became more popular and accepted and certainly recordings of them could be made as science and technology advanced, but its traditional form deteriorated through centuries. When it reached England, Thomas Hardy was the first to pick it up but even his was a poor attempt. Even though using this form by German poets Friedrich Rückert and August von Platen in the 19th century was considered somewhat of a success, its use by the American Indian poet Agha Shahid Ali and poetess Adrianne Rich in the 20th century was thorough flop, for failure in keeping metrical perfection. It is because ghazals from Arabia spread to Persia and Turkey that we have now a vast production of literature before us. But we have not yet considered the result of its spreading to two other vast regions, namely Africa and Spain.

Ghazals travelled through Africa, Spain, Persia, Turkey and India and reached Germany and England.

Arab culture and education permeated into Africa, Spain and Persia, resulting also in the spread of ghazals. Western African poets who wrote ghazals in their languages wrote in Arabic also. Hausa and Fulfulde are the African languages wherein we see so many ghazals. Spanish poets like Moses ibn Ezra of the 10th century wrote ghazals both in Spanish Hebrew and Arabic. Either in Africa or in Spain, the prominent Arabic characteristics of ghazals did not wane but they controlled the movement. Neither did these Arabic characteristics wane in Persia. In fact, the earliest Persian ghazals were more Arabic than Persian. Even though experiments and changes in their musical adaptability were undertaken by Persians, they preferred to follow the same lighter meters perfected by Arabians. The Persians did not only content themselves with the love ghazals of the Arabs; they assimilated and experimented with other Arabian poetic forms like satires, moralizers and boasting and praising poetry forms also. The first great poet of Iran, Abdullah Jafar Rudaki of the 9th century, surpassed all Arabic and Persian poets till then in excellence in composing ghazals, culminating in the fruition of all good Arabic and Persian characteristics in one single poet.

Multi language proficiency was characteristic of ghazal writers in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.

During the years from when Persians borrowed ghazals from Arabians to the years when they were invaded by Ottoman Turks, the Persian Empire had spread and Persian had become the prominent and official language in Central Asia. Luckily, it was the refined ghazals of the 14th century that seeped into Afghanistan, Hindustan, Turkistan and Russia. Like those who were directly influenced by Arabic wrote both in Arabic as well as in African, Spanish and Persian languages, those who were now influenced by Persian ghazals wrote both in Persian as well as in Hindi, Urdu, Afghan, Azerbaijan, Uzbek and Turkish. Besides in Persian, Amir Khusru in 14th century wrote in Hindi also, Ali-Shir Nava’I in 15th century in Afghan Turkish also and Fuzuli in 16th century in Azerbaijani Turkish also. Ali-Shir Nava’I is called ‘the Chaucer of the Turks’ and the founder of Uzbek literature. Mirza Ghalib in 19th century wrote in Urdu. Since then, every regional language in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and Turkey has had ghazals, entirely die to bilingual proficiency becoming prevalent.

Mongol attacks of 13th century made Persians shed Arabic conservatism in ghazals and begin their thinning.

Arabians were somewhat reluctant to spell the author’s name in the ghazals directly; they made only hidden allusions and references in the end. Even in Rudaki’s time in the 9th century, this had not changed in Persia. But before or at the time the Mongols attacked Persia in the beginning of the 13th century, this seems to have changed. Perhaps ghazal poets of this time might have decided to shed anonymity and obscurity, or they might have decided to preserve some fame for posterity before barbarian Mongols burned everything including them. Poets became more open and less shy in mentioning their names in ghazals. They devised the method called takhallus to record their name in the final couplet. It was a major change in subtlety of expression in ghazals under the care of Persians. Couplets also began to declare independence and began to look distantly-placed components in the garland more. Muslih-ul-Din Saadi of the 13th century who had to flee from Mongols to save his life was the finest example for stubbornness against this thinning in the integrity of ghazals. Topics also varied liberally with the Persians by the end of the 14th century.

Persians attached refrains to ghazals and Sufis diverted theme from erotic to mystic and divine.

Arabs also did not use refrains after the end rhyming word but Persians insisted on them as a rule. Persian poets from the 10th to 13th centuries commonly used end-refrains in ghazals. Like takhallus which was their new devise for inserting the author’s name shamelessly, use of this refrains called radif also was the Persians’ unnecessary contribution to ghazals. Poets like Abu Shukur, Daqiqi, Shahid-i Balkhi, Ma`rufi, Farid al-Din`Attar and Mahmud-i Varraq, and even the noted Jalal al-Din Rumi, liberally used it. Poetical critics and philosophers of that time like Rashid al-Din Vatvat supported it. The only exemption was again Muslih-ul-Din Saadi who used it only in a few of his poems. Eventually radifs became the characteristic of Persian ghazals to distinguish the Pre-Islamic from the Post-Mongol Invasion productions. These poems with the refrain came to be called muraddaf. When it was the time of Hafiz in the 14th century, Persian poets wrote rarely without refrains. It became a certification of mastery in poetical craft. It was after the 14th century that this practice waned and finally vanished. There was a cause for this also, which was advent of Sufism. Sufis not only tempted poets to do away with this unnecessary ornament but keep manifestation of longing and desire remain, but they also diverted ghazals’ themes to divinity and the mystic from eroticism. At the end of the 14th century, we have thus the Arabian ghazals more or less intact with us, with only a slight independence and autonomy for couplets as declared by Persians, but cleansed of fleshly desires by Sufis, aspiring for divinity.

When direct contact with Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages ceased, the fountain of inspiration for ghazals also dried up.

It was in their Persian and Urdu form in the 18th and 19th centuries that ghazals arrived in Europe, directly introduced in Germany by Goethe and indirectly introduced in Britain by the bored British East India Company officers, as we have already seen. We can say, in conclusion, that the Golden Age of Ghazals ended with the 14th century, and the tree continued to rain till the 18th century, long after the rain had actually ceased. Perhaps Goethe, Edward Fitzgerald, Atkins, and A. J.Arberry were the last ones to see Arabic and Persian ghazals in their originality and magnificence and take them to Europe. When direct contact with Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages ended, contact with original ghazals also ended, and the fountain of inspiration got ghazals also dried up with it. People but still continued to write ghazals for the simple reason that they wanted to be known as ghazal writers, for writing ghazals had been made so easy after abandoning metrical form, rules and themes and declaring full independence and autonomy for couplets. This applies to all ghazals created in Europe and America in the 19th and 20th centuries, without any direct contact with Arabic, Persian or Urdu languages. Today, the trend in writing ghazals is, whatever is strenuous, difficult and demanding is abandoned and whatever is cool, easy and effortless retained, as is in the case of all other forms of poetry. Limitations of length are now strictly adhered to because today no one can write too much. Poets proclaim that emotions flow from their heart as free verse and they are entitled to present it as poems and ghazals without editing or transfiguration which would be unnatural and taboo. Ghazals are going that way in Arabia, Persia, Afghan, India, Russia and Europe, deteriorating every day. Every compromise and relaxation brought about by these lazy, uninspired and untrained ‘poets’ is innovation in their terms and degeneration in our terms. Like when oral epics like Beowulf were translated from semi-German into modern English, Song Of Roland was translated from French and Rubaiyat was translated from Persian, rhyme and meter systems used by the original poets in their original languages are no more researched on, experimented with and modified for adaptation with translation by modern poets. They are now thought of as hindrances, not as intellectual challenges. The Persians, Africans, Spaniards, Turks, Afghans, Indians and the Russians took great care in incorporating alien rhyme schemes and unfamiliar meters into their complicated language systems and retaining the beauty of the original works or they devised new meters or rhymes to accommodate the guest. Modern day poets with lesser intelligence and lesser still patience challenge the poetical excellence and exotic versifications of pious centuries with their licenscious and poor creations. Arabian ghazals are so now dying away, vanishing with those grief-stricken and crying ghazelle birds of Africa.

English ghazal writing has reached the bizarre stage where radif is invariably present and rhyme is totally absent.

In conventional poetry, in general, there has to be a continuity flowing though all lines maintained but in ghazals, today, there needn’t be any such necessity and obligation for keeping continuity, provided lines are arranged in couplets to show likeliness of ghazals, remotely. This self-declared simplicity of form attracts everyone to writing ghazals. English ghazals writing has reached the bizarre stage where radif is invariably present and rhyme is totally absent. The author of this article went through a few of the most famous volumes of ghazals published recently in English, including those by John Thompson in Canada and Adrienne Rich in America, and is of the opinion that they all belong to the vain category of pseudo ghazals. They failed to obey true-to-form principles and became bastard ghazals. They only have the word Ghazal printed on their covers, mere copyrighted creations with no Arabic, Persian or Indian glory, magnificence and generosity, in conviction or in execution.

Once, ghazals meant a well-cut and defined poetic form and a genre. Now, they mean only a genre. Form has been sacrificed for easiness in writing. Free verse penetrated Arabian, Persian, African, Spanish, Afghan, Indian and Russian ghazals in the 20th century. There is no possibility of ghazals ever regaining their traditional form. Today, ghazals are being written about anything and everything, even without keeping ever even a trace of a longing and desire for a beloved human being. So, imperceptibly, ghazals are unbecoming a genre also. With the passing of each day, ghazals are distancing themselves more from a defined form and genre as ‘a love song of longing’.

The heritage of ghazals does not continue through modern poets anymore.

Ghazals have traditional restrictions of form. They have strict rhyme and rhythm patterns. Traditional ghazals are composed of five to fifteen couplets, with the poet’s signature skillfully embedded in the last one. Iranian, Indian and Pakistani singers, who take up old ghazals, orchestrate record and distribute them and hold live concerts are who keep the interest in ghazals alive. Turkish, Pashto, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish and German languages have fine ghazals. Americans are not introduced enough to ghazals, for none of the poets except the 18th and 19th century British translators who introduced ghazals to that continent did justice to traditional form, rhyme and meter. Translations from other languages into English are still in the infancy stage, or we can say that it stopped at the infancy stage with the passing away of such talented poets like Prof. A.J.Arberry. Nearly all of them have only been able to copy the theme of ghazals, not its form. Lack of patience, reverence and training, and over-orientation for publishing were what made their ghazals flop. There indeed are several modern names associated with translation of ghazals into English or creating them of their own, such as Aijaz Ahmad, Agha Shahid Ali, Adriane Rich, David Ray, Edward Lowbury, Elise Paschen, Elizabeth Gray, James Clarence Mangan, James Elroy Flecker, John Hollander, John Thompson, Phyllis Webb, Spencer Reece, William Hunt, William Stafford, W. S. Merwin, etc. which needn’t imply that the heritage of ghazals continues through them anymore. Deviating from traditional form has become such unquestioned and common that there are now scores of writers in every language who seek shelter and fame in the folds of ghazals.

What keep alive the interest in ghazals are the presence of exquisite singers and the availability of their recorded creations.

Indian and Pakistani singers touring abroad and conducting concerts made ghazals very popular in the modern day Europe. Famous Urdu ghazal writers include Mirza Ghalib, Muhammad Iqbal, Nasir Kazmi, Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Morza Rafi Sauda, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Singers who made ghazals in Asia popular include Kundan Lal Saigal, Ustad Barkat Ali, Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hassan, Noor Jehan, Iqbal Bano, Amanat Ali Khan, Jagjit Singh, Farida Khanum, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akhtar. Mohammad Rafi popularized them through films. Bengali and Gujarathi have quite a number of ghazals. Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages in South India also have many ghazal singers.

When someone wants to build a collection of ghazals which are first class ones worthy of being listened to again and again and which also are recorded and available for purchase, the main problem he faces is, every CD has good and bad ghazals. Not all singers are good. There is the other option of searching for selected songs and downloading them from You Tube as videos or from pay or free sites as audios. Here is a selection, the really first class ones without which no collection will be complete.

01. Amanat Ali….1. Ghar Wapas Kab Aaoge. 2. Honton Pe Kabhi. 3. Insha Ji Utho.
02. Anup Jalota….1. Dil Hi Nahin To Dil Ke. 2. Do Din To Junoon Ke Hain 3. Ruk Jao Subah Tak. 4. Tumne Kitne Sapne Dekhe.
03. Fareeda Khanum….1. Kuch Ishq Tha Kuch Majboori. 2. Woh Ishq Jo Hum Se.
04. Ghulam Ali….1. Ae Dard E Hijre Yaar. 2. Chamakte Chand Ko. 3. Chhup Chhup Ke Piyo. 4. Gugunati Hai Hawa. 5. Hum Tere Shahar Me Aaye Hai.
05. Gul Bahar Bano….1. Dard Kay Saz. 2. Dhal Gaee Raat. 3. Hamain Jahan Mai. 4. Kabhi Kabhi To. 5. Kya Kya Ye Rang. 6. Tu Pass Bhi Ho To.
06. Habib Wali Muhammad….1. Aa Hum Thode Zindagii. 2. Chaahat Ki Har Geeth Niraalii. 3. Deir Lagii Aane Mein Unko. 4. Kab Mera Nache Man. 5. Lagta Nahin He Dil Mera. 6. Pehla Sahaal Pehle Hii. 7. Thume Meri Na Mujh Ko Na. 8. Yeh Na Dhi Hamari Hota.
07. Iqbal Bano….Daag-e-Dil Hum Ko.
08. Jagjit Singh….1. Aap Aaye Janaab Barson Mein. 2. Aap Se Gila Aap Ki Kasam. 3. Jhuki Jhuki Ki Nazar. 4. Nazar Nazar Se Mila Ker Sharab.
09. Mehdi Hassan….1. Aye Kuchh Ab Kuchh. 2. Gali Gali Teri Yaad. 3. Yun Zindagi Ki Raah.
10. Munni Begum….1. Chaman Roye. 2. Koi Humnafas Nahin. 3. Koi Mujh e Gul Se. 4. Kuch Din Kate Hain. 5. Is Jagah Pyar Karna Ma’na Hai. 6. Tumharaa Shaharka Musam Bara.
11. Musrat Nazeer….Raat Dhammi Dhammi.
12. Nayyara Noor….1. Ae Jazba-e-Dil. 2. Mor Macha Way Sor.
13. Noor Jehan….Dil Ke Afsaane.
14. Talat Mehmood….1. Aaja Tujhe Mohabbat. 2. Aansoo Samajh Ke Kyu.
3. Bechain Nazar. 4. Hum Se Aaya Na Gaya. 5. Jalte Hai Jiske Liye.
6. Zindagi Denewale Sun.

And of course, 15. Salman Alvi.

Salman Alvi, the last bird from the golden age of ghazals and the music ambassador of Asia.

The latest and one of the finest ghazal singers is Mr. Salman Alvi in Pakistan whose services in keeping the interest in ghazals are invaluable. The other equally enchanting gentleman singer from Pakistan is Habeeb Wali Muhammad. In the modern age, the biography of almost all singers is available in the internet. Wikipedia is the first and foremost and then comes the famous and popular music downloadable sites. And there is Face Book too. But Salman Alvi is the most elusive bird in the world of ghazal singers. Not a line regarding his life is available anywhere in the whole digital world, except three or four lines in his Face Book page. You Tube Channels including tahayyur, hilalconfectionery, Sain Shaada, kukdila, tauseefqau and RAORASHID1982 have selected and uploaded his songs. They are available as audio compact discs and video compact discs in music stores around the world. His is perhaps the finest ghazal orchestra in the world now, a few pictures of which are included here, as graciously allowed by him, as a concession to an admirer. Also links to his most famous ghazal videos are attached here. Today, if someone wants to know what ghazals are, his is the best introduction. If someone follows these links and becomes an addict of ghazals, do not blame the author.

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Dedication
_________

We dedicate this article to Ghazals Guitarist Qamar Allahditta who thrilled us through his many vibrant performances and who is no more.

Salman Alvi’s immortal ghazals can be viewed here.

1. Yeh Kiya Keh Sab Se Bayan Dil Ki Halatain Karni 7:09 RAORASHID1982
http://youtu.be/_QhUIi2eGa8

2. Sakht Hai Isaq Ki Rah Guzar 7:29 tauseefqau
http://youtu.be/PDITr4XdRfA

3. Us Ki Gali Mein Phir. Salman Alvi 7:37 kukdila
http://youtu.be/WoMZT-l0aS0

4. Nazm, Jan-e-Pidar 6:42 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/tKvMvsAgitA

5. Dil Dhoondta Hai – Live Tribute 6:58 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/sdjD1l_Xe5k

6. Is Jagah Pyaar Karnaa Mana Hai 4:17 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/6IZnAIF2RJ4

7. Meri Kahani Bhoolney Waley 4:10 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/LUgO-lm8blQ

8. Jinhe Bhoolne Mein 3:48 Sain Shaada
http://youtu.be/2LVXWlLa1hY

9. Ae Mere Noor-e-Nazar by Salman Alvi 5:14 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/Z5BujlbLI_o

10. Zindagi Mein Ek Pal Bhi 3:21 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/xwNE2GyhQk8

11. Tumhe Pukarlo Tumhara Intezar 4:48 hilalconfectionery
http://youtu.be/-ZR2NsKEqk8

12. Apni Soi Hui Dunya 6:21 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/uNnGta07xWI

13. Muhabbaton Mein Agar 6:30 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/A1LqOVoGH2k

Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, with his permission, has set up a venue where Salman Alvi’s ghazals can be reached and downloaded from You Tube. It is ‘Bloom Books Channel Kerala’ in Google Plus, constituted via Weebly.

Bloom Books Channel Kerala
bloombookstrivandrum.weebly.com

__________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Dear Salman Alvi.
Via his Face Book Page. With his permission
__________________________________________

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

 

Comments

author avatar Madan G Singh
25th Aug 2013 (#)

Must congratulate you for a wonderful and interesting post

Non-Violence. Aldous Huxley. Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

048.

Non-Violence. Aldous Huxley. Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 21st Aug 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/238onx5a/
Posted in Wikinut>Essays

When national policies conflict, there is war. It always has been so, in spite of the world’s nations’ attempts to settle things amicably. Violence is the sister of war and mighty nations are not shameful to unleash violence on their next door neighbours, next day brothers. Non-violence has been the cherished dream of mankind since the first sunrise after the dawn of civilization. Even then the realization of this dream is remaining far distant due to psychological settings of the world’s mind.

A row of successful non-violent struggles before us to imitate; still we are reluctant to adopt this proven principle.

Thomas Arnold Teacher, great grand uncle of Aldous

Here and there a few humanitarians and philosophers have occasionally looked into the prospect of moulding a new world order based on the lines of non-violence. Novelists like Tolstoy, essayists like George Orwell, H.G.Wells, Arnold Toynbee, Aldous Huxley and many others have inculcated the principles of non-violence which is fit to be adopted in international crises management. We have the fine political examples of many mighty empires having been brought down by non-violent revolutions carried out by peasants and agricultural labourers as those led by Gandhi and his contemporaries in India. Still we are reluctant to accept the principles of non-violence as our political problems solving policy. It is due to the devious and treacherous basic traits latent in man as an animal that nations still resort to violence when they have to address a problem, social, political, economical or ethnical.

Aldous Huxley was born into a family of generations of great intellectuals.

Thomas Huxley, senior brother of Aldous Huxley.

Aldous Huxley was a British essayist, novelist and critic. He belonged to a family of distinguished scientists and thinkers. The celebrated scientist Thomas Huxley was his great grand-father and the famous educationalist Thomas Arnold was his great grand-uncle. Poet Matthew Arnold was his grand uncle. His mother was a distinguished educationalist and his father Leonard Huxley was a writer. The famous biologist Sir. Julian Huxley was his elder brother. The Burning Wheel , Chrome Yellow, Brave New World , Proper Studies and Music At Night are a few of his major works. Aldous Huxley was one of the chief intellectual driving forces of his times. His essays are gentle and imaginative. The present essay discusses how non-violence is applicable to individuals, groups, nations and the people of the new industrial age.

Non-violence comes to prisons and asylums in the nineteenth century in England.

Bethlehem Mental Hospital in London in 1896.

Non-violence is the policy of passive resistance. Resistance indeed is there, only that it is not active. It has the power to overcome evil, anger and hatred. The principles of non-violence have been applied systematically in solving social and medical problems which were considered to be completely insoluble. In the past, violence prevailed over the handling of the insane, the criminal and the savage. It made the victim only incurable. Asylums and prisons were places where inmates were treated with cruelty and violence. Asylums were filthy places with dungeons, chains and torture chambers. The insane were subjected to violence as if they were criminals. In 1815 a committee of the British M.P.s investigated the state of Bethlehem Hospital in London and found it appalling. Sine then, non-violent treatment has been adopted, showing kindness and sympathy. Similarly, in prisons, torture made the innocents demoralized and the criminals more criminal. When John Howard began his investigations on prison life in the 18th century, the only decent prisons in Europe were those in Amsterdam, Holland being a country with lesser crimes. Since then, there have been many prison reforms. Thus Huxley adeptly proves that non-violence is applicable in relations of individuals with other individuals.

Missionary gossip and the role of anthropologists in the practice of non-violence.

Torture chamber in Spis Castle. By Dariusz Wozniak

Anthropologists study the origin, development and social behaviour of mankind. In the past they depended on baseless news given by travelling missionaries, i.e. ‘missionary gossip’ to form their theories. Missionaries returning from foreign lands after failed missions won’t attribute reasons for their failure to their wrong policies but would portray people of those lands as brutal intolerant savages holding pagan beliefs who brought down the missionaries’ works. As a result, colonial administrations remained violent and cruel to their subjects in the conquered lands. But later, the anthropologists practically began living with the objects of their study and learned the realities in those lands. They discovered that intelligent and sympathetic non-violence is the best and most practical policy to be adopted on subjects by an administration. Thus the colonial rule of the Belgian, Dutch, English and French became more humane, non-violent and efficient. Only the Italian Fascist Mussolini remained aggressive. His hideous methods of bombs and poison gas employed in the conquest of Abyssinia were brought to light and condemned by all.

Non-violent non-cooperation successfully prevented in England a war with Russia in 1920.

Torture rack in Spis Castle Slovakia. By Podzemnik

Non-violence is applicable in the relations of populations with governments. Gandhi’s non-violent mass movements in South Africa and India were brilliant successes. He effectively trained very large groups of people in non-violent non-cooperation and boycott, who courageously responded to brutal treatment. This impressed all and gained him favour of public opinion and support of the entire world. In England, in 1920, non-violent non-cooperation successfully prevented a war. Labour Movement declared War Boycott and refused to transport men and materials to war front. Faced with this ultimatum, the Lloyd George government abandoned its plans of war on Russia.

Man leads a dual life as a private individual and as representative of a social group.

Spanish boot in Spis castle Slovakia By Podzemnik.

In relations of governments with other governments, non-violence is often considered impractical. Examples of genuine non-violent behaviour between governments are rare. This is because of the dual nature and behaviour of man as a private individual and as member of a group. He has two systems of morality. In private life, man is honest, humane and considerate. But as citizens of a nation, he thinks his nation can go to any extreme. We all do. The nation is personified in our imagination as a being, superhuman in power and glory, but sub human in morality.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

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Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley.

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Comments

Sivaramakrishnan A
21st Aug 2012 (#)

Thought provoking post that is more relevant now. There are no victors in violence; even those who live to tell the tale of success carry heavy scars in their psyches – siva

PSRemeshChandra
21st Aug 2012 (#)

Standing on a land that is India where the first known poet and philosopher Valmiki wrote Ma Nishada, or You Never Kill, we can certainly speak to the world the gospel of non-violence and human love. The Father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, along with Rabindranath Tagore and Count Leo Tolstoy, and also George Bernard Shaw, was the greatest proclaimer of the gospel of human love to the world since the time of Jesus Christ. India through the ages disseminated the message of Gods’ affection and consideration for man. Even though somewhat diminished in the rush for prospects and physical pleasures, the tendency to sacrifice one’s life for the welfare of others is still prominent and dominant in Indian lives, especially in the lives of the poor people of India. Gandhi also sacrificed his life for his ideal of embracing the divided Indians and the Pakistanis at the same time. When India spends billions on account of preparing a war and defense machinery against the nation of Pakistan and Pakistan diverts precious national revenue for purchasing missiles and war machines against sister India, Pakistanis think how natural the Indian film stars act and the Indians think how majestic and enchanting the Pakistani Ghazal singers sing. Governments in the modern day world no more reflect the will of their people. Objectives of people which could easily and quickly have been realized through art, literature, music, cinema, cricket and football are objected to by governments, for they wish there shall be two governments to rule, two parliaments to spend time in and two judiciaries to pronounce the same universal human law in two conflicting ways. Unification of the divided German nations is their lesson for the future. Why waste precious people’s money for running two governments? The world is changing, and eliminating the evils of the ill famous Second World War one by one. Aldous Huxley’s thoughts are more important than ever in the present times, as you pointed out, dear Sivaramakrishnan A. Thank you for your valuable comment, which supplements Aldous Huxley’s observations well.

Sivaramakrishnan A
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Thank you indeed, RC! War is waged by selfish politicians and they use common citizens as their pawns. It is so easy to rouse emotions now, like it was from primeval times! We are easily used by all types of leaders for their ends! Modern technology has made us realise – we are one and the same, but we still go at each other’ s throats at the drop of a hat! siva

A K Rao 21st Aug 2012 (#)

Simply Superb Article Dear Ramesh Chandran Sir!

PSRemeshChandra
21st Aug 2012 (#)

When we read the articles written by many philosophers like Bertrand Russell, Arnold Toynbee, Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley and H.G.Wells, we think how fortunate the world is for having tones of beautiful pages written by learned and tasty geniuses for us all to read without stop. We also will feel lonely at the thought of living at a time, with the total absence of such eminent thinkers and writers continuously conversing to us all around us in our society. It is our solace and luck they wrote profusely before they passed away, so that the intellectually impoverished we can read something refreshing, till the end our days. Unfortunately I cannot convey your appreciation to Huxley. Thank you for your comment, dear A.K.Rao.

Madan
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Excellent post. Deserved star page

PSRemeshChandra
22nd Aug 2012 (#)

Writers like Arnold Toynbee, Robert Lynd, Aldous Huxley and Bertrand Russell produced excellent literature which captivated generations including mine. But the world now does not read them as frequently and regularly as before. I pay them respect in my simple way of reintroducing them in layman’s terms, for the sole reason they inspired me, so that they will be continued to be read and read and read. No one shall have to leave them unread. The praise goes to those excellent authors who are now gone from among us. We can only keep the world’s interest in them live. Thank you dear Madan for the comment.

Buzz
23rd Aug 2012 (#)

Simply outstanding!

PSRemeshChandra
23rd Aug 2012 (#)

Praise goes to Aldous Huxley really.

Md Rezaul Karim
3rd Sep 2012 (#)

Interestingly when you are equal, the concept of non-violence works. But if the competency or strengths and weaknesses are significant then coercion takes place and the ethics and morality wither away!

PSRemeshChandra
3rd Sep 2012 (#)

The concept of non-violence works when the concerned opponent is somewhat equal or sophisticated. It did work with the British in India when the British became convinced that India would become the country where the greatest number of dead British are burried if violence in India reached its full manifestation. The Irish Republican Army tried non-violence in British prisons by turning to non-eating fasts but found that they were only weakening their body. After the death of seven of their comrades in a days-long relay fast in Maize prison, they returned to guerrilla warfare and violence. Thank you dear Md Rezaul Karim for reading and the comment.

The Emerging World Society. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. Essay Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran. Sahyadri Books.

045.

The Emerging World Society. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. Essay. Reintroduced By P. S. Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 11th Feb 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/2tge_ko-/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

 

A few recent leaders of India, who are neither writers nor philosophers, are fast bringing about laws to curb the use of international social media by the people of India. They are furious over the speed and completeness with which their clandestine favouritism and corruption are brought to daylight each day. It is really the Internet which brought the world people together. It is time these fools read what the famous philosopher and former President of India wrote on The Emerging World Society.

At one time the national leaders of India were noted writers, poets and philosophers.

India once had great philosophers, scholars and writers functioning as her national leaders. During those times no one betrayed the nation for money, personal gains or prosperity. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a great visionary and a great writer whose Letters To A Daughter, Glimpses Of World History and The Discovery Of India still remain classics in the world literature. He was the first person who started great industries under government ownership and wished to make them remain so forever as state possessions. President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan also was a great writer, academician and philosopher who was the first academician in the world who boldly said, ‘we are faced with the paradoxical fact that educators have become one of the obstacles to education.’ The famous poets Rabindranath Tagore and Sarojini Naidu remained as pillars of national conscience and active participants in politics. India’s Father of the Nation Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a very truthful and frank person, the follies and wantonness of whom we came to know not from other people’s writings but from his own books. His famous autobiography ‘My Experiments With Truth’ remains unparalleled in world literature.

Top most authorities now shamelessly sell prestigious national institutions, industries and other properties to the private sector, and bark about principles of democracy and socialism.

Now things have changed unbelievably. Many among the national leaders, parliamentarians and ministers of India are jailed for corruption. Top most authorities shamelessly sell prestigious national institutions, enterprises, industries and other properties to private sector, and bark about principles of democracy and socialism. National reserves of even petroleum and gas are allocated to rich privates at throw-away prices and the huge commissions amassed from these deals are stashed away by them in foreign banks for their future enjoyment, just as the many presidents and prime ministers in the African continent and elsewhere do. The people of the world have begun to think that all Indian leaders have always been such cut-throats, cheaters and mother-sellers. That is why the philosophic writings of the former President of India Dr. S. Radhakrishnan are reintroduced here, just to show that many ingredients go into the making of a decent national leader, literary loftiness, social commitment and perfect education being just a few of them.

The gravity and pungency of his remarks on the state of affairs in the field of education and administration in India made his name conveniently not remembered.

Dr. Sarveppally Radhakrishnan was a great scholar, philosopher and statesman of India. He served as a Professor of Philosophy at the Mysore, Calcutta and Oxford Universities. He also was the Vice President and the President of India. Recovery of Faith, Our Heritage, The Present Crisis and Towards a New World are a few of his famous books. The Emerging World Society is an essay from his book The Emerging World in which he discusses how a world society is being born out of world’s unity and oneness. He shows how narrow our feelings of nationalism are and how dangerous militarism is to the world. Contributions of this great philosopher in the field of education are such admirable that his birth day is celebrated as the National Teachers’ Day in India. Because of the gravity and pungency of his remarks on the state of affairs in the field of education and administration in India, when authorities sometimes have to think about the world’s philosophers, his name is conveniently not remembered. In the content and style of his writings, he is in line with such great writers as H.G.Wells, George Orwell, Arnold Toynbee and Aldous Huxley. But many prefer him to be compared with Bertrand Russell.

There is no isolated existence of a single human group. Nations are interconnected by the world economy.

A world society grows in the hearts and minds of men. The present excitement, anger and violence are just the birth-pains of a new world order. The world already is one. The oneness of humanity is a historic fact. Man’s physical structure and mental-make up are the same all over the world. Birth, growth, old age, sickness and death are felt by all. We share a common origin and a common destiny. Thus the human race is already one. The world has already become a unit. We are standing on the door step of a single society. There is no isolated existence of a single human group. Nations are interconnected by the world economy. Industrialization and modernization are common practices. The language of science and the tools of industrial development are the same everywhere. Art, culture and science are common possessions. As a result of radio, television and the press, the most distant nations have become near neighbours and a world community has become possible.

Militarism is outdated in the modern world. Either we live together or we die together. It is either one society or no society.

Narrow nationalism and dangerous militarism do not fit a modern world outlook. They are oppositions to an emerging world society. The ancient Greeks spoke of war as the father of all changes but, in truth, war has only wiped out whole civilizations and destroyed entire peoples. That was the only change war brought. And new weapons have completely changed the nature of warfare. Each nation wants to become the world’s strongest military power. So they build nuclear weapons and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. They may some day wipe out the whole human race from the face of this Earth. No one will survive a nuclear war. Those who use them too would be destroyed. It is a dangerous illusion to think that those who possess them will win a war. There is no such thing as military invincibility. Either we live together or we die together. It is either one society or no society.

Nationalism has no relevance. Nation States are too narrow for the modern world where we have conquered space and move faster than sound.

Narrow nationalism is an old-fashioned thing. In India no one can admire publicly the fine music and literature of Pakistan. In Pakistan people cannot admire publicly the fine literature and cinema of India. If someone utters a word about the ancientness of Tibet or the independence of Burma, the Chinese government will put them in prison and silence them one way or the other. The British citizens who speak of Ireland’s rights for freedom are considered as traitors and put under surveillance. Everywhere nationalistic feelings are narrow and are obstacles to a progressive world outlook. Nationalism is a collective form of selfishness. Each race and nation thinks that they are the chosen people of God and the elect of the future. So the Greeks and the Spartans, the French and the Spaniards and the English and the French fought each other and just ruined themselves. Like Gandhi said, ‘it is in self-surrender that we fortify ourselves.’ Let the world society emerge and come into being. Nation States are too narrow for the modern world where we have conquered space and move faster than sound.

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

Tags

Banning Peoples Communications, Brotherhood Of Nations, Control Of Corruption, Control Over Social Media Sites, Curbing Internet Usage, Dr S Radhakrishnan, English Essays, Forces Against World Unity, Former Presidents Of India, Good Inter Country Communications, Internet, Irrelevance Of Nationalism, Live Together Or Die Together, Loving The Neighbour Nation, Narrow Nationalism, Nationalism And Militarism Versus World Unity, Obstacles To The Unification Of The World, Oneness Of Mankind, Oneness Of The World People, Outdated Militarism, Oxford Professors From India, Philosophers Of India, Selling Public Institutions, The Emerging World Society, The Statesmen Of India, Writers Of India

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley.

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Knowledge And Wisdom. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran. Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum.

044.

Knowledge And Wisdom. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P. S. Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 10th Feb 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1kqrxzyw/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

 

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Roads To Freedom, Principia Mathematica, Marriage And Morals, The Conquest Of Happiness, etc, are a few of his famous writings. Here he distinguishes between and defines knowledge and wisdom. Life experiences of a person process his knowledge into wisdom. Knowledge, comprehensive vision, pursuit of purpose, emancipation or freedom and impartiality in opinions and views are what constitute wisdom.

Wisdom evolves from comprehensive vision and sense of proportion. Knowledge may sometimes lead to unwisdom.

Knowledge and wisdom are different things. Wisdom does not come immediately with knowledge. As Tennyson observed, ‘Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers.’ Knowledge may sometimes even lead to unwisdom to illustrate which Russell cites two excellent examples. When man attained enough knowledge to lower the death rate among infants, population increased, food supplies became short and standard of living declined. Thus lowering the death rate of children, in his opinion, was a mistake on the part of medical specialists. Military specialists also have landed in many such follies. When man invented the technique of splitting atom, everyone began to think that mountains could now be moved and the course of rivers and that of history could be changed. But instead of using this new gained knowledge for useful and beneficial purposes, man began to manufacture nuclear weapons. Even after witnessing the horrible mass genocides caused by them, even the advanced as well as the barbarian countries of the world still go on manufacturing them. One day they will wipe out the human race from the face of the earth. Wisdom does not come with knowledge. These are the evil effects of specialization in singular subjects. It is from a comprehensive vision and sense of proportion that wisdom evolves.

It is a distorted history that tells nothing about Mao’s deflowering dozens of girls each week and termination of revolutionaries in Lenin’s time.

A proper knowledge of human history also is needed to gain wisdom. Some history writings we see are distorted ones, fabricated with a view to inculcate some particular feelings or passions among people. People who wrote about Lenin were totally blind to the cruel political assassinations of his times, which gave rise to the ‘theory of revolutions eating out its own children’ evidenced by the death of Trotsky. Worshippers of Mao Tse Tung remained silent about the innocent peasant girls the chairman deflowered each week, as was revealed by the repentant personal physician. Had these acts also were recorded accurately by his historians along with the bold and unending marches of this revolutionary through the incessant rains, we sometimes may have even respected the man, out of the knowledge that he was not a god but only a man. It should be noted here that the greatest sins committed by Gandhi came to the world’s attention not by his opponents mentioning them but from his own autobiography which was rightly titled My Experiments With Truth. Gandhi never hesitated to tell the story of his stealing the gold bangle of his house servant to purchase liquor in his boyhood years. We only respect this people’s leader for the frankness and truthfulness with which he recorded his own follies. That is his greatness and India’s example. That is how and why it came to be written in India’s official seal ‘Truth Alone Will Triumph’ when India became independent. Great men were always truthful in recording their follies. Along with English economics and French socialism, German philosophy served as one of the three origins of Marxism. Hegel was the most followed in the field of German philosophy. Hegel wrote history to prove that the Germans were a master race from the time memorable. Such distorted recordings of history lead to unwisdom and destruction.

To set apart two quarrelling friends would be an act of wisdom. Fill your private life with such small acts of wisdom.

Wisdom has a key role to play in the private life of a man. Man except on rare occasions fails to see his future in advance. He seldom knows what the future has in store for him. He has to live beneficial to the world. Since mankind is a collective reality, animosity among its members cannot help it achieve the benefits of living. By practicing universal brotherhood alone can man gain wisdom and live beneficial to the world and its inhabitants. So, to set apart two quarrelling friends would be an act of wisdom. ‘If you can do this, you will have instilled some fragment of wisdom’, writes Russell. Our private life should be filled with such little acts of wisdom. But millions of men, instead of going after this well defined objective in their lives, have searched for the philosophers’ stone and wasted their lives. No doubt, if they could have found them they would have conferred great benefits on mankind, but it was their lives that were wasted. Russell warns us that we should not waste our lives on such impossible philosophical feats; we should instead fill it with small acts of wisdom. As we grow older we will gain more impartiality. Our horizon will widen. Our thoughts and feelings will become less personal and more detached from our own physical state. It is that stage in human life, which Shakespeare in his poem The Seven Stages Of Man’s Life described as the stage in which man begins to think and act like a judge. Thus we gradually become freed of all selfish motives but begin to think more for the society than for ourselves. According to Russell, this emancipation or freedom from selfishness is the essence of wisdom.

Sunday schools cannot supply wisdom. They can only supplement wisdom if we already have some.

Wisdom can be taught like any other virtue. Even though we are born unwise which we cannot help, we can cultivate wisdom. Sunday schools are not supposed to supply wisdom; they can only supplement wisdom if we already have some. They can only make wise men wiser. Thus, moral instruction and the teaching of wisdom differ much. Wisdom should be planted and nursed in one’s own mind. We are living in a war-stricken world which needs wisdom as it never has needed before. Therefore wisdom should be taught by any means. We cannot al be good Samaritans to our neighbours, but we can certainly reduce our hatred to others. It should be noted here that even nations are now unable to reduce their hatred to other nations. The Russian communists find they are unable to remain good Samaritans to the American anti-communists. But in the midst of all this mayhem and national hatred, a single man can remain wise when the whole world goes unwise.

It is the music lovers and film goers that keep the nations going and standing, not short-living intolerant governments.

So, ‘Hate Hatred’ should be our slogan. It is indecent for a government to show hatred to other nations or to its people because this world and the humanity in it is built up based on the principles and forces of harmony. But the short-sighted puny little minds that are the governments in many countries cannot understand this as they are nowhere near the much dreamt about concept of Plato’s Philosopher Kings. In many sister nations, even if the people like each other in their hearts, their governments cultivate animosity and hatred. We can point out dozens of modern day examples. The governments of India and Pakistan shout at each other and conduct war rehearsals but the Indian music lovers worship Habib Wali Muhammed, Mirza Ghalib, Fareeda Khanum, Gul Bahar Bano, Iqbal Bano, Munni Begum, Roshan Ara Begum and Salman Alvi who are the luminaries among the Pakistani Ghazal singers, many of them the stars of the undivided India. And Indian film stars like Devanand, Sunil Dutt, Narghese, Raj Kapoor and Amitab Batchan are the favourites of Pakistani film goers. Both governments view these admirers and fans suspiciously, but in the long run, it is not these short-living governments but these admirers and fans of music, literature and films who keep these nations going and standing. That is the importance and relevance of a single man’s stand in the midst of national lunacy. It is when such singular wisdom happened to fuse uniquely with vigour of action that the world was saved several times from near peril.

Powerful personalities in history who combined vigour of action and wisdom and saved the world.

In history we see many examples of active vigour in fusion with wisdom, forming powerful personalities, saving the world. We see Moses in The Bible, professing the Ten Commandments before a people too seduced to be saved. Queen Elizabeth the First in England, King Henry the Fourth in France and Abraham Lincoln in America were very impressive personalities who fused vigour with wisdom and fought the evil. The world has had the luck to have many such personalities in among her people. Abraham Lincoln even conducted a civil war without ever departing from wisdom. It was his vigour of action and wisdom which helped him abolish slavery and prevent the Northern and the Southern states of America from separating in that civil war.

[Originally Prepared in 1995]

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

Tags

Bertrand Russell, Boyhood Days Of Gandhi, British Philosophers, British Writers, Distorted History, English Essays, Falsified History, Frankness Of Leaders, Knowledge, Knowledge And Wisdom, P S Remesh Chandran, People Of India And Pakistan, Philosophical Writings, Political Killings In Lenins Time, Reintroduced Literature, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, The Death Of Trotsky, Threat Of Nuclear Weapons, Truth Alone Will Triumph, Truthfulness Of World Leaders, Virtues And Vices Of Mao, Wisdom

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Ranges.

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In Praise Of Mistakes. Robert Lynd. Essay Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

39.

In Praise Of Mistakes. Robert Lynd. Essay Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 25th Nov 2011 Short URL http://nut.bz/25tqv807/
Posted in Wikinut Essays

 

Robert Lynd is famous for his essays of wit, wisdom and humour. Here he is writing ‘in praise of mistakes’, how they are useful and how they are enjoyable to the world. It is his opinion that it is difficult to write something without slipping somewhere. Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoyment of a writer and the only unpardonable sin in an author is writing uninterestingly. This Irish genius who made us laugh shared the world with us during 1879-1949.

What I wonder is why I did not snatch away as much wealth as I could from the Indian Coffers.

People often write to newspapers about the frequent mistakes writers make in their articles and books. Geographical, historical or religious errors may occur in their works but those mistakes seldom make their works unreadable or unenjoyable. Instead, most often, they make the world merry for they give enough material for the world to laugh. One will wonder why writers do not make as many mistakes as they can so that the world can at least laugh heartily. In this aspect, the case framed by fault-finders against writers is a weak one. If it is presented in any court the writer, Lord Clive, may tell the jury that he wondered why he did not make as many mistakes as he could. Lord Clive was tried in the British Parliament for corruption during his India Service when he told senators, what he wondered was why he did not dare to snatch away more wealth from the vast treasure houses of the Indian Kings!

It is difficult to write about something without slipping somewhere.

Personally Lynd is a lover of accuracy but he finds it difficult to write about something without slipping somewhere. He consults an encyclopedia to avoid errors in writing. He has on many occasions risen and sweated in the very early mornings in fear of mistakes he may have made in articles which have already gone to press. A modern day writer who is born in the time of spell checker, auto correct and Internet would be totally unfamiliar with such dreadful experiences.

Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoyment of an author’s work.

Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoying an author’s work. It is not the word and its meaning that count; it is the sound of the word that is important and is appealing to human senses. It is the sound of the words that makes a poem pleasing to our senses and ears and imparts beauty to the poem. Poets, Lynd permits them, may use the names of any precious stones or anything else for that matter in their poems even without knowing their meaning, if those sounds are pleasing to ears. A jeweller’s assistant needn’t immediately go to him and correct him. According to Lynd the unpardonable sin in a writer is to write uninterestingly. If a work is interesting, it would be read and enjoyed by all. Mistakes do not matter there. Shakespeare made his multitude of mistakes in chronology and Walter Scott made the Sun rise on the wrong side of the world in the wrong time. Even then Shakespeare’s dramas and Walter Scott’s novels and poems are read by millions of people with interest.

A writer’s mistakes deserve praise, and fantastic errors are great stimulants.

Mistakes made in literature are useful to man in many ways. For example, they make the reader temporarily feel that he is an inch taller than the writer. Mistakes made by the writer are a source of delight to many readers. There is more joy over a single error discovered in a good writer than over a hundred pages of perfect writing. Error-hunters search for errors as meticulously and systematically as gold-hunters search for gold. His Eurekas are uttered not over immortal phrases but over some tiny mistake in geography, history or grammar. The famous English weekly ‘Punch’ once used to print the names of authors along with the mistakes they made. The writers protested. Lynd is of the opinion that writers needn’t protest over such dissections by print media and they needn’t consider it as an attempt to rob them of the credit for making the world happy and laughing. Since they are such useful to mankind, the writers’ mistakes deserve praise; even their fantastic mistakes, which are in many, are also thus pardonable. Lynd’s closing observation is that ‘we shall never have a novelist or writer of the magnitude of Shakespeare till one can make as many mistakes as Shakespeare made’.

Dear Reader,
You are invited to kindly visit the author’s website Time Upon My Window Sill.

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking BLOOM BOOKS TRANSLATIONS here.

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Appreciations, English Essayists, English Essays, English Language And Literature, English Writers, Essays, In Praise Of Mistakes, Irish Writers, P S Remesh Chandran, Philosophy, Re Introductions, Remembrances, Reviews, Robert Lynd, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies, Usefulness Of Mistakes

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Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Rathnashikamani
30th Nov 2011 (#)

“A writer’s mistakes deserve praise, and fantastic errors are great stimulants”
I appreciate that.
You’ve given a differently positive perspective to the art of reading a writers mind.

PSRemeshChandra
30th Nov 2011 (#)

Writers’ mistakes have always given the world interesting material to laugh about. They do not disparage the writer but do prove to the world that they indeed are human beings, after us going through the unearthly materials they have written. Writers’ mistakes are indeed a solace to readers who are taken off with the momentum of the flow of ideas and emotions in the writing and cannot land. Seeing the mistake and reading the mistake lands them safely on the terra firma.

Bernard Shaw’s Inspiration His Own Life. Based on Bertrand Russell. Appreciation Study by P S Remesh Chandran.

21.

Bernard Shaw’s Inspiration His Own Life. Based on Bertrand Russell. Appreciation Study by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 16th May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/160_gv7f/ 

Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 

To know what inspired George Bernard Shaw, the strange and out of the way things in his life need only be just gone through. It is clear that it was his own life that inspired him. It is very interesting to watch the tiny ship of his life navigating the tumultuous seas. Bertrand Russell’s observations on Shaw are the base for this article which is aimed at only elucidating his observations.

Origin of the fine diction and musical rhythm in Shaw’s plays.

A portrait of George Bernard Shaw.

Finding her husband unable to provide for the family, his mother, with her children moved permanently to London. There she supported her family by giving music lessons and singing at concerts. She had a good singing voice and remarkable skills in music. Shaw was schooled in London and there he grew up as an extraordinarily independent intellectual. He gained his love of music from his mother and her friends, which secured for him his first job as a musical critic in a London evening newspaper. Then he became a critic of plays, the essays written during which period were of very high quality and are still being read and praised. A few years later when he began writing plays, his love of music made his sentences rhythmically easy and pleasant to speak and hear. Even the very long speeches in plays like Man and Superman hold our attention due to their musical rhythm and fine diction.

Good laws passed by a few do not make a good society but good people do make good societies.

Shaw’s Corner. He lived here from 1906 to 1950.

Henry George, the author of Progress and Poverty was a very influential American economist who argued that national revenue should be raised by a single tax on land revenues, instead of levying quite a number of taxes on a variety of things. One day Shaw happened to listen to his lecture in a London city hall and joined at once his Fabian Society. Fabians condemned the blood-thirsty revolutions envisioned by the communists and believed that socialism could be achieved only through slow, steady and gradual changes in the social set up. The Fabian Society was destined to powerfully influence the British society and politics during the next forty or fifty years. In the Fabian Society, Shaw came to be acquainted with Mrs. Annie Besant, an ardent supporter of the Indian Independence Movement. As a socialist, Shaw in the beginning believed that good laws could improve and increase human happiness. But as he grew older, he trusted less and less in the power of the Parliament. Good laws passed by a few do not necessarily make a good society, but good people certainly will make good laws. Good men and women are the first thing required in the making of a Good Society.

Equal admiration for St. Joan of Orleans and St. Joseph of Moscow.

A colour poster for Shaw’s play.

His contemporaries had many opportunities to observe Shaw as a controversialist and as a man of Victorian Vanity. According to them, Shaw had three phases in his life. First he was a musical critic, Fabian socialist and novelist. Then world saw him as a writer of comedies in which he intended to lead the world to seriousness through wits. During the third and last phase he appeared as a prophet, demanding equal admiration for ‘St. Joan ofOrleansand St. Joseph of Moscow’. By that time he had lost all distinction between a kind Christian and a cruel communist, which many of his contemporaries disliked.

Acerbity and sharpness, stamps of the personality of Shaw.

Inside Shaw’s movable hut.

Shaw led British Socialism away from Marx. Recent happenings in the Soviet Union prove that he was correct. He attacked the Victorian vanity and humbug with his own vanity and sharp wits. ‘Social Democrats considered him as an incarnation of Satan. He fanned the flames whenever there was a dispute’. In his verbal attacks he was merciless. In a lunch party given in honour of the French philosopher Bergson, he attacked the very theories of Bergson, saying that, “Oh, my dear fellow, I understand your philosophy much better than you do!” When the Czechoslovakian President Masaryk visited London, he asked to see Shaw out of respect for the man. Shaw went to him straight and lectured that the Czechoslovakian foreign policy was very wrong. And without waiting for an answer he stormed out of the dinner venue! He could not hide his vanity and hatred like the true Victorians. He found the effort of hiding vanity wearisome and gave it up when he first burst upon the world. Acerbity and sharpness were his stamps of personality.

More Christian than the Christ.

A View of Bernard Shaw’s Study.

Shaw believed that churches have strayed far from the teachings of Christ. But many things in his character had the force of a religion. Reading the works of the famous English poet Shelley made him think that ‘animals are our fellow creatures, not to be slain for human food’. At twenty five he became a vegetarian. He had a strong sense of the sacredness of animal and human life. He had the purity of life and ate no flesh, drank no alcohol and smoked no tobacco. He was kind and generous to his fellows. He insisted that we have to leave the world a better place than we found it, and that the torch of life should be passed on to the future generations burning more brightly. In this sense he was more a Christian than the Christ.

The universal trio who were anti-scientific thinkers and strict vegetarians.

A scene from Doctor’s Dilemma acted on stage.

Like Gandhi, Shaw may be said to have been an anti scientific thinker. Like Count Leo Tolstoy, he believed that science can give no real account of Man. It is strange and universally known that this threesome remained vegetarians, hostile to vivisection, operation and modern medicine. Samuel Butler, the famous advocate of Creative Evolution was considered by Shaw as a sage. His words were gospels to him. Even Butler’s jokes were taken seriously by Shaw. Both cruelly opposed Darwin. In personal life Shaw was a perfect man who opposed tyranny, blood-shed and cruelty. But as a religious revolutionary he was fierce and abominable. An admirable, dual personality!

A solicitous wife, the luck of all unruly thinkers.

Pygmalion serialized in November 1914.

Shaw derived his great strength from vegetables. He was lucky in getting a very solicitous wife. We have the example of Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates before us who poured a pot of water over the useless and heated head of her husband, always arguing and finding nothing for the family! She was very kind and attentive to him, followed him like a shadow anxious about his health and prepared hearty vegetarian meals for him. Even she was not spared! The household and the neighborhood resounded with his sharp and witty comments about her ancestors.

The more he lived, the more was he inspired by his own life.

Malvern Theatres where Shaw’s many plays staged.

Politics and journalism occupied Shaw till he was forty two. But soon he learned that politics was poly-tricks and journalism was literature in a hurry. Therefore he gave them up and took to creative literature. His earlier works were all focused on genuine social evils such as prostitution, war and religious intolerance and revenge, which touched the lives of a very large number of people. Bernard Shaw did in English what Henrik Ibsen had been doing in the Norwegian. The rich landlords of Victorian vanity considered him as an enemy. The communists considered him as an incarnation of Satan. But the poor began to consider him as a leader and champion of new ways of thought and intellectual freedom. He regarded Ruling as the highest art of all, and in his eyes, most political leaders were blunderers, insufficiently educated in this art. His works were enjoyable to the spectator as well as to the reader. He stands second only to Shakespeare among the English playwrights. Yes, the more he lived, the more was he inspired by his life.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:  

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

Appreciations, Bertrand Russell, British Essayists And Journalists, British Writers, English Essays, English Literature, English Playwrights, Essays, George Bernard Shaw, Irish Literature, Irish Writers, Life Of Shaw, P S Remesh Chandran, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies

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PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Comments

rama devi nina
16th May 2011 (#)

What an informative and interesting post with excellent pictures, too. Well researched. Thanks for sharing.

Rathnashikamani
16th May 2011 (#)

Wonderful appreciation study by PSRemeshChandra.

I enjoyed reading Pygmalion in 1985 but I didn’t get any chance to watch it on stage or screen.

PSRemeshChandra
16th May 2011 (#)

Dear Rama Devi Nina, Rathnashikamani,
I once had to teach Russell in a B.A. class when I noticed that Russell’s observations on Shaw were from a very close and intimate quarters, being one of his schoolmates I assume, but his presentation of those observations were not of a style that tempt readers to read more and more about Shaw. Therefore I decided then and there to simplify, update and develop his oration, which I gave as a lecture. I consider Shaw second only to Shakespeare, that too, only in conceiving elaborate themes and schemes. It is a pleasure to know that such literary adepts like you enjoyed the work. I will take more care in the future. Thank you both.

Shaw’s Views On Freedom. Re-introduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

22.

Shaw’s Views On Freedom. Re-introduced by P S Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 21st May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1vq_e18x/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 

Bernard Shaw set human minds on fire everywhere. We would be thrilled to even think about the judges, parliament members, writers, academicians and newspaper editors in England, India, America, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Switzerland, China and Russia who very much wished for the head and blood of this acerbic philosopher of wit and wisdom. Shaw’s thoughts on Ultimate Freedom Of Man that infuriated these so called intelligentsia but pleased common people everywhere are reintroduced here.

The fearless intellectual who attacked the Victorian vanity and ostentation.

A colour poster for Shaw’s play.

George Bernard Shaw was a British dramatist, critic and philosopher. He was a Fabian Socialist who led British socialism away from Marx. This fearless intellectual of Irish origin attacked the vanity and ostentation of the English society. Like Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy, he was a staunch vegetarian, bold in his opinions. Arms And The Man, Man And Superman and The Apple Cart are three of his major plays. This article is based on one of his B.B.C. Radio Broadcasts in which he is defining the characteristics of freedom. He is of the opinion that ruling classes talk of freedom for the people but they reserve it only for themselves.

There can never be a perfectly free person theoretically.

A portrait of George Bernard Shaw.

Half the day we are slaves to necessities such as eating, drinking, washing, dressing and undressing. For another one-third of our life time we are slaves to sleep too. So theoretically there can never be a perfectly free person. Chattel slavery is said to have been abolished legally but it continues to be in other forms. Even voting in elections does not liberate a person. Two rich friends ask us for our vote and we have to choose one of the two, which is not real freedom.

Slavery of man to nature is natural but slavery of man to man is unnatural.

The rotating writing hut of Shaw.

Slavery of man to nature is natural whereas slavery of man to man is unnatural. Both are different. Natural wants are slavery indeed but nature is kind to her slaves. Eating, drinking and sleeping are made pleasant experiences. Building families and societies also is made pleasant. ‘We write sentimental songs in praise of them and in England a tramp can earn his supper by singing Home Sweet Home.’ But slavery of man to man is hateful to body and to spirit. In course of time slaves and their masters form their own organizations and enter a civil war known as class war. Karl Marx spent his life proving that slavery of man to man will never stop by itself unless stopped by law. Speaking and oration will not do but everyone has to do his share of the world’s work by his own hands and brain.

That notorious phrase of Shaw, ‘this prodigious mass of humbug.’

A scene from Candida acted on stage.

The combined body of parliaments, legislation, judiciary, literature, education and journalism look to Bernard Shaw as a prodigious mass if humbug which in layman’s terms means Victorian vanity and ostentation. These great institutions of society just promote and help slavery exist and reign in its all forms. They always and everywhere in this world wish to establish and make people think that they are superior to everything and unquestionable. The foolery that is concealed in them is that everywhere in this world people hate these institutions to the depths of their chore. Only the parasites who live by these things would love them. We would be thrilled to even think about the judges, parliament members, writers, academicians and newspaper editors in England, India, America, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Switzerland, China and Russia who very much wished for the head and blood of this philosopher and playwright. But he pleased people everywhere and reflected well their inner feelings. So long as these vain institutions exist in society no absolute and unconditional freedom is possible. These institutions, with the help of a falsified history, snobbery and dishonest politics, through preparatory schools, public schools and universities make citizens think that they are supreme inevitable and of paramount importance. When we read about these lines of Shaw that set human minds on fire everywhere, we should also note that individual freedom of opinion in England at that time was such acute sharp and great that he was not touched. The only other magnificent individual experience of such liberty of not only opinion but action also comes from post- Second World War France of De Gaul where the traffic rules-disobeying Sartre was ordered not to be touched by Surete. When viewed from a distance, those vain institutions Bernard Shaw mention here look really like epithelial corpuscles shed from our body when compared with the ultimate human freedom they imprison and impersonate.

Intellectual slaves of the modern day wish to have an owner and be possessed.

Inside Shaw’s movable writing hut.

Because these great social institutions do not respect real individual freedom and behave always superior to all common citizens at the cost of their internal fury, the inferiors sometimes become bold enough to rise in revolts and upset everything. Some courageous leader who has brain and energy like Napoleon will jump at the chance and become an emperor utilizing the heat of the situation. It has happened inFranceand will happen everywhere else at one time or another. It happened in France not because the people there were autocrat-minded; it was their only way out of intellectual slavery. People everywhere are basically liberty-lovers but the brainwashing by modern social institutions has been such strong and continuous that they have nowadays forgot to revolt. Intellectual slaves in America and Britain will also be willing to vote on ballot papers showing that they are not only revolutionaries but liberty-lovers and democrats also. Occasionally voting becomes a short respite in the long reign of intellectual dependence and submission. Ancient teachers since the time of Aristotle have taught rulers to behave proudly and impress people. In the history of physical comfort we see that people in power won’t sleep in the presence of the public lest their real nature of bestial helplessness and vulnerability would be revealed to the people and all their pride lost. The effect of impressive pride is such strong that modern day slaves find masters indispensable. They wish to have an owner for them. Slaves will not vote for women and women will not vote for women. When voting for women was first introduced in England they utilized it for defeating all women candidates including many who were dedicated to the problems of women. They elected only one woman, no doubt a titled lady of wealth, authority and personality. The slaves have practically no escape from slavishness.

Where there is poverty, we shall not sing about patriotism.

Malvern Theatres where Shaw’s plays were acted.

Human nature is the easiest thing that can be changed. People of England should change their politics through propaganda and education before they get real freedom. Those already schooled in slavery should be de-schooled. Large scale scientific farming and industry will increase national wealth which can also be distributed equally, but too much exploitation of nature through science will backfire. Nature will take her own counter measures in the form of anything, including reverting people’s minds to laziness. Though we can cultivate sky and earth by drawing nitrogen from it to improve the quality of our cattle, grass, milk and eggs, nature may have many tricks up her sleeve to check when we are exploiting her too greedily. This anti-scientific thinker’s comments in this regard are justified. Too much exploitation of nature means too much exploitation of workers which when reach a climax will cause general strikes, thereby dwindling production in their turn. According to Shaw, general strikes are trade unionism gone mad for they halt all production activities. Extravaganza in spending is what deprives production of its usefulness. Shakespeare’s character Eago asked people to put money in their purses and not to take out of it. But people earn the least and spend the most which habit causes poverty. Until poverty is wiped out clean, we shall cease to sing about patriotism because where poverty exists we are not patriots but drones.

What to do with this leisure and riches generated through real freedom?

Shaw’s home at St. Lawrence Herts.

By changing the head and tail of British politics and by freeing it from aristocracy slavery and exploitation, people will begin to get more of leisure and riches. There is a general belief that freedom means more of leisure and more of money to enjoy that leisure which is not true. We have seen the rich and leisurely lose their health and happiness and die gradually. Riches and leisure became poison to them. An idle man’s brain is the Devil’s workshop and Satan will still find mischief for idle hands to do. Thus what to do with the leisure and riches generated through real freedom becomes a riddle which still remains unanswered. Even Bernard Shaw does not dare answer it directly.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

Appreciations, British Essayists And Journalists, British Literature, British Writers, English Essays, English Literature, Essays, Freedom, Freedom Of Opinion, Freedom Of Speech, George Bernard Shaw, Liberty Of Speech, P S Remesh Chandran, Political Philosophy, Politics, Re Introductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies

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PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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The Indispensable Opposition. Walter Lippmann. Appreciation Study

20.

The Indispensable Opposition. Walter Lippmann. Appreciation Study by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 15th May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/js8.djla/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 

A must read for all who love mankind and human speech. An apt admonishment from a long-gone American writer whose great eloquence and excellent arguments in favour of the liberty of speech is once more brought to public attention. His bold opinions are dire predictions which help envision the rise of China as the most oppressive tyrannical rule in the modern world. Going through the article we will wonder whether it is China’s story told 50 years in advance.

Man knows how to speak on one’s back, so freedom of speech exists.

Walter Lippmann. A Portrait.

Walter Lippmann was a famous American writer whose learned lips here speaks to the common man about the principles of freedom of speech in democracies and its suppression in dictatorships. The need for a good, creative and bold opposition in a civilized society is well established. Since the time of man’s formation of his society as clans and tribes, the question of whether all shall have an equal chance for expression of their opinions in the clans or tribes has been a subject for unending debate. Since man knows how to speak on one’s back, expression of opinions has been going on uninterrupted through ages irrespective of the system of rule. Though Lippmann’s ideas on the liberty of speech are too lofty to be compromised and his analysis comprehensive, it should be admitted that his language is not as liquid or lucid as the language of C.E.M. Joad, A.G.Gardiner or Robert Lynd.

Stability of civilization depends on the willingness to consider others’ opinions.

Benjamin Franklin’s Freedom of Thought. A Plaque.

Stability of a civilization depends much on the willingness of people to consider everyone’s opinions. The French philosopher Voltaire once said: “I wholly disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Opinions of opponents must be tolerated, because freedom of speech is an essential ingredient to civilization. Liberty of opinion is a luxury upon which is based the very life of civilization. But liberty of opinion is safe only in pleasant times and only with men of tolerance, for these magnanimous personalities are not deeply and vitally concerned about opposing opinions.

We pay doctors money for asking us embarrassing questions.

A scene from Charlie Chapline’s The Great Dictator

Freedom of speech as a constitutional right has a strong historic foundation. We want to hear what they have to say, so we must protect the right of our opponents to speak. That is why we pay the opposition salaries out of public money. Opposing opinions would improve our own opinions; thus the liberty of others to speak is our own vital necessity. Free thought should be cultivated among youngsters because such needed is the existence of freedom for the existence of civilization. Most often the opinions of opposition might be embarrassing, but we pay doctors money for asking us embarrassing questions. Even dictators tolerate doctors’ free questions.

Isn’t it the story of suppression in China told 50 years in advance?

The Great Dictator played by Charlie Chaplin.

Speaking and listening is the only way to arrive at truth. In totalitarian states also opinions of the opposition have to be heard to and discussed for arriving at the right decisions. But these rulers depend on secret police and party men who filter into the people’s ranks and send reports. Some autocrats rely on their own intuition and some others permit their officers to speak freely in their presence. All exile, imprison or shoot their opponents. A one-way system is established through which opinions of the rulers are broadcast. The official orators speak and the audience listens but they cannot speak back, exactly like George Orwell predicted in his book 1984. As time goes on, critical discussion totally disappears and the internal opposition is liquidated. Some are exiled, many put in concentration camps and a few terrorized. The despot shuts himself off from truth and finally falls into ruin. Hitler, Mussolini, Heyli Selassi, Napoleon First and Third, all met their destiny this way. In the earlier stages they succeed but in later stages they all fall tragically. In the totalitarian states some still manage to voice their opinions through pamphlets and secret radio. But the creative principle of the freedom of speech is not applicable in totalitarian states and dictatorships.

Permitted to proclaiming wisdom in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

Released in 1945 to trace a fugitive.

Things are different in democratic countries. ‘There anyone can stand on his little platform of a soap-box and speak anything as in Kipling’s poem.’ ‘Even in Russia and in Germany a man may still stand in an open field and speak his mind loudly.’ (This was written long before the fall of communism in Russia and Germany through Glasnost and Perestroika and China replacing them in their former positions). The wisest man shall not have to proclaim his wisdom in the middle of the Sahara desert. That would be only a shadow of liberty. The substance of liberty of speech is present only in those places where different opinions resound in the same hall to the same audience. In that sense, freedom of speech may be said to be existing in places like the American Congress, the British Parliament, the Court of Law and the Scientific Conferences. There opinions are not only tolerated but discussed too, which the essence of the freedom of opinion is.

It is not the opinion that is important but the debate that follows.

Tiananmen where Liberty of Speech was murdered.

It is not the opinion that is important but the debate that follows the benefit if which would be that fools would be compelled to listen and learn from the wise man and the wise man too would be compelled to take account of the fool and to instruct him. Radio, movies and newspapers will carry on this process of continued debate. Radio and movie cannot be spoken back to, but newspapers can be. Everything under the Sun can thus be examined and reexamined. As Socrates said, the unexamined life is unfit to be lived by man. Experience tells us that the seed of speech which our fathers planted produces seed only when freedom of opinion becomes the compulsion to speak and debate.

A successful statesman would pray to be left among opponents.

The Cradle of Liberty. Faneuil Hall in Boston.

In whichever angle we look, opposition seems indispensable. It is unavoidable for a good statesman for a good statesman won’t tolerate his mistakes punishing a nation. It is not our friends and supporters but our enemies who study us closely under a microscope and learn about our merits and worth. Living among his enemies and opponents brings out what excellence is there in a man. They show him where the dangers are and where the path of reason and good sense is. Like all sensible human beings, a good statesman learns far more from his opponents than from his fervent supporters. They are the rocks against which the sword of his intelligence is sharpened. A successful statesman would pray to be left among opponents.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

American Essayists And Journalists, American Literature, American Writers, Appreciations, English Essays, English Literature, Essays, Freedom Of Opinion, Freedom Of Speech, Liberty Of Speech, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Political Philosophy, Politics, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies, The Indispensable Opposition, Walter Lippmann

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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PSRemeshChandra
16th May 2011 (#)

Does anyone remember, in the picture shown above, released in 1945 to trace a fugitive, who is the fugitive mentioned?

PSRemeshChandra
7th Jun 2011 (#)

It was one of those few pictures created by artists and released by Anti Nasi Forces to trace their fugitive Adolph Hitler.

Steve Kinsman
10th Jun 2011 (#)

Excellent article. Growing up, Walter Lippmann was a hero of mine.

PSRemeshChandra
11th Jun 2011 (#)

Yes Dear Kinsman,
It is a fine article of his and his arguments also are still very much relevant. He was a hero of democratic thoughts, liberty and freedom of thought. I was very late to come across this author and you were indeed very lucky to have inspired by him from your very early years. I read your poem On The Mountain Side and ran then and there to my mountain again because I was so fascinated by the mountain top atmosphere you created and reminded in the poem.

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