Saturday, 28 June 2008

Remi’s Vernacular Tongue

Remi’s Vernacular Tongue

Remi’s one more blog: language is Marathi, or English, but different in Remi’s vernacular tongue.

In a family there may be 10, 5, 3 or 2 persons. Their accents and manners of talk may be, or seem to be, similar, but each one’s vernacular is independent. It’s like finger prints. It’s like out of countless leaves on a tree, each leaf has unique impression of veins on it.

That doesn’t happen with countless cars on a large parking lot though effort is made to bring variety by different colours and designs. It’s the same story with apartment blocks in cities.

But all the mud houses built in a village/s in vernacular style do not fail to enchant us by each one’s uniqueness and their variety.

That’s the fun in the natural variety.

How could the sixty years of wanderings fail to make impression on Remi’s vernacular tongue – words, meanings and sound?

A person who wanders whole his life moves on margin. But his wandering is not like a blinkered buggy horse. Or it’s not like a railway that runs on tracks. Or it’s not like aeroplanes that fly on a drawn line from one point to another. Or he has no obligation caste-religion-class.

His wandering is like honeybee’s dancing journey; her hive too moves with her. His wanderings are like an aborigine moving happily at will in the wilderness.

His wandering that started at the foothill of Western Ghats is yet to fulfil, if alive, in reaching homeland – Gondwana.
Remigius de Souza
LINK (Remichi Marathi Boli)

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Inflation here – Inflation there

Inflation here – Inflation there

Inflation does not happen: It is not a Natural calamity. Inflation is created by humans, their lifestyles and the market forces. It is created by the misplaced priorities by the dominance of institutions, including the State, that take over the personal and the collective domain of an individual, family, and the society at large. For example: War (in the name of peace) and movies (in the name of entertainment where energy dissipates into smoke).

For ages the Indic peasants have been self-supporting and self-reliant for their needs, and could exercise their autonomy in their personal and collective living. By the standards of contemporary developed societies in the West, they may seem to be poor. Their poverty has been due to the exploitation by the rulers, and the dominant casts and classes, for centuries. Yet they were fairly free in their personal domain.

With the entry of white angles from the West – the East India Company and the British Rule (also read French – Dutch – Portuguese) – their remaining freedom came to an end. Perhaps the final stamp of this end was placed by the Cadastral Surveys the British carried out in the entire country. It also sealed peasants’ autonomy. Thus came into force a new tenure – government land.

It helped the British to consolidate further the centralised power, which was dependant on their military power. Now they had an added tool of power – Revenue Department – the Indian Civil Service (ICS). What is the cultural impact on the agrarian society must also be taken into account, not only economic and administration. The tribal – adivasis – the aborigines – escaped this cultural onslaught, may be to some extent, but they lost the land rights of their habitat – the forest – that went to the Department of Forest

On achieving the Independence, the government of Indian Republic and the provincial governments took over the ready infrastructure and the laws, and followed the foot steps of the past colonial masters. The struggle for Independence thus ended, instead of, now, continuing to investigate, scrutinise and to revamp the established system.

Also there came an end to the pioneering efforts in education, women’s uplift, science, and social reforms etc. that were going along the movement for political independence. The slave mentality of centuries took over again.

Whatever changes that may have taken place during the subsequent years were mostly effected by changing nomenclature – ICS became IAS, writing of the Constitution (which underwent more than 100 amendments. Isn’t it commendable that we learn from the mistakes) and some adjustments and readjustments. But the dragnet of centralised power continued to tighten the peasants – the second class citizens if India.

Free market – liberalisation – globalisation – economic growth – Club Nuke – blah-blah-blah, and very recent one – the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are the pretty pet programmes and policies of the modern First World India, which goes on popping poppy pills of progress that come with consumerism mantra.

Now listen to the music of the perils of the peasants in the Third World India, who produce food for all, are being displaced, marginalised, starving, driven to suicide, while Public Distribution System of essential commodities falter or fail now and then. The food production comes down; the food prices go up.

What would the elevated bureaucrats and the leaders to be the modern-feudal-masters, the Mai-Bap Sarkar, taking the role of Provider, now do? Distribute the dole in cash. The cash though has no tangible value, particularly when the inflation strikes, one after another, by the consumerism mantra, which never comes down in decades. But when the problem is so large and widespread, who could guarantee the dole or development reach to the needy?

The peasants produce food for all: It’s a NEED. None, however, can produce oil – the fossil fuel. They can only extract it from the Earth and process it: It is a WANT of the privileged few; it is not for all. What is the point in shouting green slogans?

We must carry our own burden', that’s what my grandma – an illiterate peasant woman – said fifty years ago.

Who does WANT Nuke or Nano? Who doesn't NEED food?
Tell the bright brains of IITs and IIMs to find how to use the billion-people-strong human energy! This is a challenge of 21st Century and the Democracy.
Remigius de Souza

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Warli Tribal Woman and Cow Dung

Warli woman uses cow dung wash on new bamboo container and baskets
for their maintenance. There are no special classes or schools
to learn several uses of cow dung. The child here is learning by experience
and example, not by scholarly treatises and expert discourses.
The western (and the westernized) societies can only think of production
and use of, even local material such as cow dung on a mass scale; obviously
to keep control on the mass society and profit through centralized power.
Cow dung as building material
(This excerpt is taken from my research paper, “Tribal Housing Buddha and the Art and Science of Karvi Hut”. See LINK for full Text and Images)

Some time ago the Indian Petro-Chemicals Limited (IPCL), Baroda came out with a chemical for waterproofing treatment of mud walls. The offer came through 'Council for Advancement of Rural Technology' (CAPART), Delhi to use it on experimental basis, at 90% subsidy on its cost, on the first 50 houses built for the tribal, under RLEGP. Being sceptical about such industrial products about its cost, economy, and the after-effects etc. we declined. Instead, we suggested using traditional cow dung wash on the walls. The chemical was highly toxic. Thankfully, IPCL had a good sense of withdrawing entire stock from the market, perhaps in good time.

Traditionally the tribal and villagers use cow dung for finishing the mud floors and mud walls. They also use it for the grain silos made of mud mixed with cow dung, or apply it on bamboo silos. People must have observed that pest does not affect the grain stored in such a condition. From the Vedic times, ‘Agnihotra’ – a ritual with fire – uses cow dung, which is believed to purify environment. Are these superstitions? Perhaps the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and IPCL could divert some of their resources to understand cow dung. We should not be surprised, though, with use of chemical fertilizes and pesticides even the cow dung may also found to be ‘fouled’!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

iTECHNOMAN (self-portrait)

Self-portrait by Remigius de Souza, Mumbai, India (1972)
Colour on handmade paper 9"x 12"
© Remigius de Souza

You may read or interpret iTECHNOMAN” in various ways that you may prefer.
Remi (Remigius de Souza) is marginally literate, not only in computers, but also in any of the Arts and Literary disciplines.

He began to learn writing Letters and Numbers of his vernacular language MARATHI on a slate, at his native village in Konkan.

Simultaneously he also took lessons in his basic needs, which are farming in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture; mud house building and its maintenance; and spinning and handloom weaving of cotton fabric: FOOD, SHELTER and CLOTHING.

Industrial society has failed after centuries to reach this ability or level, which is mentioned above, to impart education to any citizen anywhere in the world, certainly not in India.

Decades later he learnt computer programming in an antique language “1401” in an intensive course of one month, which was given by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS): that was the only formal training he received in computers.

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.