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.