Monday, 7 September 2009
Remigius de Souza writes:
Illustration: Aesthetic Taste
1. Taj Mahal, India: precious/semiprecious stone studded fantasy mausoleum (in feudal era).
2. Bra: diamond studded fantasy (in democratic era).
3. Beijing Olympic Stadium and Inauguration: Technology gimmicks studded fantasy leisure (in autocratic state). Qualitatively their taste ethics and aesthetics don’t differ much from one another.
We are thinking, here, of taste, a physical sense, the phenomenon that goes long way from mouth to the entire gamut of environment-ecology-energy of Terra Incognita Indica, for that matter, of entire globe. Taste, here, is a business of mouth: To eat, drink and chew – primarily to satisfy the Basic Need, besides to speak, and to sing, and perhaps abuse...
We are not talking about that taste in the abstract realm of fashions and styles, arts and artefacts; they are but transient in time-space and places.
A new born baby sucks nipples of mother’s breasts (or teat of feeding bottle). Thankfully, s/he is not to be or cannot be taught by any high culture / low culture, or by any civilisation, or by any power savvy authority that would at once jump at the first opportunity.
Oh, that cones in other areas. The onslaught on their taste starts from the day one. The new born are generally on the supplementary feeds – drugs, vitamins, vaccines etc. For various reasons prescribed by the specialists (of course, to those who can afford; 90 percent Indians can’t). So, their taste buds now start getting tuned to the modern social and economic development, in other words, they are baptized in the Dharma of Industrialization.
The onslaught also comes from the omnipresent Market, the manufacturers, the show-biz – the pop stars farting on the TV screens every 10-15 minutes intervals, and so on. It comes with ready to serve canned and packed conveniences in attractive wrappings: That includes processed foods and drink – sweet – sour – pungent – salty (bitter and astringent excluded). The shelves are always full at the glitzy mall.
It could be so, because the mothers or parents or families are under constant pressure of time-crunch, that’s for one. Hence, the market is ready to serve. And other is knowledge-crunch. Because in the nuclear family raj, there probably is no grandma’s legacy left. They have spent their formative years (till 20 to 25) learning specialised courses – arts, sciences, commerce, ET-IT, engineering, business management etc at mass schooling. Their data bank is empty in this vital field of health about “when-where-why-who(m)-how” of right food to keep healthy. Well, some information filters through the print media, like guide books of their school days. But what is its reach?
In the cities, however, till now, the grocery shops and (vegetable) markets have number of varieties of great variety of grains, condiments, spices, dry and fresh fruits, tubers, rhizomes, leaves and roots in vegetables: I don’t know even the name of many. I wonder perhaps the medicos may know.
In the villages generally there should belocally grown grains, fruits and vegetables, and supplements from forests, woodlands and wetlands, if any still survive, and if accessible through the clutches of various departmental authorities. However, sooner or later the Market would take over to supply.... But why is there such a great exodus from the village to urban areas?
In the Indic region there has been great natural biodiversity. In the Indic region there has been a great natural biodiversity. It has influenced all the aspects of culture, not only food and clothing, in short, the four aspects of our daily living: Work, Leisure, Education and Health.
Biodiversity in India has resulted in rich medical systems – Ayurveda, Siddhayoga etc. It is there in the occult cults – Tantra, Mantra, magic practices. However much of the knowledge is with the ethnic and tribal communities that remain incognito (perhaps under a cloud of modern day superstitions or prejudices), besides in the treatises. What’s the point in giving official recognition to the systems, but not its bearers, the people, who are treated as second class citizens?
Shamefully, the visible reality down to earth is the country’s most of the green cover, woodlands, forests and wetlands are either get pollute or are disappearing, consequently the loss of wild life, diminishing surface and subsoil water, and comes expanding desert. Another consequence is people’s knowledge and skills, preserved through generations. are vanishing. In the place of biodiversity there comes monoculture of plants and monoculture of mass society is being groomed through mass schooling. All this is for the delight of bureaucrats and the ruling powers for the easy control, and modern development of economic by regimentation.
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.