Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Bee-Hive-Honey - Icon of Environment-Ecology-Energy

Apiary in Natural Habitat

Bee-Hive-Honey is an icon of Environment-Ecology-Energy, the Holy Trinity - EEE - in our times. Bees are where plants are where water is.
Bees gather honey and help pollination, to grow more food - grain-fruits. In search of flowers they scout hundreds of miles. Great Energy!

Bees build hive, beautiful work of architecture, of natural wax, to live in community, propagate and store honey, and
help pollination in plants. Ecology Conservation!

Indeed you can collect honey without killing the Bees of the Hive! Honey goes to Dining table / sick bed! Brokers make money. Economy!

 21st century doesn’t even reach near 'Bee Hive Honey' icon of EEE, a truly relevant model of progress and sustainability that perceptible NATURE displays and offers to so-called intelligent-beings - Humans!.

 Note: The apiary, developed by social workers of an NGO, is in the forest near Lonavala, Maharshtra.
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© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Idea of New Town: Navi Mumbai (POEM)

Original title of the poem 

 (Poem written on 23-02-1997: I was writings a review of a workshop, "The Idea of New Town, Looking at Navi Mumbai" (earlier New Bombay). While writings it I was stuck for many reasons. One of them was the stalwarts in architecture and planning from India and abroad attended the workshop. Sant Tukaram came to my help, and I composed the following poem. I re-publish it. )

Oh Vitthala*, while you stand steadfast
On a single brick, the foundation bestowing
Courage and joy through Gyanoba-Tukoba*;
There is no beginning – no end.

On the threshold of Third Millennium
Of "English" calendar, what are a few decades
Of life of New Delhi, Chandigarh, or New Mumbai
But specks of dust in a hay stack?
We have lived through cities thousand years old.

The sperms of Navi Mumbai were laid in an incubator
By an industrial corporate body, legitimized
By the CIDCO* of Swadeshi Raj here
Of your beloved Maharashtra and of the displaced.

Oh Vithoba1, your beloved people of India
Are blessed by Mother Earth for millennia,
Living in million villages, who nurtured and helped
To sustain cities of Gods, kings and Nawabs.

In the age of rape of Mother Earth
And ecological-cultural subjugation of the sons of soil,
Pushed them to the brink, to make a fast buck
While the sun shines, through manufacture and market;
The machine does not make maize neither milk.

Corporations know not "boundaries", – neither of values
Nor culture, – Their tentacles reach afar
Under different garbs and masks anew;
What are the new towns across the continents
In the name of urbanism – yet another mask?

Swarms of corporate locust devouring resources
In decades, what had been plentiful for millions
Of living entities for centuries, to leave behind
“Holes in the sky". City planners are by-products.

We witnessed the destruction of Hiroshima-
Nagasaki, calamities man-made with impact;
the shudder of earth that reduced Kobe to debris.

You hold aloft Kedarnath – Kashi – Kanyakumari
Through the times of turmoil, age after age.
Bhagiratha*  brought Mother Ganga to revive
His five thousand ancestors in peril.

In the age of annihilation unsurpassed
His offspring struggle to survive in numbers.
Will the sons of soil survive or perish?
Oh, Vitthala, Give your holy verdict.

In the era of contraception - condoms - abortions,
The steel-glass-concrete jungles of modern towns
Are sprouting, sprawling, swelling, multiplying
To celebrate triumph of "Post-historic-Man".
Will New Town, living a hybrid life on life saving
Drugs, shall be or not be an abortion?

Desperate planners are gripped in two-three dimensions
When Newtonian Age passed away hither thither;
In spite of revelation of Time and Eternity;
And half-truth of second law of thermodynamics.

Tied to a mill of self-cantered ego, they go in rounds
Endless, locked in cells. Will some glimpse liberate them?
Oh Vithoba*, It is time again to release Vishwakarma*
from the bondage of Indra*, we pray.

We recite the past, or speculate the future in mechanical
Actions; run into political impotency;
when confronted to the Present, take refuge
of numbers in perpetuity, dividing, sieving, grading,
degrading the humanity at the cost of creativity.

Now the "Bhasmasura"* of modern technology is let loose
Shattering the ancient limits only to defile and displace
Land and Waters, to eliminate the living entities.
New Towns offer man a life of hydroponics.

His tentacles reach deeper and wider through his weapon –
"The Cities" – to bring slow death to regions afar without impact.
Oh Vithoba, heed to our invocation to give us Insight
into the Present, the People, the Life, the Nature's Way.

At the end of second millennium, they struggle
In the narrow compartments of 2D – 3D to establish
Credibility; offer the urbanites "New Town Neurosis"
They are yet to awaken to hyperspace;
How could the planners be Visionary?

Architecture is poet's imagination to serve
The two in hundred of the world;
Planning demands vision in Universal Truth
Of a sage – of a humble farmer – who lives
In the timeless eternal NOW.
* * * *
Remigius de Souza


* Vitthala, Vithoba: Most venerated deity in Maharashtra (an incarnation of Vishnu).
* Gaynoba – Tukoba: Jnaneshwar and Tukaram are saint-poets of Maharashtra, India.
* Swadeshi – Self-rule.
* CIDCO: City and Industrial Development Corporation, Maharashtra State, India.
* Bhagiratha: a character from Mahabharata.
* Vishwakarma, Indra, Bhasmasura: characters from Puranas. Bhasmasura is similar to Midas in the western mythology. However end of Bhasmasura comes reducing him ashes by his own folly, which is inevitable. There is no room for repentance.

(Poem on the event, “Workshop – The Idea of New Town: Looking at Navi Mumbai" held at Coomaraswamy Hall, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai on 21-22 February 1997.)

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© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Nold Egenter on Twilight Zone (poem)

Comment by Nold Egenter

Nold Egenter, architect anthropologist, posted his comment on my poem, Twilight Zone. on my facebook on 7 August 2010: His contribution enriches my perceptions on culture and civilization. I gratefully acknowledge his sharing by publishing his comment here.

Dear Remigius,
reading your Twilight Zone Poem I get the impression that there is a strange and mysterious affinity among us! Having lived about 10 years in Japan trying to understand its cultural roots I came to feel that there is some sort of basic world view which can be called aesthetic, or what you call twigh-light, "a window of a cell", a journey "on the border of day and night", "in the community of the Earth and stars".

I think it is a full fledge world in which contrasting units are harmoniously perceived, a tree for instance with leaves moving in the wind, its trunk and roots being anchored in the ground. I think it is a world view which sees all things in similar ways as composed of contrasting parts forming a harmonious tension.

I suspect that this was a very primordial "aesthetic" world view, which to some extent could survive in what we call art today or architecture, but, in its essence and its original significance as forming a harmonious world is no more really understood. It seems however, that one can assume that it was something of profound meaning in many cultures of the world, e.g. YinYang and Daoism in China, Om in Ancient India, Ma'at in Ancient Egypt, 'coincidence of opposites' in European Middle Ages, and so on. As an aesthetic world, this world also was of a highly spiritual quality.

But then something happened - which had to do with the formation of civilisation. The harmonious structures developed in the early agrarian sedentary villages were spatially blown up by some peoples who 'smelt' the power which could be made with these provinces of villages by superseding them, using their own str...uctural conditions on a higher level of states with similar centres now as large monumental sanctuaries, palaces, for kings and their social elite.

I am somehow intensely working on this topic at the moment, trying to understand how culture (not cultureS!) really evolved. Am reading books on Mespotamia and Egypt with the hypothesis that culture evolved in Neolithic villages in the sense above and then these harmonious "islands" were overrun by mad power-freaks Alexander "the Great"-style and that this is the history we are still in.... It is a fairly mad world, in fact, if one really starts to understand its "mechanisms".

All the best for today, Cordially,
Nold Egenter

7 August 2010  

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© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.