Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Formative Age of a Person

Whose responsibility it is anyway?

"A child's feet are seen in the crib" (The feet show child's future) — How the child would lead life in future — a Marathi idiom. It indicates people's belief in fate. Isn't there any responsibility of the parents / guardians, teachers and society to help child's development? To say tradition is always best is merely a dogma.

‘The Formative Age’ by Remigius de Souza, Mumbai, 2003

Sapling in a Tree-pot
 In the tropics, light and moisture are enough for plants to live.

Even plants turn around in search of light for their growth. In crowded plants each finds its way; sometimes they grow straight up and higher, sometimes bend around, in the direction of light. There are no quarrels, fights, arguments! (If there are any, we do not understand their tongue.)

Plant on a pavement in Mumbai - 1
This tree is on my usual walkway. During monsoon a beautiful creeper grew in the hollow of its trunk. One day found it vanished: Perhaps a dutiful street sweeper had removed it. At the same time new shoots grow from the trunk and roots.

Wherever there is natural thick tree cover, especially in the mountain ranges, there we get to see such a scene, also in a mass plantation. In cities, too, on the street pavements, the transplanted saplings (from nurseries) helped by watering, invariably grow in various directions.

Municipalities probably do not know the right "places and spaces" for the growth of various plants. Oh, those who don't know about the appropriate 'place and space' for the growth of humans, how could they have any concern for the plants?

Plant on pavement in Mumbai - 2
Plants, too, wish to live despite various adversities, one of them is modern urban aesthetics (and ethics) about Life and Survival.


Detail, Plant on pavement in Mumbai - 3
 On pavements of Mumbai/ two generations of the displaced and marginalized are born and grew up. Who knows where did they reach? How could the impotent know?

There is an idiom, 'under a great tree other plants don't grow'. However, it is applicable to plantation by humans. Actually, it refers to great persons, or humans, certainly not great trees.

In a natural forest, a great tree supports many a animal and plant species.
Cut down a great tree and see what happens. It not only destroys Life of so many species, but also, affects environmental balance, reduces ground water, causes desert to expand, droughts and famines begin...
But what is it to the egocentric, greedy power-mongers? No regrets or shame! If poor ryot starve, it is not a spicy news story!

Mother Nature, 'Srishti', provides resources (and autonomous functions) for the sustenance and protection to all the species — their body and mind — in their schema, may they be bacteria or human species. Her management is not at all like that of selfish, power-greedy civilized societies. Not even their gods (of human species) can interfere in Mother Nature's affairs.

Nature, here, isn't romantic greenery in poetry / fiction. Just as Mother Nature occupies all the known-unknown universes, so also is within us.
She does, so do we, want us to grow in body and mind, which requires appropriate 'place and space'. 
Here, 'place' is not area, i.e. sq ft/sq m area by government rule book. And 'space' is not 3D box/block in geometry.


 Two extreme examples

First example is of the collective, and second is of an individual. These are two far ends of recent examples from civilized society.

1st. In Vietnam a generation was born on the war field, grew up with gun and fought war with the US. The US lost the war.

2nd: Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of former Baroda State. His relations with British Raj are well known. His comprehensive development work for People is more eye-catching than his worldly wealth.
Who was Sayajirao? A boy, from a humble family, adopted in the royal family to be a king!
What is the use of mere wealth of a rich person without right formation? Truly he was 'Rajarshi', Sage-King or Sage-Statesman.

Between the two ends in the above two examples, it may be worth to examine a million cases. But the advance societies/experts stop short at sample surveys. In their tongue there is no idiom, 'as many persons that many characters'.
Otherwise they often publish reports, about Internet, TV, cell phone users etc.

There is a third example, outside civilized society. Here it is mentioned only for record though most important. Most people are not familiar about them. They are the aborigines, 'adivasi', communities in India and the world. Their communities and culture have beginning in the remote ancient times.
1.The poster was written while I was writing a number articles on education during past three decades.
2. This post is translated from the original post published on my Marathi blog: REMICHI MARATHI BOLI.
3.  I have written few notes about the aborigines in India. Some are published in print and on this blog.

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Advice by Father to Son (Extracts from a book)

Extracts from book:


By Sam Lawson

Advice by Father to Son

"Never Depend On Strangers".

"Remember Son, if you ever need helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm."

"And if you want your dream to come true, Don't Sleep."

"I met all challenges, reaped rewards and found myself with everything a man could ask for including an outstanding collection of doubts, misgivings and ambivalence in all sides."

"A penny is a lot of money if you haven't got a cent."

"1+1=2 fine in the school. At home 1+1=2 What?"

"1 pair of skates = 12 violin lessons."

"1 phone call = 1 carfare to a museum."

"4 movies = 1 shirt."

"1 bicycle = 10 pairs of eyeglasses."

"5 ice-cream sodas = 2 pairs of socks."

"You mustn't lie, but you don't have to tell the truth either. Just keep your mouth shut."

"For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people."

"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness."

"For slim figure, share your food with the hungry."

"For beautiful hair, let a child run fingers through it."

"For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone."

There are two types of Poverty

  1. Poverty inflicted by the powerful classes of civilized societies by various means -wars, famines, monopolizing the resources of the Earth for their greed for Power and Profit on the weaker sections.
  2. Poverty by Choice to live by taking minimum resources from the earth for the survival and living in harmony with nature, like the aborigine - adivasi - communities of the world.

My Strategies

  • Choose only one necessity now out of two or more options for expenditure. 
  • With no currency at hand, there were no problems with basic needs, what to chose. 
  • Until the age of eighteen it went on like this. By then I had acquired skills in farming, cooking, house maintenance, etc. besides hundreds of errands that village kids are involved. At this level self-help is the cheapest and most economical option available for those who face scarcity.
During the study at college, learning and working to support education went together.
Even after the college studies, there never was surplus to splurge.
These strategies took shape during childhood. There was none to advice, no newspapers, no radio. One learns by watching what others do, whatever is happening around, thinking and learning by self-access.

I was six year old then. My mom, with my brother in arms, and I were displaced, marginalized and became landless peasants. We walked barefoot to another village. From that time on I was earning (working) while learning (schooling), mom's young helper.

It was war time away in other continents. Yet in remote far away corner of our village its brunt was felt. Happily we were in village. It was far different economy then. The Land, Water and Plants did provide to those who were ready for the BROWN CALLER VOCATION.
NOTE: In 1985, I borrowed this autobiographical book from public library. I should have noted the publisher's name etc. The book was written soon after World War II. I have been going through the resource crunch. No one was there to advice me. But I knew the difference between Needs and Wants. This advice is speaking my mind.
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


In Communion with Mother Nature

Constructive Criticism

Mainspring of Creativity 

Creativity: We generally attribute this action to the expressions of various arts. However, the basic force of creativity is only to conserve life. From conception of life to feed a baby and the innumerable actions onwards that follow are the parts of the creativity. Because of our mechanical way of living, we are not conscious; that's all.
Bhill youth playing bamboo flute
Bhills make their bamboo flutes by themselves. Its history indeed goes back to millennia.

2. Ancient bone flute (30,000 yBP)

 The bird bone flute was found (in 2009) by the archaeologists. It has five holes.
Interestingly Bhills too use five holes to their bamboo flutes.

Constructive Criticism

I learnt what may be called constructive criticism/critique from Anand K. Coomaraswamy. It was useful in many ways. Mainly, I left subjective reaction and moved to objective response to any event.

By the study of environment, which is the very foundation of “shelter” or architecture, I could go beyond personal and societal spheres.

My beloved Tukaram has major share in making me understand ecology: “plants vines wildlife (are) our kin”. To understand this mantra, came to help my physical labour and community participation in the fields of paddy - vegetable farming and cooking, mud house building, and cotton spinning and weaving (this under Gandhi's Basic Education) during childhood at my native village.

While learning architecture I came to understand how vary many rooms in buildings are interdependent in their planning. If a room or an element is shifted, changed or removed, the whole schema is affected. Hence it needs reworking.

Tukaram's five words also reveal how environment, ecology and energy (EEE) fields are interlinked. It helps if we meditate on simple looking work such as farming, cooking or shelter etc. to understand how the three – EEE – are interlinked and interdependent in the Nature.

This path is as much abiding and arduous that much joyous. No shortcut. No books. Only field work helps.

AK Coomaraswamy died in 1947 after Independence of India. From this time onward the change that came with British Raj accelerated in India.

The change was taking place in almost every sphere of life at large. It has affected most the majority i.e. agrarian society. Their rehabilitation should have been taken up on priority basis as soon as the British left.

The root cause perhaps is the development in Science and Technology by the turn of the last century in India. It has been taking place all over the world. The west, however, grew along with this change from the rise of Mechanical-Industrial Revolution; while in India it was imposed.

In 65 years we have not grown 'up'; we have only grown 'old', and culturally we tend to respect 'old' age - man or stone.

Indeed the change (which we tend to call 'development' is a misnomer) affected the primary needs: food-shelter-clothing and natural autonomous functions of all living beings: work-leisure-health-learning-propagation, not only in human world, but all living-beings in land-water-air across the world.

When these fundamentals are affected, then what about social, political, religious... blah, blah, blah institutions or Heaven and Hell?

Needs in Wanting Constructive Creativity

When we watch now the TV channels 24/7 throughout year that show us buttery love and marriage stories combined with crime and violence, with innovations aplenty, as if none else exists to entertain us, or rather to Think about.

In Mumbai, for example, about 200-300 movies are produced annually. But at what cost of resources, at what environment-ecology-energy cost, for what except passive entertainment, and for what social ends?

Presently millions of Indian ryot are going through crises of survival facing a billion problems of food, water, work, health, literacy, shelter etc. and scarcity of resources due to lack of equitable distribution. Who is going to answer them? Is it Government, Parliament, a trillion Rupee Bollywood-Tellywood entertainment industry, stock market, or economy?
Only ryot can answer these questions. 

For any planning, project, or progress, 'Ryot is the Means and the goal'.

Constructive Criticism raises the issues or context missed in the schema of any event, not only literary work, and comes up with relevant suggestions in larger interests.

Purpose of Art

Art takes place as self expression at any age or in times. Art has no definition. Civil Society may have put art in many divisions, trends or schools etc., but they are superficial.

One may express self in a spontaneous dance, song, scribble in soil, scratch or draw on a wall, make a clay toy, or tell a tale...

Civil society is fond of divisions, grades, castes or classes and hierarchies. Hence it deviates from the essentials. So let us ignore all that nonsense.

Art as self expression comes from experience of reality and emotions. The reality could be Nature, Natural phenomena, other beings - persons, plants, animals... and experience of emotions out of these relationships.

Art transfers energy created from emotions in a creative work, which arrests Entropy. It could otherwise cause mental or physical malady. Art is not a prerogative of the professional or a class.

Community Participation: Paddy farming in Konkan | Image by Pooja Rani
Farming is not recognised by the elite society, though it uses the canvas of land, works in harmony with the Five Elements, fulfills the mainspring of creative art.

Incidentally, Indian tradition recognized 64 arts, which have been life supportive, for society as well as a person and family. My favourite claim is that Farming is the highest art form, which of course, the high culture of civilized society does not support. This is obvious because of its vested interests in the centralized power rested in higher castes/classes.

Purpose of Science

'Life', too, like ‘Art’, is not defined, not even by sciences, though there are dictionary meanings. We, however, understand what Life is (by death of a being that ends 'it' in an inert matter?).

‘God’ concept possibly came from extreme natural phenomena (in the remote aborigine past) to express their power in graphics and rituals.

Scientists, now, may call it a 'God particle' - whatever they claim to have discovered. It is not Truth. The Mystery of Nature continues to deepen!

Science works with analysis, whereas, Art is synthesis, in the civil society. This division did not exist once upon a time when fire, lever, flute, bow and arrow, pottery etc. were discovered.  Art, science or technology, whatever we may call, then, was for the well-being of the people.

There was a time when art, science and technology were not separated, just as now the line between science and technology is diluted because of vested interests in economy.

Critique of Creativity

Creativity for Everyone

 The true purpose of art, science, technology, other disciplines, and also the institutions is the welfare of, not only people, but also of the ‘Other’ (humans) and all the living-beings and their habitat.

Constructive Critique should be levelled at not only art and its various divisions, but also other disciplines, public and private institutions, at a street level. They should be subjected to the Justice by Peoples' Audit, not by courts of law: Justice is above the laws of the State.

Creativity is a buzzword now. It is applied to, from arts to sciences, warheads, engineering, ET-IT, commerce, politics... Almost everything in one go, which comes under the purview of market and consumerism, whosoever their godfathers are, sitting in their plush boardrooms!

However, the quality of creative object is hardly discerned; whether it is constructive or destructive, keeping in mind the 'Other' humans and all other living-beings and their habitat, their dependence on the natural environment, ecology and energy. Keeping in mind the present fast changing scenario, we cannot remain in our protective shells! Remember Tibet!!

It is crucial to look up at Constructive/Destructive Creativity, not in the compartments made by the so called experts, but in the Holistic way of Mother Nature, where no departments exist.

1. Please see the paragraph - Indian Architectural Terms, Essays in early Indian architecture (Book Review)
2. Image 2, Ancient bone flute (30,000 yBP). Image source: New York Times, Flutes Offer Clues to Stone-Age Music.
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Monday, 5 November 2012


A Story of Birthday Bash (Meta-fiction)

By Remigius de Souza

THERE IS AN INCREASING TREND of celebrating birthdays of children at junior schools and at homes, particularly in cities. This, of course, is presently prevalent among the elite class and English-medium convents/missionary and other schools. It is almost an unavoidable ritual.

It was perhaps started at missionary schools imported from abroad or perhaps from Hollywood-Bollywood-Tellywood. It is now customary. Even it is followed for the grownups.

My parents and we the children, coming from peasant families, were spared from this custom. We never celebrated anyone’s birthday then, or none in our native village. None suffered Identity Crisis. Now it is initiated at age one year. I fail to understand its logic.

Identity Crisis

Perhaps it helps to build-up one’s image, individuality, personality, identity or ego? It may be one of the instruments to prepare a child for the forthcoming judgements and comparison in her/his every walk of life.

Perhaps it gives an opportunity for the elders for celebration in otherwise fragmented / mass society; a sense of identity. Children are fully involved in learning — reading books and writing copybooks: talk-talk, read-talk, write-talk, copy-talk, and perhaps once in while think-talk.

They are hardly exposed to learn any other life-supporting skills for self-sustenance until they are adults, or even middle aged. That’s in the elite class.

Particularly in the recent times, the birthday bash must have come handy to bribe the generation of the unwanted, those born after the world-wide family planning campaign. It perhaps also helps to cover up the guilt of adding to the world population. Is it a consolation?

It comes as an easy package to assure the children, who have lost social contact in the stress and strain of urban life. Besides they are also spared from all other possible manual work and skills as a promise of better life by their ambitious parents.

The children, as they grow up, would capitalise on their talk-talk skills acquired at the successive classrooms. More the talk-talk skills acquired at successive stages — school/college/university — better is the income? No wonder the planning, expertise and equity at social levels are in shambles, not only in India but all over the world.

We have heard, the wealthy sometimes celebrated their birthday at sixty by ‘Tula” —  weighing gold or silver or eatables such as ‘Laddus’ equal of their body weight and distribute it among the well-wishers and their subjects.

Proverbially, the age sixty also marks a beginning of second childhood, or the beginning of fading ‘Buddhi’ – intellect/intelligence, or the drooping learning curve.

For centuries we have been celebrating Krishnashtami, Buddha Jayanti, Mahavir Jayanti, Isu Jayanti (Christmas) and others, Jayanti means victory day. They are the great souls. Their “Think-Act-Talk” is synchronised.

Then recently came state-sponsored birthdays: Gandhi Jayanti, Children’s Day, Teachers’ Day, and Ambedkar Jayanti etc. usually in the form of public holidays.

The role of the Government and/or Market

In our Nation, the Agency started campaigns, such as 'HUM DO, HAMARE DO' – We two, ours two. Thanks to the Managers of people's welfare could not reach the masses – royt – in our magnificent cultural diversity, as usual. The slogan failed, like our Public Distribution System (PDS) of Essential Commodities.

Omnipotent Omnipresent Market now supplies Event Managers for every occasion from birth to the final destination (undertaker!). Of course if you are ready to splurge!

Recently I saw Bollywood’s Big B's Birthday Bash on the KBC episode on a TV channel! Very sexy! Amazing feat! A trendsetter!

Who am I?

For me the birthday is very important date. Over the years I have been filling-up hundreds of form, which are mandatory, issued by several establishments.

Sometimes I have to prove even ‘who I am’ by showing an identity card with my photograph issued by another establishment. That’s in real life.
“Who am I?” has been the eternal question before man; but that’s for the philosophers to bother.

A child feels elated – a king for the day. We continue to blow up the candles ten, twenty sixty… times to be forgotten. It is a make-believe world.

Remigius de Souza
04-11-2002 (updated: 01-11-2012)
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Catch ’em young

Creative Imagination of the Market

by Remigius de Souza

Cars and Guns: Catch them young
Cars and Guns – toys at Rs 10/- to Rs 2000/- from roadside stalls to malls!
Cars and Guns – games at cyber cafes / at home PCs at nominal cost!
Create needs wants; Create supplies: These are Market strategies. Take it or leave it.

CREATIVE IMAGINATION of the Indian ad-world now indeed is flourishing with the advent of TV, and more TV channels on the air. But what is food for one may be poison for the other. Now the children are progressively subjected to abuse by making them ad-models, and subjecting them as viewers to induce consumerism, which, of course, is far from right education, if not to pester their pampering parents.

Sophisticated Child labour

After subjecting women to abuse, for example, “Made for each other” (comparing women companions to cigarettes/stubs/butts), now they have targeted the children. A new class of sophisticated child labour is emerging. Recently this trend has gone far beyond, the not-so-famous ad “Mummy, sach kya hota hai?” (Mummy, what is truth?), though it was banned (on protest!).

Even in the First World countries, where the TV was started, there are strict laws against targeting and using the children through advertisements. However this may not be true of First World India [FWI], in the waves of globalisation, market economy, freedom of expression etcetera. There is no sensor board here to nab the TV ads. Our governments and ministries are busy handling internal – external –natural – man-made calamities. But where are the cultural police gone? Who is supposed to intervene on behalf of the children: the parents, families, teachers, or NGOs?

It is known, at their tender age the children are under the burden of formal schooling and no play. They have hardly seen the ‘real’ world. At this stage if they are pushed into the dragnet of ‘virtual’ world in the ‘real’ time, the results may not be far from predictable; that they may be reduced to be robots at the hands of the vested interests that control the powers. The educated busy parents in the First World India may not be ignorant about this, though they may find some relief from the children being engaged in viewing TV etc.

Or, aren’t the people happy enough by the cinema-sports-world superstars farting in the ad-world? Or, who is ultimately paying in reality, at what price, cost, value and benefit, and for whom? Anyone could see the Geobbels’ policy is followed by the capitalist long-term agenda to catch them young.

Once the pluralistic Indian society is now pushed to polarizations, communities to be communal, and families to be nuclear. In such a situation, holistic thinking and action may prove detrimental to self-interests, or so one may think. Hence the matters of control, conflicts, corrections, cure...or care are taken over by – or given up to – various institutions, and the family, community, the collective takes the back seat. Of course the institutions work in their respective compartments. In the vigilant society it should be the other way: the family – community – the collective should take the reins / steering wheel in its hands, and the institutions (GOs / NGOs) to be used as bullocks / wheels, while navigating through any situation.

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

Monday, 16 July 2012

Shankar Kanade's Architecture: Lohithashwa's House

Shankar Kanade's Architecture: Lohithashwa's House

Unique Event – Interior in Action

By Remigius de Souza
Architecture is finally completed by the user: Primarily it is for the user.
SN and NN Kanade at Jalavayuvihar township

Shankar and Navanath Kanade, Architects, have their firm under the name and style, "Shilp Sindoor". They are placed in Bangalore. Shankar has been instrumental in starting/ formulating 'courses of architecture' at many colleges. Shankar and Navnath have been teaching architecture for decades.

Shankar Kanade, over the years developed unique/ original construction system, locally known as "Chapadi", using local granite; and his project execution management achieved economy that benefit the home owners.

Lohithaswa is a noted Kannada film actor and playwright and a retired English professor. He has acted in more than five hundred Kannada stage plays, and television serials. He is popularly known for his dominating voice in the Kannada film industry.

Lohithashwa had invited some artists to join the art workshop to be held at his house - residence. They were on visit to Bangalore, on the occasion of an arts and crafts exhibition at national level held at Bangalore.

I was fortunate to pick up the unique event of 'art workshop' that shows many dimensions of splendour in this house.

Artist at work - Exterior open space

We speak, here, through photos, a popular medium, and word of mouth. We speak not how the architecture of house looks, but how it works. We don't speak of design aesthetics, but ethics in adapting it to a non-charted use, not prescribed in the architects' 'Brief' (of the proposed house).

Artists take a break
At Indian residences, in urban and rural areas, there are several occasions – birth, marriage, Pooja, festivities, death... harvesting of crops – when relatives, friends, community visit. This is a common feature.

The artists gathered here have come from different parts of India. Perhaps some are meeting each other for the first time, including the host.

Place occupied by an artist

The house has major use of local granite, a living material like clay and wood, favorite of sculptors.
At every step it is overwhelmingly evident that architect and client ware in tune and at same wavelength in the process of designing.
We witness this abode is made in excellent communion of architects, workers and user-the-family.

Artists feel at home
It is said, ‘People get the government they deserve’.Here we may say, ‘People get architect they deserve’!

Navanath, Lohithashwa and artist Patil inconversation
The artists here ware immersed in work, rest and interaction. That shows how everyone was feeling at home - in the 'place', not a 'space'.
We often see photos and thumbnail drawings of architecture in glossy magazines bereft of people, rather 'the user the god in sanctuary'. What do we perceive when we see such presentations of architecture in print media or e-media?

Home is place to work, rest, interact and grow
These photographs are clicked on ordinary camera, in natural light or room lights-on.
While clicking the pictures, there is least thought given to rules of aesthetics or ruling taste. These photographs are Celebration of People, Place, and the Occasion.

Place-making in house is dynamic
We don't place any customary mini-maps to guide the reader in the interior.
Kanade brothers could have furnished me with drawings, and other typical professional information to go with this text and photographs. I don't do it deliberately.
With printing technology earlier, then photography, movie, now Internet, we are moving away from Reality to Virtual Reality at every step in our elitist life.

Connecting Persons - Connecting Places
With miniature reproductions of maps and pictures (i.e. Hi-tech photographs) of exterior - interiors, we usually celebrate Architecture - 'the Holy cow, Mother of All Arts'.
Indeed how many, even professionals, can decipher 'anatomy of architecture' and comprehend 'scale and dimensions' of Reality in the illustrations? Of course, it depends on perception level of each one.

For example, 'Barcelona Pavilion' (by Mies) lived for decades, clean and neat, in black and white photographs. When rebuilt as a memorial, in a crowded urban area, how does it look now in real?

Kitchen is Sacred Place in Indian Abode
Kitchen is sacred place in Indian abode. Cooking or rather Preparing vegan food is highest art form, only next to Organic / Natural Farming. Both nourish Body, Mind and Soul (in my opinion). Other forms in these two primal fields are marketable commodity & consumerism.

Culinary Art is Highest Form of Art next to Farming
We, the urbanite Indians, try to adopt imported industrialization; we have not grown up with it as the Western are. Also we perhaps carry mimetic memories (received from our Great... great grand Mother) buried in our deep subconscious. And like molecules of water in ocean they keep coming up: Not everyone may wake up to the inner voice. There lies the answer to many anomalies in the developing India.

Artist's Participation in Cooking
I have heard, architecture, now in the West, is put in the new category named 'Creative Industry'. Why are they apologetic? Why can't they, or don't want to, turn the tide of Climate Chang or of whatever other ills, despite their so-called Progress and Development?

Internal Courtyard is Traditional Feature in Architecture
 I suspect the term, 'Architecture as Creative Industry' has its origin in the 'Hybrid and GM Seeds' in the realms of a basic need 'Food' in Agriculture.
Now the new category of architecture evolved from the primary need, 'Shelter', is to subjugate autonomy the 'User' as 'Producer' at the mercy of 'mass producer and supplier' i.e. Industry and Market.

Artist at work
International Style (of architecture) is misnomer coined by the puppets of powers in Industrial society. 

Courtyard as a work place
Art is not for Art's sake. Any art, artefact or event is an expression of culture.
Culture is a gift of Land and Water – Mother Nature – enriched by biodiversity of the place, from the Poles to Equator. Culture, therefore, is local, never international. Only 'trade' is international.

Culture is in the People
Culture is in the people, not in any artefacts or events. Heritage Conservation, therefore, should be the Conservation of People and Natural Biodiversity.

1. When I had (first) visited Lohithashwa’s house, my spontaneous response was “I am reminded of India’s rock cut architecture”.
2. “At the art workshop other arts also flourished. Several artistes – potters, painters, and sculptors – were passionately working: I feel this may be a best, and the most appropriate tribute to Kanade ever received for his work.” (SHANKAR KANADE, ARCHITECT)

NOTE: 1. The opinions, comments, expressed in this post are mine. They don’t reflect views of Shankar and Navnath Kanade.
2. Shankar Kanade's profile: SHANKAR KANADE, ARCHITECT 

Remigius de Souza | Date: 21-01-2012
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Entertainment Explosion 2

24x7 Entertainment Explosion - 2

by Remigius de Souza 

MOSTPEOPLE* would say, ‘music is their hobby’, which may not mean they play musical instrument or sing. Invariably they hear music on some or other electronic gadget. Forty years ago, there took place a ‘great’ event, but it was not reported in the media, didn’t pull a crowd.

A young music lover Mr. Khadpekar, a student of architecture, invited Pundit Kumar Gandharva to perform solo concert at Ahmadabad. Punditji’s immediate reaction was, ‘No Ahmadabad. The crowd there appreciates music by thunderous clapping during the recital.’ However, after the explanation he readily agreed.

A small group, perhaps less than fifty, some of them from Baroda (now Vadodara), came to attend the concert. The event took place on an open platform at the premises of the Ahmedabad School of Architecture.

Punditji requested to shut the mike and the (loud) speakers. Seeing the uneasiness among his listeners he assured it was perfectly alright for him, and that they would enjoy it better. They were worried because they knew that one of his lungs was removed, and it would be strenuous for him without the ‘sound’ system.

Now it was direct contact between the singer and the listeners, mouth to ears. It was a unique experience, mostly available to private “baithak” – gatherings.

During his recuperating years he was forbidden even to sing. During that period he moved across Malava, Madhya Pradesh, listening and collecting folk songs. He was touched by the simple folks and their traditional music of Malava. He had turned the disadvantage into an opportunity. And a new Indian classical music emerged.

Punditji was generous, open and accessible, a teacher in true sense who could learn even from the humble folks. Indian classical music too was touched by the inimitable maestro. I personally was touched by him and the event that left a deep lasting impression on me.

FEW DECADES LATER, I was at a party hosted by a friend while in Bangalore. Typically there was music on an electronic gadget. At some point I said it is not music but only its replica that dissipates energy. Shankar Kanade protested. I said, ‘This is only a reproduction, which has lost its original quality, howsoever advance a gadget or technology may be.’

Though I did not remember the above event, I perhaps was prompted to say this by my subconscious. Such reproduction or representation is a virtual reality. It is just as a word ‘tree’ or a picture of a tree is not a reality. It may perhaps help someone to recall, depending on one’s perception of the ‘real’ sound, the ‘real’ event, the ‘real’ environment where it takes place; otherwise it is an object without soul – a mere technology.

In his later years Punditji had taken to teaching ‘Bhajan’ when he was acutely aware that his pupils were not getting to the meaning of the words they sang and thus singing remain as technology – a skill.

Punditji is no more. The cassette tapes of his music attached with copyright as well as the cassette players that played his music have gone to dumping yards. However Punditji’s monumental tribute to Malava’s folk songs continues to reverberate in the ears; it’s universal beyond global.

In the name of music we patronise ‘leisure industry’ (the term is an oxymoron) at a price. For that matter work – any work – comes at a price. If there are no singers, why not listen to the air, water, plants, birds… children, if there is little ‘nature’ still left in our environment? Why not dance to its tunes?

Leisure, opposite to work, is absolutely free, anywhere, to anyone irrespective of one’s status.

The millions of folks – the tribal and peasants – enjoy leisure actively, not by passive activity of watching Virtual Reality on electronic gadgets, all over India. They practice it not only during festivities but also during their daily chores.

On account of leisure the Industrial Civilisation is bankrupt and pauper.

Leisure conserves /restores energy: Leisure arrests entropy.

See previous post:
24x7 Entertainment Explosions

Note: The word, 'mostpeople', was used by poet E E Comings in Introduction to his collection of poems.
Remigius de Souza | 25-05-2007
© Remigius de Souza, 2007

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Youth in Life and Letters Now

 The Youth in Life and Letters Now

“The full potential of human creativity has not yet been tapped. Along with the ever-increasing miracle of love, this fact is one of the brightest hopes for human race” (Ben Okri, ‘A way of Being Free’, 1999, P.28)
Srishtiyoga - Way of Mother Nature

ACADEMIC year is about to begin: This issue is faced by a particular segment of 1200 plus million people. For the other segment of Indian society faces how to make both ends meet: their daily bread.

The elite youth (m/f) are now carrier-oriented (seeking affluence). They go through grading (degrading), reward (punishment), competition, pampering, pressures, info bombardment... blah, blah, blah.

EDUCATION is groomed to serve Industrial Society. Advent of Industrial Society brought break up of existing i.e. pre-Industrial Society, then came the breakup of family; now break up of nuclear family. (Check no. of divorce cases in family courts at metro cities.)

But this education has no social (read life supportive) orientation. Hence numbers of institutions (expertise) flourish to take over our personal and societal domain to solve our problems, which replaced the elders (put away in the homes for the aged). The result is present Mass Society that faces Identity Crisis.

WE, therefore, want to establish and/or assert our individuality or identity, where and when possible (e.g. in social networks, or looking for life partner on Internet), and even within family!

What is forgotten by the expertise is that human being is a dynamic entity. Hence generalizations fail: such as horoscopes/zodiac signs! Each individual is a unique entity. Humans cannot be graded like apples in the market place. Only awakening of their constructive creativity is in want.

India now is a picture of 'Culture of Contentment' and the Disparity turning into Despair; plurality turning to polarity; the powerful few seeking more power and the poor majority grows with their rising population by Nature's Unwritten Law of Survival of Species.

The million petal Lotus of Indic Culture turning to disintegrated Mass of the Collective, living either in the bygone Past or in speculation i.e. Future.

There is a silent war going on but without a bang. Who does notice it?

Nature knows no borders imposed by Civil Society

Iraq's oil wells were bombarded by Iran, during the war between the two. The soot from burning oil drifted by wind and settled over icy peaks of Himalayas. The black snow melted and came down to Sukhna Lake at Chandigarh. This was minor news.

Nature does not recognize borders of sovereign states, or exchange rates of international currencies, social hierarchies created by civilized societies.

What are our priorities when Life is at stake? Everything in Nature is coordinated and interdependent. Nothing is isolated in various departments. 'Butterfly created a storm' - as a saying goes!

Universal Art for Living

Eight Hours, poster © Ricardo Levins Morales
Let us spare some time for meditation!

Could art of living, or any art, and ambition go ever together? Ambition is for politicians. Laws and acts cannot regulate or control, or even take responsibility of life.

Theories don't create art. Art is transient, beyond space-time. Once done, it is over. In the act of doing there is meditation, discovery, joy, and the very act is the reward. Such an act reaches the state of vocation.

Preparing the canvas of soil, sowing seeds, caring the saplings, harvest as and when, and it is over. Then start to prepare the great canvas again. A farmer works in direct physical contact with Elements – Earth, Water, Fire (Light), Air and Space. Farmer's action, therefore, reaches the level of vocation in creative thinking and action. This vocation is Art for Living that is synonymous to Art of Living! Cooking too is similar ancient art form. When each of seven billion people need reach to 'the full potential of human creativity'.

Life, with all its five autonomous functions -- Work, Leisure, Health, Learning and Propagation -- is provided by Mother Nature to all the life forms, for its sustenance. This happened even before all the gods created by humans: Believe it or not. 

Or ask bacteria, algae, humble grasses, happy grasshoppers, bees and butterflies. But we neither understand their language nor do we ever watch them. Hence we don't know how they sustain.

Better ask ourselves, until the end of our logic. Better that our logic dies by rigorous labour before we die!

Read more SRISHTIYOGA or The Way of Nature
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

World Environment Day – 5th June

World Environment Day – 5th June

Srishtiyoga is Communion with Mother Nature
I don’t know about God concept. But surely Mother Nature – Srishti – continues to be deep mystery even though we can see her, touch her, taste her, and feel her within and outside us... The mystery of Mother Nature deepens as more we discover. The Earth is only a minuscule part of her, and human species a speck in a hay stack.

Thankfully, Mother Nature – Srishti – does not have Department of Environment, Department of Ecology and Department of Energy,  like Civilized Societies have. Otherwise all the living beings would have had hard time to Apply, Apply and get No Reply. Mother Nature is ruthless; she is not at all kind like Brand God/s, and she does not recognize either Human Societies or their hierarchies.
Environment, Ecology and Energy in Nature are interrelated with each other. Civilized societies have them divided into separate departments because of the vested interest of Power Blocks among them.

When natural environment becomes unbearable for survival, and if any from civilized societies survive, they will celebrate like Diwali–Dassera!!

Even plants and animals, so also young babies, farmers and Adivasis - aborigines- are aware of environment. Only The First World Citizens, the Educated ignorant, are arrogant to acknowledge existence of Environment, Ecology and Energy that work hand in hand.

Read more  
Mumbai | 05-06-2012
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Booming Bamboo Feeding the West

Booming Bamboo Feeding the West

Key Words: West, here, refers to regions where bamboo doesn't grow or isn't cultivated. Bamboo, a wild grass, cannot be subjected to mass farming like wheat / rice. Feeding, in Indic cultures, is a verb for 'serving food' means, 'increase', which is by giving food it increases; it does not reduce. After eating, the guest says, 'God bless you', not 'thank you' as in English custom. Even the converted Konkani Catholics say, 'God bless you' keeping with the cultural tradition.

When I saw BBC news, ''Booming bamboo: The next super-material?', I was delighted.  I thought 'where does the sun rise today'! But after reading I wouldn't know to cry or laugh. Only my remaining disillusion vanished.
Bamboo artisans in Mumbai: Living with Dignity
Today, may it be democracy or dictatorship; both are under obligation of the visible-invisible capitalist powers. Unless these powers get a jolt like 'Arabian Spring', they may not learn the lesson.

Till now bamboo has been called, "Poor man’s persons' timber". The capitalist, they having enjoyed the taste for power and profit, overnight christened bamboo as, "timber of the 21st Century".

Under this sugar-coated name, the neo-colonialism is revealed in every word of this article. Is 21st century a magic wand?

See through the language of this story! It measures the bamboo production in 'dollar', and not 'tonne', not 'land', not 'life' of 'peasant-the-producer'! You never know when 'dollar' will slide down, and the bamboo producing peasants may face starvation! Such hypocrisy!

In the ad-world a lie repeated umpteen times may be sold as a truth by Goebbels’ propaganda, but it may not work forever is also true. The down-trodden notice it at once.
You never know when 'dollar' will slide down, and the bamboo producing peasants face starvation! Such hypocrisy!

Let us take example of our democratic nation.
From Nehru-era until now, who – any person/s, expert/s or pundit/s – spared a thought to the peasants in the country's six lakhs villages, then about 40 crores, now 100 crores, when and how, would they be able to build, manage and maintain the roads, bridges, schools, colleges, banks, industries etc. facilities in their villages by themselves?

Corporate Aesthetics of Hedonism
Or do they, submit to fate and continue live, ages after ages, as subjects or second class or the ‘Underclass’ of respective contemporary governments, forever?

Association of bamboo and villagers & aborigines is ancient. In the BBC story if there is anything new, it is the introduction to capitalize bamboo for mass production by the Industrial Society, where bamboo does not grow. That's all!
Mass production means 'centralization of power', whether by the state or the corporate. The corporate are known for their skill to capitalize anything — air, water, plants, animals, birds; blood... even poverty of the 'Other' — for profit and power.
Colonization obviously is followed by monopoly, market manipulation, intellectual property rights, scarcity... What happens to low-cost Housing, after Food scarcity, in the Third World, the Fourth World (of aborigines) and the Fifth World (of the displaced and marginalized due to development projects) worldwide?

The west is famous for making tool of economy to create great wealth and great waste.
There may be a number of products of lifespan, which is not even that of a rice plant. In no time there come new models in market. Old products go in scrap.

A paddy plant gives back fifty grains, but not even its speck goes waste, it turns into organic manure. And after daily meals, the crumbs or leftover is sent to birds, animals, ants-insects. These are our rural unwritten 'Standards'. Our government, however, always goes after Global Standards.

“In whole organisms, randomness structure is uncommon. Everything seems finely tuned by brutal rigours of natural selection. There are no spare limbs to be found and hardly any dispensable organs. This forced economy of organism design has always limited the use of bodily form as evolutionary timepiece" (Martin Jones, The Molecular Hunt, Penguin 2002).

There is a saying, 'money goes to money'. How does it happen?
Capitalism has singular objective, money: Money is the 'means' and the 'goal'. When means and goal are one, a project is fulfilled.
Bamboo artisans belong to low-caste in India: Living with Dignity
For any democratic government, if its 'means' and 'goals' are 'People' for any project or objective, then only true progress is possible. Science, technology, currency... are merely tools without tangible value.

Bamboo or its grove is most virtuous icon of healthy community among plant world. It is friendly to all the living beings. Its equanimity is impeccable. Humans domesticated many grasses, such rice, wheat etc. in the ancient times, but bamboo did not need it. Bamboo – the eternal plant – belongs to sainthood.

For the advanced arrogant human societies, and their puppets (among many countries), there is never enough to learn from – Srishti – Mother Nature.
A note accompanies the BBC article:
‘There are as yet no international laws governing sustainability of bamboo plantations.’
The First World loves Laws, as if unaware of Natural Justice. Do the First World societies recognize that ‘Justice is above the Law’?
Bamboo: Image by BBC New
BBC story calls bamboo a 'green gold'. Siddhartha Jataka compare bamboo or bamboo-forest as "Cat's eye". Jataka stories, which date back to 300 B.C., are 550 in numbers and has mentioned bamboo and bamboo-forest more than hundred times. 

Read›› Booming bamboo: The next super-material?

Comment: They will buy carbon credits by planting bamboo by proxy in the Third World Countries at cheaper rates.
 — Remigius de Souza

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.