November 09, 2012

Modern woman is Public enemy

The origin of Indian culture and philosophy marks the beginning of literary criticism in India. Indian poetic theory bears evidence to the impact of rich, cultural, philosophical and religious heritage on Sanskrit literature. The theory of beauty is not only confined to literary forms of Poetry, Literature and Drama but is also applicable to other arts like music, dance, painting, and sculpture. The Hindus first developed the science of music from the beginning of Vedic Hymns. The Samaveda was especially meant for music. And the scale with seven notes and three octaves was known in India centuries before Greeks had it…
The new aesthetics that began with the impact of western thought culminates in Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy of art. Sri Aurobindo bases his philosophy on ancient Indian thought and experience revivified, regenerated and reshaped in his own being. He is one of the most significant outstanding thinkers who helped in recovering the lost tradition in aesthetics. The western concept of Art’s for Art’s sake is true only up to a certain point in Indian aesthetics. Aesthesis is not merely confined to reception of poetry and art but it extends to everything in the world. In Sri Aurobindo’s aesthetics all the dualities of ugliness, pain and pleasure are within the sphere of aesthetics. It encompasses heaven as well as earth, evil as well as good, spirit as well as matter. There can be an aesthetic response in truth also – a joy in the beauty, a love created by its charm, a rapture in the finding an aesthetic joy in its expression.

Tantra focuses on the energy of creation, the Divine Shakti, and its manifestation through the world of forms. Tantra provides a first basis for a serious potential significance to life and rebirth. Sri Aurobindo describes the tantric perspective: “The Tantric solution shows us a supreme superconscient Energy which casts itself out here into teeming worlds and multitudinous beings and in its order the soul rises from birth to birth and follows its million forms, till in a last human series it opens to the consciousness and powers of its own divinity and returns through them by a rapid illumination to the eternal superconscience.
We can see here the essence of the idea of an evolution of forms, and a progressive embodiment of ever higher levels of consciousness in these successively developed forms. We see here a real potential value and meaning to the life and struggle we experience in the universe. The tantric proposition thus approaches a solution that can answer all the questions and concerns.
Where the tantric approach is still incomplete is that it still posits as the eventual goal the abandonment of life into a supreme superconscience, so that eventually the significance it attributes to life is ephemeral and temporary in nature. Sri Aurobindo points out that “We find at last the commencement of a satisfying synthesis, some justification of existence, a meaningful consequence in rebirth, a use and a sufficient though only temporary significance for the great motion of the cosmos.
The difficulty remaining is essentially that there is obviously so much consciousness, energy, effort and organization involved in the manifestation of the universe that we still cannot find it sufficient as a rationale for all of this, that the goal remains one of “escape”. As Sri Aurobindo points out: “…the supreme Energy constructs too long and stupendous a preparation for so brief and so insufficient a flowering.

Even as the hungry wolves and hounds in the dangerous vital world are attacking Savitri, she is alert enough to recall the savior Name. At once peace comes to her. A similar situation was encountered by Aswapathy when he entered into the depths of Night. He dared into Hell’s kingdom with a prayer upon his lips and the great Name. Savitri with that savior name immediately enters into nameless peace. However, there is yet a greater danger, of the terrible Life-Force in the depths of darkness. Here could exist Falsehood and Error leading to dangerous situations.

Focusing on the early literary experiences of women in the east Indian state of Orissa, this volume offers valuable insights into the conditions for these women at a time when the region witnessed the advent of Brahmo Samaj, the campaign for widow remarriage, the legal movement for the abolition of untouchability, the rise of women's education and trade union movements, and the struggle for national independence.

Trapped in a sieve The verbal attacks on women by self-appointed guardians of Indian culture show it is open season on ‘modern’ women in a tradition-entranced society. Sagarika Ghose writes. HT November 08, 2012
A fashionable cultural conservatism dominates a land in the throes of the seismic shocks of liberalisation and westernisation. Elaborately dressed ladies lined up on karva chauth to view their husbands through sieves and fast for their eternal health… Tradition has returned with a bang and asking questions about patriarchal festivals or the glorification of wifehood is seen as anti-national, anti-tradition, in short a spoilsport in the return-to-roots party. No wonder increasingly the modern woman is Public Enemy No. 1 and assertive women in public are vilified as creatures who deserve a public stoning… Modern women or the idea of the modern woman who is different from the stereotypical bharatiya nari is on a collision course with an already patriarchal society like India in the throes of rediscovering its traditions. While a colourful fiesta of annual rituals are happy and positive features, yet when they go hand-in-hand with upholding backward values, they start to become deeply dangerous. Sagarika Ghose is deputy editor, CNN-IBN.

Rewrite the Purusa-sukta Sagarika Ghose: IE Apr 15, 2003
Dalit historian Kancha Ilaiah has a suggestion. Just as the Vatican meets periodically to modernise catholicism, he says, the shankaracharyas should meet in conclave to modernise Hinduism. They should not only re-write the Purusa-sukta, but they should also decree that everyone, every woman, every tribal, every dalit, has the right to be priest of God and God is not the exclusive preserve of the brahmin. The event will have tremendous symbolic value, provide a turbine charge to India’s quest for modernity and Bhim Rao will at last be vindicated. The event will have tremendous symbolic value, provide a turbine charge to India's quest for modernity and Bhim Rao will at last be vindicated…
Perhaps for the renewal of Indian society, to create a spiritual awakening and to revitalize our culture, indeed to become a social democracy even as we are a political democracy, we need, as a conscientious public, to re-write the purusa sukta. Imagine what a thrill such an exercise will send out through our land. Imagine the amazing symbolic power of such a revision. Imagine the massive cultural and social renaissance it will create if the shankaracharyas or the heads of mathas or the mahamandaleswars at Varanasi all decided that for the sake of a massive spiritual and democratic symbol, they will rewrite this ancient yet fundamentally unjust hymn. Imagine the power of change. Sagarika Ghose's Blog: Re-write the Purusa-Sukta 9 Feb 2006 – There is a wonderful work on the Indian caste system called Homo Hierarchicus by Louis Dumont.
A festival of music and dance to celebrate the lives and poetic compositions of women bhaktas and sufis (6th to 18th Century AD) 6, 7, 8, 9 November 2012. Daily 6 p.m to 9 pm ICCR audotorium, Azad Bhavan IP Estate, Behind ITO, New Delhi. Program 9th Nov 2012:
13. M.S. Sheela (South Indian classical music)
14. Revathi Ramachandran (Bharatnatyam)
15. Saswati Sen. (Kathak)
16. Anjalee Kaul (Kashmir sufi music) 

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