Thursday, December 29, 2011

the romantic imagination

Being as an English literature student I have always welcomed the chance of learning new ideas. I have seen myself as a small fish in this vast ocean of whose vastness I really don’t seem to have any idea. Although I have been a part of it since 3 years but every time I come across any new piece of work I have felt myself as a beginner, who have just started to know what literature is all about and the aura that it carries within itself.

I underwent a similar experience when I first read about Wordsworth – the man of romantic poetry!! Well let me make out very clear here itself, “romantic” doesn’t just mean what we (as the 21st century generation) perceive about it!! It is much more than our imagination can ever think about!! Romantics…romanticism…were much sought after words in post neo-classical age (18th century). Imagination was a fundamental part of that era. Poets of this age like William Wordsworth, S.T.Coleridge and so on were conscious of a wonderful capacity to create imaginary worlds. This belief in imagination was part of the contemporary belief in individual self. The romantics created the worlds of their own and also succeeded in persuading others that their world were not merely fanciful!! Their aim was to convey the mystery of things through individual manifestations; they appeal not to the logical mind but to the complete self, to the whole range of intellectual faculties, senses and emotions.

In nature all the romantic poets found their initial inspiration. Through it they found those exalting moments when they passed from sight to vision and pierced to the secrets of the universe. Nature lifted Wordsworth out of himself; he sought for a higher state in which its soul and the soul of man should be united in a single harmony. As a romantic poet his task was to find through the imagination some transcendental order, which explains the world of appearances and accounts not merely for the existence of visible things but for the effect, which they have on us, for the sudden beating of the heart in the presence of beauty. His poetry serves to enlighten the whole conscious self of man; wake the imagination to the reality, which lies behind familiar things; it makes us see that mere logic is not enough and that what we need is inspired intuition.

Wordsworth says that the duty of the poetry is ‘to treat things not as they are, but as they appear, not as they exist in themselves, but as they seem to exist to the senses…’. His poem “Tintern Abbey” distils and retells the maturation process of the poet himself, his imagination and his relationship with Nature through a narrative of Wordsworth time spend on the banks of Wye River and his remembrances of it. Wordsworth produced a style of poetry which was psychologically persuasive and based on direct autobiographical experience. In his view poetry was a philosophical vehicle and meditative activity formed from ‘emotion recollected in tranquillity’; it was a means of apprehending a natural landscape charged with divine significance. His poetry is the poetry of consciousness becoming aware of itself, a poetry of transcendence in which individual soul touches Divinity by putting aside the petty needs of ego and materialistic distractions. He achieved morality from nature; it was “the anchor of my purest thoughts/the nurse, the guide, the guardians of my heart and soul”.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No Black and White, Only Grey!!

Amidst the debate of lokpal bill, food security bill and so on...i would like to take a break from it and talk about the much hyped news regarding FDI in retail!!

The government's obsession with this policy can be interpreted as symbolic declaration of the commitment to neoliberal reforms of a govt. paralysed by charges of abetting corruption and shielding black money and failures ranging from persisting inflation to faltering industrial growth!! It can also be interpreted as a desire to please international investors and govts. ...But... Without deviating much from the issue (about which i am genuinely interested and worried too) and delve into further interpretations i want to put forth my views regarding the sudden revelation (pun intended) of the policy that is believed to have a "unique Indian imprint"

Govt may believe that the policy of FDI will serve good for the economy of India as well as its ppl!! But they also must be familiar with d arguments who r critical of this. Considering their arguments, they begin wid the view that once the doors to foreign investment in the retail sector are opened, giant international retailers such as Walmart, Carrefour will use the opportunity to get a share of the large Indian market. While domestic conglomeration had played a role in the rapid development of organised retail in China, Malaysia and Thailand, the presence of foreign firms had grown substantially. The debate on FDI in retail revolves around the consequences of the growing presence and rising market share of these global giants. These chains, with international sourcing capabilities, tend to exploit economies in storage and distribution to outcompete and displace domestic intermediaries in the supply chain. Once the smaller middlemen are displaced there are large firms and their agents dealing with the producers on one side and consumers on the other.

With this proposal their also arises issues of concern. The first is the impact that the transformation in retail wud hv on small producers, espcly in the farm sector. Though large, organised retail outlets tend to attract consumers by offering a diverse range of products at a single location, there is a tendency to standardise each of the products on offer. This results in the subordination of the producer to the buyer, transactions are no more arm's length in nature. It is of course true that agriculture is not a homogeneous sector, with farmers of different types engaged in production. It is true to some extent that farmers will benefit from the transformation in retail. But they are by no means the majority, and not all of them are likely to experience an improvement in their daily lives. Moreover, since global chains are allowed to and are equipped to source supplies from anywhere in the world, these farmers will be subject to competition from the cheapest global sources!!
The second concern is that even when farmers' earning are under pressure, consumers may not benefit from the promised reduction in prices resulting from cost economies and the benefits of scale accruing to large intermediaries. Lower prices for consumers may be the initial fallout when existing intermediaries are being competed out to provide space for large retailers. But once the retail trade is concentrated in a few firms, retail margins themselves could rise, especially in years when domestic supply falls short!!
Finally, within the supply chain itself, a range of pre-existing operators (street vendors, kirana stores. wholesale dealers) would be displaced. The immediate effect would be a substantial loss of employment in the unorganised retail trade as well as segments of the wholesale trade displaced by the big retail chains.

Sections in the govt have been pushing ahead with the FDI agenda blindly ignoring the fact that the retail sector is central to the livelihoods of crores of families! In my view it will just add to the platter of investors and govt officials who already have their "domestic economies" prospering vis-a-vis black money and scams!! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

divide and rule

They divided up all the land
And we have got countries
They divided up all the land
Land within a land within a land
And we have got states and territories
Districts and cities
Cities have their neighbourhood
And more subdivisions.

There are lots of codes
And money in the pockets loads and loads
Area code, bar code, telephone code
Nine digit zip code
Secret decoder ring code
Arteries, shopping codes,
Street codes, passport…

Subtraction and division
And new ruling provisions
Parties poll stunts
Is there on hunt

Police sate is too busy
Judiciary is too lazy
Mending cases with hazy eyes
Justice delays and witness dies…

It’s all there before our eyes
Our “welfare” hides bitter lies

It’s not about us my friend
But YOU and I.

my body my mind

was hired by the body.
unfortunately got a bit zesty about it.
Hence, the body beat her,
mostly killed her.

The work is, however,
in progress.

God's own folks,
put a
good, guaranteed brain onto me;
storing mine safely away.

Then, once, somewhere,
I did find mine, my brain.
I fixed it back to me.

Now I get lost in these brains of mine,
Though I do manage to peek out and get some
glimpses of me
sitting low in some corners of my brain.

I sleep silently,
never knowing
my mind will lurk out of the dark and finish me.

Time passes by,
I stand strong-kneed, locked-legged.

She made
a river flow
into a desert.

People said
"No river has come this way.
How would a river come to the desert?"

She built a dam
over that river.
People said, "No,
How would a dam be built in this desert?"

The dam burst; a flood.
They asked, "How could a flood overtake our desert?"
"There are no floods in this desert."

The flood drowned them all.
Many voices were heard:
"How could such things take place in our desert?"
"Such things do not take place in our desert."