Sunday, January 30, 2005

technocracy and the media.

mainstream media has long been bought over by the capitalists. its not surprising then, that capitalisms allying with technocracy should result in technocracy taking over media.

look at what technology has done for mainstream media : every channel from music to 24 hour news has eagerly lapped up what technology has to offer. why, look at the recent wars - the buzz words been embedded journalism. then slow down and look at what that has done.

those million minute snippets coming in (ostensibly to create a bigger, better picture) have flooded us with so much data that nobody has the time to stop, sift and analyse the import of what they are seeing - least of all the anchors going on air live at the studios. you bet theyll report any old thing they can think of! you almost feel sorry for them - the pawns of the system.

the media are bombarding us with so many messages so many times a day, that were simply too stunned to be able to even try to understand what were being told. our minds are being battered into acceptance. zombie state.

sound like a whacko conspiracy theory? not really. look at mainstream media. who owns it? if you look at global channels, they are basically owned by around 10 media houses. around 6 of these are american..... guess what kind of messages and whose propaganda youll be hearing. (go go go guys : lets find those WMDs in eye-raq!)

then consider the internet. again, it is primarily owned by the rich guys. in the most subtle, effective way possible, anything contrary to mainstream culture is suppressed or distorted. (an art that mainstream media is very good at : during the 70s, a small band of anti-technocrat writers called their underground journal "fuck you" so that it wouldnt be noticed and distorted by mainstream media.)

to give you a concrete example of what im talking about, why dont you log on to an online encyclopaedia like millions of others. now try searching for toril moi. she happens to be a cult feminist figure - authored sexual/textual politics (which does not promote mainstream culture!) youll see what happens.

try searching for theodore roszak. a man who was an icon to rebellious youth of the 70s. a man who spoke against technocracy and the way it was shattering our social systems. see what happens. search for douglas adams.

now final exercise : please do try this one whatever you do! - search for the technocratic movement, and read the section on opposition to technocracy. for the most part, you wont be able to access information : youll find only paid articles. you have to search for ages to find a free, available-to-all write up. so far, i have found only one site - and even in that one, it was a lousy, incomplete presentation of facts!.... the more youve read about anti technocracy, the more horrified youll be about how theyve played with the words to suppress the concept.

even on online book stores, if you just try searching for reviews of feminist literature or something anti-patriarchal. youll get minimal (if any) results. search for a capitalist or communist manifesto. bingo. because those are mainstream medias staple diet.

what you dont know, you cannot question. if we make you search like hell to see it, and then present a warped wrong image, would you know enough to recognise the flaws?


Wednesday, January 26, 2005


my teacher told me that theres a comfort in knowing that nothings certain. that uncertainity is reassuring. hes not one to make trite remarks, so i didnt dismiss that straight off, but i did not accept it either. (its my back handed compliment to him that i always argue with him: hes the only person whose word ill take for gospel truth, but because hes so sensible, i cant be so foolish as to do that!!)

to return to the point. im beginning to believe him. it does seem to be comforting to know that things are seldom what they seem. that nothing is certain - least of all the way we live and die. for one thing, its wonderful to think that the shitty things we see in the world around us are not the entire picture, that its not certain that the world will continue to be a filthy place (we idealists are incorrigible!)

i suppose with a such view you also become so open to new ideas that you adapt faster without wasting time going through denial and reluctant acceptance... you roll and break the falls cos youre not rigid.

i increasingly value that ability : to be able to see things clearly, without the fear that if you do, it may rock the foundations of your world as you know it... look at how many important things we are slow to learn because we are resistant to change. change of thoughts, change of views. the first thing we do, is get defensive.

if i remember right, gibran said something along these lines "Strange that creatures without backbones have the hardest shells"... quite a scathing commentary on people and their wilful blindness!


Tuesday, January 25, 2005


the context – youre feeling lousy about something. then someone comes along and says, listen, havent you heard the story about the guy who felt bad he didnt have shoes, and then he saw the guy who didnt have feet?

i hate that attitude.

ive a simple question to ask people who say that : is your experience of life so pathetic, that the only way you can feel good is to see someone worse off?

life is bigger, more beautiful and vibrant than that. please, dont belittle it so.

yes, you should be grateful for what you have. you should be conscious and aware of the fact that you are fortunate for having this this and this. when i have water to drink, cook, bathe and wash my clothes, i do need to be aware that there is someone who is dying because they dont. that awareness is so that i may be more discriminating in my use of the water i do have, so that i dont waste it but use it responsibly.

but your equation shouldnt be that the necessary condition for your feeling good is that someone else should be feeling bad. such an attitude is nowhere as clean or virtuous as wed like to pretend it is. it stinks.

i mean just follow through that train of reasoning to its logical end : were saying that there should always be people feeling miserable in order for us to feel good. nice, gracious and lovable arent we....



ive written a lot about things that made me angry - this is about something that made me feel really happy. though i still dont believe in a god in the conventional sense, this helps me. i hope you read this one of those days when youre wondering if theres any justice in this world... you know, when you work your way to atheism effortlessly in 10 seconds flat! :-)

as a kid, it used to bother me so much that the good side was always so helpless. i mean, the virtuous people would stand by, wring their hands and lament that evil was happening, but they wouldnt DO anything. the baddies on the other hand, were a bunch of hyperactive, forward-thinking guys.

that too since i used to believe in a benevolent god, it was very difficult to keep hearing how actively intelligent evil was, while good was being hopelessly insipid and inactive!

but one day in sanskrit class we did a stunning verse.

dharmo eva hatho hanthi dharmo rakshathi rakshithaha
thasmath dharmo na hanthavyo ma no dharmo hatho avadheeth

which simply blew that myth apart and left you cheering wildly!

loosely translated, the stanza says “if you protect your code (dharma), it will protect you. you sacrifice it, and it will end you”. or in mafia terms : dont mess with dharma!

HAH! now check that out! dharma is an active concept. it is intelligent. its alert. it applies the karmic forces and makes complicated judgements and protects itself. awesome. that rates infinitely higher than any cheap asura's war plans!

now youre talking!


dick francis.

dick francis is a fantastic writer.

look at his protagonists : the men are not beefy all-biceps-no-brains guys, and the women are not brainless bimbos.

how many authors would you find, portraying their hero as a handicapped guy (not a macho male) with one arm and the normal amounts of emotions and intelligence? i think his books are a quiet statement of good writing.

i like especially the stories where these nice ethical nuances are highlighted... but you know whats really nice? the way "The Hero" also feels scared and is in fact cynically laughing at himself but anyway saying ok, this needs to be done, so lets somehow gather the guts to do it... its all so natural!

the best part about his writing : when he describes characters, he sees them through a persons gaze. as in his people are not described like objects : they have personality and character and quirks... the descriptions of men and women are not restricted to parts of the body. which, if you look at it, is again a nice, quiet way of busting stereotypes.

hes no feminist theorist, not fashionable like sartre (ugh!), but oh, does he have class! - just another example of how you dont need to be in the "right" profession to do something good...


Saturday, January 22, 2005

i agree!

" I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. "

John Adams

"If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much."

Marian Wright Edelman

super no?! i really love these two quotes.... clear and clean intentions.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

first world? says who?

the sheer arrogance and unfounded conceit of the thing leaves you (or at least, leaves me) speechless!! the “first world” refers to the half of the world which most lacks culture, has the greater instances of human rights violations, is imperialist, violent beyond belief and technocratic?

this classification is obviously on the basis of money and economic power. im sorry if i sound red (i emphatically am not a marxist) but its no bloody coincidence that the rich uns are also the crassest uns!

if that werent bad enough, this side of the globe – which was home to the oldest civilisations and most religions, rich in traditions and culture, with at least a wobbly sense of ethics – gets to be called the third world?

its so blatant that the gulf between the two “worlds” is meant to be there. please, lets not delude ourselves that the “first” world is working towards bridging it!..... ever heard them refer to any place as the “second” world?

theres a whole “world” of difference between us and them, and its meant to be that way!

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as usual, its upto the women

in old english, "maid" simply meant a young girl. its no coincidence that now, a maid is someone pretty much like a slave.

feminism, characterised by its concern for all life, has had a wide range of concerns. the feminist cause has joined hands with others like anti-war, peace, pro-choice, anti-technocratic, homosexuality rights, childrens rights, etc to name a few.

lets just stop for a minute and think...... how many of these causes actually stood up for feminism in turn? how much support and importance did the feminists rate after such a display of all embracing concern? what thanks for not being tunnel visioned or selfish?

the sad thing is, though such an array of issues dilutes the fight for simple empowerment of women, feminism cannot afford to be myopic enough to ditch them!

the reason i bring up this issue now is the latest india today article on the (scandalous) lives of school children. it reported how kids have started boozing, having sex, doing drugs and porn etc without a second thought, and as early as 7th grade.

through the entire article you hear the constant refrain "even the girls have started" ....... what message are we sending? that moral degeneracy is magnified because of which gender you belong to? in that case, is the acknowledged superior gender (womenkind) given any respect and treat a whit better? or is it simply again a case of "boys will be boys"? (i HATE that sentence with a deep and deadly hatred) in which case aren't we conveniently allowing (in fact encouraging and ratifying) boys any amount of licence to do what the hell they please by virtue of their gender? what the hell are we trying to say?

especially in such an article, if the author was shocked and angry about anything, it should have been at the influences on such young vulnerable minds. but no, according to him, guys have always been doing dope, smoking, boozing, sex (with whom pray, since homosexuality is taboo?!) so its not news. whats really pissed him off is that girls have started now.

one brilliant school has decided to act assertively - by banning the girls from wearing skirts. ummm, excuse me?! very constructive. clever adults.

as usual, in the middle of schools trying keep their noses clean, media hyping the incidents and parents turning a blind eye and trying to buy their childrens love, nobody wants to stop and question the social system thats creating and sustaining this mess. up the patriarchy.

plus, as teachers and parents scramble to pass the buck rather than sit down with the kids and do something to help them, it will be up to the feminists (as usual) to clean up everyone elses shit for them. its time to head for the ditches again. oh boy.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The ringing of the division bell

When you listen to any Floyd album, you are alone in your private world – even if you’re physically in a crowd. The way I’ve experienced it, you’re in a cocoon within which you let your mind float to the boundaries of your ideology. You explore what lies beneath and beyond your usual censored horizon. All the things you wilfully shut out and refuse to think about stand clear and tall before you demanding your attention.

The Division Bell will always be a special album. I know even at 80, when I hear this album, I will clearly recall these days – the conflicts between what should be and what is, ideology and friendship, the struggle to stay true to dreams.... And above all, the sense of exhilaration and strength in the songs : the unspoken declaration that we can rebuild our hopes after theyve been shattered by The System. You’re never through with facing system failure in one spree: you have to face it in each of its dirty stages. So each time you face a new bout of depression and hopelessness, of desperation – and then blind resolution that even if you go down, you will go down fighting. This album has seriously pulled me through each crisis I’ve had!

Another reason its significant is because of the time I’ve discovered it : a time when our gang is slowly choosing, and starting to walk their paths in life. Some choices seem to be super inspiring and you feel proud of the person for standing up for what they believe in. Some choices test your friendship because they are sooo disappointing.... This person do this? They’re giving up without even trying? – Or even worse, this person’s become one of Them?? I’ll always maintain, seeing it get the people you like makes it a personal crusade against the system!

It is one of my deepest hopes that the gang will survive the division bell’s tolling and stay together. I hate writing anything emotionally personal – but this is something I feel strongly about. I’m tempted to create a convenient loophole saying, you know – this is just a temporary “youth” thing, but thats not true! :-) This – the frustration, confusion, resolution – is lasting. I think that’s why generation after generation we’re returning to Bob Dylan and Floyd. As long as there are ideals and a technocracy to shatter them, at least young people will a search for an alternate culture to flee to.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Your right to live - going once, twice..

this is following a discussion that I had with some people. Let me set the context first: we were discussing how, when we go to a developed country, we are thoroughly conditioned. how we forget the basic lifestyle and real problems here. and therefore how most of us who go abroad, stay abroad.

i cited the attitude towards water as an example of deep conditioning. when here, the person would have awaited the metro water lorry’s daily rounds as eagerly as any of us! you cant have lived here without seeing how parched the city is in the summer – how people struggle for water. but as soon as we go abroad, we forget that there is a thing like a water shortage in another part of the world. we blissfully leave the taps running, use bath tubs and generally find a million ways to waste water without a second thought.

someone said that the first world has a “right” to waste water. that they had paid for the water they used, and could therefore do anything they wanted with it. which is when i was really scared...... were we going to again put a price tag on something beyond mere numbers?

when we say that an American or European has the “right” to waste something as precious as water because he can afford it, what are we doing to the poor soul dying for lack of water in an Asian or African country? What are we implying? That he hasn’t "bought" his right to live?

if our survival is to depend on the price tag that we can slap on ourselves, what happens to those who will never be consumers? to those who live in abject poverty while they pay for our freedom and opulent lifestyle?

i think its especially bitter when a person who is living on the margins of society says such things. we have been discriminated against, yet we will blindly repeat whatever we are taught to because we have been so well conditioned - so what if the policies were mouthing spell our own doom.

whether we like to concede it or not, the colour of our skin still matters, as does our gender, our physical appearance, our “normalcy” etc. each society has its own caste system – while we may fancy ourselves equal to the white man by living the way he does and eating the way he does, we will never be his equal. when push comes to shove, we are always the second priority.
(unfortunately by the time we learn this the hard way, we would have already spent a couple of years and the better part of our career in whichever foreign country.)

yknow, thats another thing..... while were discussing this, ive something to say about those who are paid by a foreign employer - people working in multinationals and people living abroad.

sometimes its a case of divided loyalties for ‘em : do they subscribe to the dirty politics of the current host country (which is feeding and paying them now) or do they support their home country and be loyal to their roots? i think without doubt, they should NOT support the politics of the first world. the guys paying you your money yes, but he doesnt own your soul dammit! have a spine – you owe him that much that you will decently abide by his rules.... but you dont trample on other people because he says so.

money goes this far and no further.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

a guy thing .

ive noticed that many men are very comfortable saying the word “rape”. being able to say “rape” comfortably means youre a man of the world.... in fact, being able to say rape confers a status on you, similar to the one when youre able to rattle off the current credit reserve ratio stipulated by the rbi.

but say “sexual abuse” before the same guy, and he hems and haws and looks away, looking and feeling immensely uncomfortable. the typical patriarchal kind decides you must be one of those hysterical, over-agitated, man-eater kinda feminists to say it. the nice ones just say something like hey come on.... you know.... i mean.... why dyou want to talk about that? they both agree, sexual abuse doesnt rate high as popular dinner table conversation.

i think this is very significant on many counts.

when decent guys refuse to talk about abuse - and ive noticed this in many of them – its because they are torn between loyalties. patriarchy has conditioned men into such strong buddy-bonding that they dont know whether to be loyal to the other guys, or to believe the women they personally trust, know etc. its a lousy social system that brings down the equation to this.

so when they are so uncomfortable talking about sexual abuse, they will naturally refuse to accept that it exists.... and we are never going to be able to address the issue - if you insist theres no problem, why would you even remotely think of ways to solve it?

also, when we refuse to talk about sexual abuse, and make it one of those things that Should Not Be Spoken Of, we refuse to acknowledge the victim : each scream of pain, of protest and outrage is being ruthlessly suppressed so that we may cling to our perceptions to continue feeling comfortable.

..... this is the state of decent guys – even ones who think the whole thing is so wrong and are almost squirming that one of their kind could do such things! wow... social conditioning has a lot to answer for.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

patently wrong

scribble pad.

where hiv is concerned, india is on the brink of an epidemic the proportion of africa's. we have been fighting to widen the safety margin the last few years. god knows how much this new patent act is going to set us back by. there are 2 main problems as i see 'em -

1. for the people already on medication
2. for the people who need, but havent so far been able to afford medication.

those people who are positive and have been on anti retrovirals will probably find the cost of drugs increasing under the new product patent norm. under the process patent, indian pharma were able to analyse the finished product, and using different methods were able to produce it at much lower costs, offering positive people a whole array of generic drugs. now, they will no longer be able to do that. people in brazil and other parts of the world as well will feel the loss of this segment since our generic drugs were being exported to several places.

for those who are positive, but have not been able to afford anti-retroviral therapy to date, medication will now become an even more remote possibility. already, less than half the people needing medication in india are actually able to afford it. now that number is going to further decrease. as usual, the WTO will cater to that one exclusive category - the (rich enough!) consumers. what happens to all those who are on the margins of society, who can never think of being consumers??

there is also another complication to consider. that of drug resistant and mutant strains of the virus. once started, ART must be taken life-long. now, since many people may longer be able to afford it, they may simply have to stop their medicines, causing new mutant strains of the virus to be formed in their bodies. also, these strains may be drug resistant since the person wasnt ART naive. this will be a massive issue well have to address in the fight against HIV from now on.

all this playing around with people's lives for what? - more money, more power, more control?... the only thing that could possibly save us would be if the govt were to actively regulate ARV prices and ensure that the scene doesnt get out of hand. talk about scary!

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

tsunami relief work update

scribble pad.

A group of 20 NGOs is carrying out the relief operations in the various affected areas. There is one NGO called Samanvaya which is coordinating all the activities.

To locate missing people, you can try these links - the database is being updated as often as possible.

Please help us : we need people who are willing to go to field, and manpower to raise resources from the city.

To volunteer, please contact :

Phone : 91-44-2555 0781
Mr. Ram - (Mob) 0 938216 0811
Ms. Rama - (Mob) 0 938455 0781

To donate please contact :

CIKS - Center for Indian Knowledge Systems
30(47C) Gandhi Mandapam Road,
Kotturpuram, Chennai - 600 085.
Phone - 91-044-24471087 / 24475862
Fax - 91-044-24471114


Gandhi Study Centre
Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya,
Vekatnarayana Road.
T Nagar, Chennai 17
Mr. Krishna (mob: 9841051055)
Mr. Krishnan (mob: 9381201944)

If you want to donate in a foreign currency , please donate through they are working with AID to double contributions. AID being a regd US - based NGO, donors will also receive tax benefit. (and AID seems to be doing good work here, so dont worry on that head! :-) )

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