Musings of a Spectator

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Monday, January 10, 2005

Accomodating Perspectives...

I happen to be a TA for humanities course called The Making of the Modern Mind.
It deals with the way the Modern Indian mind is influenced mostly by the set up of the Colonial times. What a period that was! Studying this part of the history probably may sometimes drive the senses out a person if he is not careful enough to observe the common thread that lies to each of the ways in which one can look at it.
Despite all that is said and done, the person who does not lose the common sense is probably the person who has better sense of history.

A friend of mine, is a student of this course. There was a minor assignment on relating the movie "Shatranj Ke Khilari" by Satyajit Ray [story by Munshi Premchand]which is set in 1856 to this course. The notions with which the movie was chosen for the course was that it can be used to show the students a visual representation of the kind of things that happened in 1856. The assignment was to relate the movie in a given format for which a few scenes were given to the students and hints to which they can be related were also added - to make things easier for the students.There was a choice for the students to choose these things or come up with their own independent version on the movie or on particular scenes of the movie.

Now, my friend, saw the movie and came to some different conclusions. He starts with the point - What is it that is there in the movie that can be said to actually depict the state of affairs in 1856? It could as well be some fancy imagination or a kind of thought that emerges on viewing the thing in a particular fashion. [By the way, he starts off at a very seemingly alarming gesture (to me at least)- that the movie was about two gays and their life set at some time in the history!] I tried resisting his "atrocious" views in the beginning. And tried to bring in some other notions towards this aspect. But later felt that there was no point in doing so and in fact was fascinated by his arguments

His point rests on the point that whatever has been shown is a fancy imagination - since it does not have any direct significance in terms of relating it to a real occurrence at any point of time. And he has his reasons for it which start by questioning the ideas that make it appear to be doing justice to the "fact" of being that period itself.

The beauty in his point was to notice that the point where the arguments begin is where a new set of notions can begin. It is at the fulcrum that one can make the turns, however opposite in direction they are, to the tale.

Now coming to history or for that matter anything where there are some axioms and theories built on them, there are many things that one can start off spinning if one starts from the basic premise on which whole interpretations lie. And the interpretations however logical they are form only a part of the actual tale, but may never be the whole. Now, in case of the alternate interpretation, probably, one should appreciate the other side - given that it is a tale from the other side of the hologram. Trying for such a kind of accommodative spirit and accepting what we like yet not disapproving of what you don;t is something that one should try and do.

That is when we can say that we are actually "Accommodating Perspectives"

Sunday, January 09, 2005

First Thoughts ....

When I first saw this famous quote by Des Cartes - "I think, therefore I am." I understood in a very different way as opposed to the way it was meant. While reading Russell's Problems of Philosophy, I realised that Des Cartes used this as his basis for knowing his existence ! But yeah, what was the way in which I understood it?

I take it for granted that each person in the world is unique. But how does one see and appreciate this uniqueness? The above quote served me well. It is "thinking" that makes the difference, so I felt. And if one does not show his uniqueness in the world, then probably he may not be in a position to claim that this is "mine" - and as per my feeling - it is thinking that makes the difference.

So if one has to claim that he is this - then it is his thinking that decides it. And if one does not exercise his thinking skills then probably never would he able to say "therefore, I am."

I begin here...

Not long ago, a close friend of mine,also one of the seniors in my college, with whom I am very closely associated, published his first paper - something related to the use of PDAs and its relevance in ICT4D - at a conference held in Bhopal where he said he came across this very interesting person called Atanu Dey who is an Economist and told me to go through his writings at (You may definitely like to read them!). I checked it out and was really impressed.

More or less at the same time, another close friend who is already into this blogging world for about sometime now, told me about his blog - As I read the various things, and as I came across more and more blogs, somewhere somehow , felt that may be it is time, I started recording what goes through my mind about the world as I can see it. Never felt that I ever have to record about what I thought.

I used to feel that I could remember my thoughts as if they were just a day old. Thoughts that I had about many things that I observed right from my childhood. Always felt that my thought - given a situation would be the same - without any reference to the space and time related aspects. But how do I check them? Not possible without recording them. So let it be that this blog of mine survives the test of time!
- Amen