Posts tagged ‘Indian’

Plato and the Indian thought

 “I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the common foes we face: Anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, hopelessness..” was the clarion call given by the new US President soon after his swearing-in. That’s more like a sermon delivered by a spiritual master extolling his audience to face and confront the inner enemies than an inaugural address of a nation-head whose journey to the highest office was laden with unprecedented challenges, even when his election was endorsed by the vast majority of his countrymen. The idea of Philosopher King, propounded by Plato, conceptualises the ruler as a man of immense wisdom, a lover of truth and above all, an epitome of grace and humility. These qualities of the head and heart confers a commanding authority on the ruler to guide the populace to a purposeful life and Joe Biden, in his maiden Presidential speech exhibited traits, as depicted in The Republic, in amble measure.

Authored more than two millenniums ago, The Republic, concerns itself with the question of justice and ethics in politics and enunciate the necessary attributes of the ruler to ensure an enlightened administration. Through a long winding dialogue with his disciple Socrates, Plato conclusively establishes that a just rule is a prerequisite for happiness of the subjects and, that personal ethics cannot be separated from public good. This seminal work has since been the topic of countless scholarly thesis on politics and on its operation and continue to subject itself to varied interpretations. This is more so since politics, as an instrument to advance common good, has long been accepted as an established reality and many a political philosophies can trace their origins to the Platonic dialogues. But more than the intellectual idealism that Plato talks about, it is pragmatism and its clever manipulation that held sway the realm of politics for the last many centuries. While even progressive ideas of democracy and liberalism were tempered by the need to be expedient, fascism and colonialism were active state policies for outright subjugation though designed ostensibly to establish the rule of law for good part of the last two centuries..    .

Politics has always been torn apart by the idealism of universal welfare on the one hand and the more practical concern of effectively governing the state, on the other. Since all are not created equal, it is argued that all cannot be treated as equals and this opened up a plethora of possibilities for discrimination in the guise of race, colour, religion and gender. And with discrimination came the need to control and subjugate and they in turn unleashed counter forces of freedom and liberty. Towards the nineteenth century when democracy and liberal ideas took firm roots in many European countries, it also advanced competitive politics to gain state power and threw up in the process, many leaders with Machiavellian tendencies. Cunning and manipulative, these leaders deployed unethical means to gain and advance their political power. Modern history is replete with a long list of such calculative tyrants who while capturing power and advancing it marshalled grandiose theories of racial superiority and the like to explain their unethical forays. And the idea of justice and rule of the wise as propounded by Plato were all but forgotten.

But the Indian philosophical thought and thus the statecraft was always guided by the eternal principles of Dharma which is the bedrock of all the Vedas and the scriptures. Dharma implies a non-negotiable adherence to righteousness in all its ramifications and at all times and is independent to the preferences and prejudices of the practitioners of the statecraft. And we see Krishna, an avowedly compassionate Lord, extolling his disciple Arjuna to fight and annihilate his enemies for the establishment of righteousness even if it meant killing his cousins and more importantly, his own teacher. Thus the idea of justice, ethics and morality are long implanted in the Indian psyche much before they find mention in modern political theories.

As the Platonic idea of justice resonate with the Indian concept of Dharma, the elevation of the new US President augurs well for the practice of these concepts.

Yours

Narayanan    

February 1, 2021 at 1:01 am 15 comments

The great Indian stitch-less garment

Of the countless variety of trousseaus that unravel and enhance the innate charm of a lady, there isn’t an attire that is so captivating in elegance yet distinct in demeanour, stately and dignified yet sublimely sensuous as the stitch-less Indian garment, the Saree.  For the one who could carry it with élan, the saree confers poise and authority, style with substance and endow the feminine persona an aura of majesty.  With folds and pleats, laces and entrancingly winding hems, the draping of this very adorable apparel is as intricate and delicate as the designs and patterns that are woven on them.  The six yard eloquence on yarn is at once a loud proclamation of the genius of the Indian craft and a silent tribute to the glory of the womanhood.  

While a neatly worn saree presents the picture of a complete woman, each subtle shift in the way it is draped could epitomize an image of femininity that is distinctively different from each other. If the casual hanging of the Pallu (the loose end) over the left shoulder of an erect frame could be suggestive of a woman with authority, taking it around the back to the other shoulder could instantaneously symbolize deep modesty. Tuck it around the waist and there is a person ready for combat or cover it around the head and a woman of humility and reverence is born.  For the tall and the slim, the saree could just be the medium to flaunt a chiselled figure and for the plump and the rounded the saree perfectly hides the extra fat from public gaze. The saree could conceal as much as you want it to reveal! With gracious steps and a flowing tress, the lady decked up in the finest Banares silk is a picture of most tantalizing beauty that the eyes could behold whereas with a bun of gray hair, the octogenarian in starched Pochumpally eludes a charm that is equally mesmerizing.  The saree is the most egalitarian among dresses that doesn’t really let anyone down.

An essential accomplice to the stitch-less garment is the decoratively tailored jacket that is worn on the upper torso. With an amazing variety of cuts, shapes and designs, the jacket is indeed a canvas to showcase the skills of the couturier to complement and enhance the appeal of the fabric. Full sleeved or spaghetti strapped, stringed back or off shoulders, the jackets are natural extensions to saree that together would cast a spell on all and sundry.

But the modern day young Indian women seemed to have lost her moorings with this awe-inspiring garment as they are mostly seen in listless outfits. The saree, sadly, is now no more a regular wear, being confined to be worn for the occasional wedding receptions. For the working and the travelling woman, pants and jeans could be more a convenient option but when it comes to making a statement or to leave an impact, there isn’t yet a competition to the great Indian stitch-less garment.

Yours

Narayanan

July 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm 23 comments


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