Saturday, 7 December 2013

Parenthood as Vocation! Any takers!!

Monkey and her baby, Image Source: Internet

Career oriented parents

In a faculty room, once a gossip was going on. I'm half attentive to their talk, while going through exercise papers. Someone, a married lady said, 'better take a baby from shelf'. It caught my attention, but I didn't move my head. It was an unfamiliar elite talk in fashion. There was a lump in my throat. A feeling of nausea was building up inside. At last, humans too are commodity now!

The statement, ‘Taking a baby from shelf’ is like taking ready food packets from a grocery shop; It is an occupation, not a profession, and not at all vocation; it is a labour unpaid-for.

It amounts to building up career, by default, if not design! What is the   motivation behind this temptation? If it is a newly found freedom by the elite, it amounts only falling in fire from frying pan! To understand this, we need to go beyond established rationale of our decadent, fragmented mass society.

Without going into details such as, single mother or single father, live-in relationship, contract marriage, family planning, population explosion, sperm donator, surrogate mother, child adoption etc. We go straight for the parenthood.

Propagation is a plan by Nature

Procreation or Propagation is directly related to the survival of species. It is one of the Five Autonomous Functions bestowed by Nature to all the living beings – plants and animals (human animals included). The other four autonomous functions are Work, Leisure, Learning and Health. These, of course, are facilitated by Nature's schema of Environment, Ecology and Energy for the survival of species.

For example, a cat shift her just born kittens (they are born blind) to safe places to protect them from male cat eating them. Birds – male and female parents – feed their chicks in the nests, until they learn to fly. A lamb, as soon as born, stands on four legs and starts jumping and running around. Fishes lay eggs or fries in shallow waters among reeds etc., in hundreds or more; their survival rate is unenviable.

A plant in summer
And plants! They are the most blessed species: they propagate in various ways. Some of them are pollination by birds, animals, insects who survive on them! Dormant seeds, in millions, germinate as soon as rains begin. If uninterrupted by humans, the plants could grow into wild forests. They could engulf mighty buildings, monuments such as, Angkor in Asia.

Perhaps the human infant faces most precarious conditions from the birth. S/he is fully dependent for their survival on others. Tarzan myth indeed is exemplary, about parenthood.

Formative Age and Learning

The most pertinent question remains. Can social institutions, such as schools, orphanages, hospitals, homes for the aged etc. compensate the need for parenthood?

Family is not an institution, it is basically a unit of a community — a cohesive collective — which gives identity to every individual. The Institutions such as schools, governments etc. are faceless enteritis, where an individual cannot have ethical or moral relationship. For this reason they offer titles and awards.

Formative Age
Family and Community, both, offer building up and flowering of the new born persons at their Formative Age, with culture, values, morality, character, altruism, life supporting skills. This is best illustrated among adivasi – tribal communities. This 'action of building and flowering' of a person is not possible for any school in 'mass education system', even if one may claim to be progressive! They produce 'graded stereotypes'.

Thus teaches Buddha
By our mass education system, designed by the experts who are brought up by the same system, we too think within the same system — within the box. This goes on and on for decades, except for few adjustments and readjustments.

Family or Household

Thankfully Industrialization has successfully turned traditional societies into homogenised mass society, split the joint family into nuclear families, and finally, ended the family too.

Now, a 'family' is popularly called 'household'. It is a unit in the 'Mass Society' not a Community’. Household could be anything: even a group of migrant youths or adults in search of skills, jobs in towns or cities. They have no identity other than their 'occupation'. It is variously called, for example, 'housewife', not mother or grandmother. There the matter ends for the purpose of various surveys; it is useful data for the managers of the country's affairs.

In a country like India, there is so much diversity because of disparity in access to education. It is not that the so-called masses are uneducated: they do sustain by their education, though unrecognized by the system or the government!

Who is supposed to think in such a scenario? Any person — a citizen, young or old — can use creative thinking going beyond the stereotypical daily actions and notions. Everyone is blessed by creativity and personal space; even while doing daily mimicry in occupation.

If everyone practices Creativity, then perhaps Democracy shall begin at grassroots, not at the top rungs of social hierarchies!

And the children! We make them carry heavy school bag packs, books, notebooks and the  subjects... added by the periodical whims of the educationists, and now gadgets such as mobile phones and computers. We want them to be better citizens, before they come of age! In return what do they receive? Chaos perennial!

Complexities of modern urban society pose many challenges to parents. By admitting children to schools at age of three, their social life begins even before they have developed many physical and mental faculties. They enter into an alien world. We hardly know how it influences their Formative Age. A child depends fully on exposure s/he gets, first, at the family and immediate neighbourhood (streets included), then follows the peer group. Later on their public life that begins in formal education which is ready to influence them!

Parenthood is Vocation, not an Occupation

We need to assess and re-asses social situation again and again in the present flux. It may vary for each person or family in each strata of society. The overall situation, however, creates Alienation and Identity Crisis. In such a situation, parenthood is not an occupation, but a vocation which calls for attention, thinking, and meditation; and to reach wise strategies; it may change with every child, and every parent!

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

City and Civilized Society and Their Rise and Fall

Mumbai in 1670

 Vasco de Gama after wining the war at Mahim Fort, sent his solders in Mahim Village, to massacre the passing villagers on the streets. He just wanted to terrorize the people.  Later the missionaries followed him to preach ‘Good News’.
 Later Mumbai was given in dowry by Portuguese Royalty to British Royalty. Where is Portugal? Where is Great Britain? Where is Mumbai?

City is a Symbol of Centralized Power

City, primarily, is a symbol of Centralized Power in Civilized Societies, since its inception. What V Gordon Childe, archaeologist, calls 'Urban Revolution' is the birth of Civilization some 5K years ago.

The rise and growth of Civilization also goes with Urbanization, which is City as a human habitat.

Since then city has become a parasite on its region for its sustenance. In the Modern Times, the so-called Global Cities and mega-cities have spanned their dominance over lands even beyond their immediate regions, far and wide, even across their sovereign borders, across the continents and oceans. They manage this aggression by remote control from the Board Rooms in mega-cities.

Civilized society, as is known, is based on the division of labor, social hierarchies of the ruler and the ruled, classes/castes, or the Classless society and the Underclass. Even in democracies in historical times the slavery did exist. Here Democracy is misnomer.

In recent times democracies did go for colonizing, by various means, weaker nations, now called Third World. In 5000 years indeed Democracy has not come of life.
However, in India the unarmed Buddhist monks, in 200 BC, colonized other countries by religious thought of nonviolence.

True Democracy

How could any civilized society practice democracy in true sense? It possible only when 'the People are the Means and Goals’ for the well-being of all the living beings. Only then democracy is possible. Neither the means nor the goals could be economy, technology, market, exchange rates, foreign affairs... blah, blah, blah. State is only a facilitator.

In spite of the presence of all the institutions to manage society, the chaos and strife never ended. It will never end if the mindset of a power oriented society does not end, and accept democracy in total.

To bring this change, needs introspection by the power-classes. Here the writing of constitutions, acts and laws are useless. Perhaps, a beginning of process to Decentralization of Power would help.

There is no escape from chaos until the responsibility and right to equitable distribution of resources should be rested on the shoulders of the Collective (what we customarily call Civil Society).

The End of the City

The size of The Collective, therefore, must have Human Scale. In other words, it will be the 'end of the city' as a human habitat; it is inevitable. With Information Technology this is not impossible. The obvious factor is, it should begin simultaneously at the top and the bottom rungs of the collective.

This is not a Utopia. It is being practiced by aborigine communities (cohesive collectives) for millennia: There is a lesson to learn for the present consumerist societies that splurge finite resource that belong to all living beings – the inmates on the Earth.

In the past, the feudal powers promised security to the subjects of their material life, and the religious powers promised salvation - Moksha - after death.

Now these are replaced by the governments (by design or default, the corporate powers) promise physical security, and science with machine-money-market, the new clergy class, promise happiness.

Post Script

The young people, who begin their homes, generally begin by taking loans.  We are speaking about our great urban middle class. They buy a house by taking loan. They would acquire gadgets, furniture, furnishings… etc. by taking loans. This is called 'lifestyle'.

Happy are those who receive fat inheritance from their old parents!

When the young begin their adult life, they are past their spring-time – youth – in building up their career. Where does this debt-trap end in the rat-race of life-sucking competition, in the saturated market?

They acquire training for their careers on the assembly-lines at educational institutions. However, they hardly have any life-supporting skills, either from the institutions or their families, during their youth. Hence, even for common cold they run to the experts/specialists. This is called Third Ecology, which is outside Natural Ecology.
What a mountain-high ego!
Who is supposed to think of posterity?

Remigius de Souza | Mumbai | 17-09-13
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Information Age

In hogging without ruminating
I forgot my Fourth Need ---
Release without polluting. …
Alas! To Remi's help no guru, no god!
(19–03– 2004)

Sri Ganesha
There is a story about epic Mahabharata. Sage Vyas wanted someone to take dictation of epic Mahabharata. Sri Ganesha's name was suggested. Sri Ganesha, too, was ready for the task. But he put a condition to sage Vyasa that he would not stop dictating once he begun. Vyasa, too, agreed, but with a condition, that Sri Ganesha would not write anything without understanding what he writes.

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Bhill House and Habitat in Satpura Ranges (Video)

House of Tetya Nusa Koli and Its Environ 

Aborigine-Adivasi Culture is so rich that it should be understood as World Heritage and should be preserved. For more than 10K years, or perhaps from unknown time, they have been living in Harmony with Nature. But now in the hurricane of development on western model it is doubtful how long will they last!

Here is a glimpses of one of the tribe in their house and habitat: 


Aborigine House and Habitat

  • House is living area. Habitat is open work area, mainly forest, wetlands and farming.
  •  In contrast the urbanite have mostly enclosed spaces /places for work, education, leisure... etc. in divisions.
  • The fundamental cultural difference between Adivasi Community and Civilized Society is paramount. This is neither recognized nor understood by the State.
  • The peasants in villages, too, have their homestead as workplace - farm, wetlands, pastures, forest... like Adivasis. They, however, belong to civilized society, divided by class and caste.
  • It is vital for the State to understand this unique trait of Adivasi (aborigine) culture in its total governance and administration while dealing with Adivasi Habitat.
  • Adivasi's Ancestral Right to their Habitat must be recognized as their Fundamental Right. This indeed must not be superseded by the civilized society.
  • Bhills are one of the largest tribes in India.
  • Tribal communities are small republics.
  • Community is Cohesive Collective, where family is primary unit; hence, it is an Extended Family, where none suffers Identity Crisis.
  • Among adivasi communities there is no Division of Labour, as in Civilized Societies.
  • Every individual is representative of the Adivasi - aborigine - community.
  • They acquire life-supporting skills by experiential learning, and receive their time-tested ancient wisdom from their families and the elders of the community, at early age.
  • Community Participation works in every aspect of individual, family and community living such as, housing, farming, leisure, learning... etc.
  • Adivasis make their own flute, bow and arrows, bead ornaments, and tools for household, fishing and farm utilities...
  • There is no gender discrimination, no prostitution among Adivasis.
  • Sustainable living means to take minimum necessary resources from Nature. It is living sanely in communion with Srishti - Mother Nature.
  • Finally, adivasi could give authentic anthropological account of their tribe and community. The rest is civilized interpretation, or rather imagination!
  • Land and Waters give sustenance to all the living beings and culture to humans. Hence Biodiversity brings Diversity of Cultures. There is no superior culture.
  • Remarkable Communication System: within a couple of days a few thousand (Narmada Dam affected) tribal would gather, at Medha Patkar's call for public meeting on the day.
  • Societies, Unions, Associations, Corporations... or civil societies are not Communities, or those floated on Internet in the wilderness of World-Wide-Web.
  • Everyone in Adivasi - Aborigine - communities dance and sing at will. Why should they watch cinema-video at cost, price, value or worth of elusive time or money?
  • Adivasis - aborigines - don't believe in 'Ownership of Land (Water)'. They build live fences to protect crops from animals.
  • Concept of Ownership of Land by a person / group / State has no ethical or moral ground in the realms of Srishti - Mother Nature. Revenue Survey Nos. brought by the British Rule is an immoral act.
  • Tribal house, when obsolete, goes back to earth, recycled, and some of its parts are reused. Nothing is wasted. This is Natural Way. Modern science and technology do not reach anywhere near.

Read MORE >> Bhill's Holi Festival in Satpura Ranges, India
India, largely a country of immigrants says Supreme Court of India

1.These photos may seem familiar on this blog. However, they have many dimensions. More you look into the Way of Living of Adivasis more is revealed.

2. When my classmates, college mates, colleagues were going abroad to US, EU, OZ, Middle East… I was going into interiors in search of ROOTS, to aborigine hamlets in forests, to see the beginnings. I went with humility of a child; I was/am not a scholar but scholastic. It brought me transformation. They changed my life, way of living-working-thinking, initiated me to their faith, or whatever you may call, without any rites and rituals...

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Clay Silos in Villages of Gujarat (Slideshow)

Such silos are common in many parts of India. These silos are customarily built newly marries women. They learn this art or craft building silos at home, not in the schools.

Read more clay, cow-dung silos >> Clay–Cow dung Grain Silos of Gujarat

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Scratch – Creative Games for the Young and Old

Scratch: produced by the MIT Media Lab

Create stories, games, and animations
Share with others around the world

While Scratch is primarily designed for 8 to 16 year olds, it is also used by people of all ages, including younger children with their parents.

About Scratch
With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.

Scratch is designed especially for ages 8 to 16, but is used by people of all ages. Millions of people are creating Scratch projects in a wide variety of settings, including homes, schools, museums, libraries, and community centers.

For Parents
Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.


Text and Images: Courtesy MIT Media Lab
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Rupee ₹ Slides in International Market

 Even the wealthy nations face economic crunch

There exist Five Economies in India, of course, not officially recognized.

1. The Fifth World India Economy, of the displaced & marginalized ryot, that started emerging during the benevolent Firangi Raj, and grew at accelerated rate, now, during Swa-Raj. It survives by recycling the waste / effluence left by the elite.

2. The Fourth World India Economy, of the aborigine tribes, which started in ancient times and continues; it has been disturbed by the governments.

3. The Third World India Economy, of the agrarian society in rural India. It has been self-sustaining until colonized by Industrialization. Now it is in chaos.

4. The First World India Economy, which rules the Nation. It is internationally recognized. It is also visible in the countrywide chaos in equality.

5. The Gray Zone Economy, which is variously called: Black Money, secret accounts in foreign banks, scams and frauds, extortion, etc.

What is the rate of Rupee in each of these five Indian Economies?
Before answering this question, let us remember that currency, any currency, has no tangible value.

J. K. Galbraith (one of India's rare or very few friends) described India's society at the start in one of his essays (Ambassador's journal: a personal account of the Kennedy years): there is a horizontal line that divides the society. There are a very few above the line, and a large mass of people below it.

The rupee symbol '₹’ is a graphic representation of Galbraith's words which documents the shameful and drastic inequality and injustice.

A 'Vastu' expert opined, the horizontal line on Devanagari letter ' र ' is inauspicious to India. The Experts fumble!

Alas! None thinks of the 'Centralized Power' is a basic feature of Civilized Society since its birth 5K years ago, also called 'Urban Revolution', which has also proved to be inauspicious to 'Land, Waters and Life' on the Earth!!

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

India’s Population Uncensored

India's Population Uncensored | Painted Poem by Remigius de Souza

Here population explosion unlimited
Many Family Planning options employed
All Planning remedies get tired
Once an obstacle of Auspicious Time worked
But now through all seasons and times
Marriages happen 24x7 on TV serials

(18 February 2013 | Mumbai)

This is not an intellectual verbal acrobatics, but poetry in real life experienced and encountered by all my senses. Clearly, this is a word-caricature of Indian disparity or absurdity on several fronts, which cannot be caught in a photograph or a movie or in a fat discourse. Call it a poem, or a parody, if you wish, that defies rules of classical or romantic literature.

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Discourses (Mod Age Haiku)

Discourses, Mod Age Haiku, by Remi de Souza

We, the civilized, love scriptures, philosophies etc. They provide plenty of food for dogmas. Countless commentaries pour in, just as in the past from the elite cream of civil societies. Particularly in the ages of technologies such as, Paper, Printing, ET-IT... and Mass Media etc., there is a lot of churning and chewing of old bones that go on and on.

The spread of Mass Higher Education and easy money adds on to the volumes. They talk standing on a platform, while ignore what is bellow. They provide ample quantity of Quotes. It hardly has either face of and/or insight into People.

©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Mumbai for Women by Women

Remi’s open thinking on the issue


We appreciate the initiative “Mumbai For Women” by The Times Of India and IndiBlogger. We, however, feel women should take the lead for the action; hence “By Women” is added.

Mumbai and its Centralized Power

Mumbai's area, population and its socio-demographic-economic diversity are mind-blowing or rather mind boggling. But above all of them is its magnitude of power, or of the centralized power above the regions far and wide.

We have heard that 'power breeds corruption'. Power in every possible aspect of public domain shows corruption, not only economic but even intellectual, which may appear in form of dogmas.

The powers, legally or illegally, cause atrocities on weaker sections. The apparent causes could be any ? land, water, language, region, caste, religion etc.; gender is one of them.

We have seen children are made to beg by gangsters. Women and children become soft targets for atrocities.

Here we are addressing an issue of atrocities on women. These may be prevalent in patriarchal societies across times and places with difference in degrees. We are familiar with names of Sita, Draupadi etc. There have been cases of Sati, child marriages etc. in some societies.

But now the scale of atrocities is unprecedented.

For example: SC slams govt for equating housewives with beggars (HT, July 24, 2010)
It (SC) has also taken strong exception to the government clubbing them with prostitutes, beggars and prisoners in the Census.

I had seen the Census Survey of India of 1980, which mentioned this category. It also categorizes women them as ‘non-workers’, while in reality their share of work larger than males. Perhaps this practice has been going on since British Raj. Hopefully it might have changed now.

We can certainly say this is an act of offense (even by oversight or negligence) by the Government of India.

Mumbai is mini-India / mini-Bharat

There are the First World India, Third World India and Fifth World India (of the displaced and marginalized), and also the Fourth World India (of Adivasi – aborigines).

The Fourth World India is living in the backyard of Mumbai. Their women visit Mumbai, almost daily to sale forest produce, so that they can earn some cash for the family. Aborigines never settle in urban areas.

Of course, they are also living in the National Park at Borivali, since ancient times, long before Gautama Buddha was born.

Hence, we could say the Fourth World India, too, is now in the jurisdiction of Metropolitan City of Mumbai, by Design or Default, to expand Mumbai’s centralized power. Their status, however, in the city is not defined, or is forgotten.

Mumbai's Grey land-use zone – slums – proliferated in urban areas

This is the fallout of legal actions taken by the successive governments since Nehru Era, or even earlier during British Raj, for the Industrial and Economic Development. This has been done without due Rehabilitation of the affected, which creates social, economic, regional imbalance, beyond doubt.

It has also created a class of neo-rich, who indulge in splurge, consumerism… and indulgences! One may take a walk in Mumbai and be an eyewitness to the overpowering disparity and despair.

This is an assault on the weaker sections of the society; by default it affects women.

What is the role of 'For Women'?

If we recall Mumbai’s role in shaping India's freedom, there are many events. Here we mention only one: 'Quit India' movement that started at August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai. We deliberately refer this to Mumbai.

This is part two: 'For Women'. Forget men. Women must take the lead 'For Women'. This is not an elite kitty party. But the kitty parties also may join in.
The last part ‘By Women’

The women should take initiative and start the action. This third part may need some input: 'Learning from the People'. Women in Mumbai, however, should decide their agenda and their course of action. This is not an activism, but it calls for “action” at a personal level, first!

Learning from People: Women in Rural India

1. Among the aborigine communities there is No Gender Discrimination, no prostitution, no female foeticide. Widows and divorces can remarry. The youth (males and females) receive instructions about sex and marriage from the elders.

Besides, no one in their communities suffer from ‘Identity Crisis’, as in the Industrial Societies.

2. We have heard about 'Chipko Movement' started by Chandiprasad Bhut. Women of Bishnoi tribe in Rajasthan practiced it long ago.

3. Sitayana, instead of Ramayana, is composed in 'Ovi' form of poetry in Marathi by peasant women in Maharashtra. They speak about the injustice done to Sita by Rama (compiled by Tara Bhavalkar).

They indeed go beyond popular faith and/or beliefs.

4. Other example: Peasant women forced to shut down the 'licensed' (Read, Legal) liquor shops in their villages, in many parts of the country. They were harassed by their liquor boozer men in their families.

Everything legal does not necessarily mean to give justice.

Urban women, irrespective of their social-economic-political status, must take the lead and run this movement.

Action Plan for the Authorities


The Formative Age
 Any adult may check how the formative age has influenced her/his personal course of life; and also find out about the others - known or well-known persons. 

The criminals should be clinically examined by the social and psychiatry scientists as an ongoing research. What more a sick and decadent society could do?

Each offender/criminal should also be treated as a mentally and physically sick / lunatic person. Each one should be treated as a case-study, as if rare / rarest offense.

The details of their Formative Age, work and leisure activities, their companions, family background, education, socio-economic conditions... should be investigated.

In short, find out what leads them to commit any crime/s against females in the society. May the criminals be young or old, irrespective of their status in the society, higher the status of the offender rigorous should be the investigations.

The findings and results should be made public.

Investigate Social Aspects in Multimedia

Multimedia, here, include the cinema, television, Information Technology outlets, such as Internet, games on computers. Most vulnerable exposure to violence (hand-in-hand with love) takes place in cinema and 24x7 television programmes.

Women, being familiar with TV programme, should investigate and evaluate the programmes – serials, news, advertisements etc. On the TV there is always a band running that appeals the viewers for their objections.

Finally, it is necessary to come out of UTOPIA as well as leave the Web of VIRTUAL REALITY, and come down ‘DOWN TO EARTH of Reality’.
What is most essential is one has to go beyond personal likes and dislikes, and look at the whole issue Holistically beyond personal, in the Collective Domain.

Remigius de Souza


'Heroine of the Desert' by Donya Al- Nahi - I am reading this book (in Marathi, translated by Shobhana Shiknis). It is Donya's own real life story of her mission to bring back the children to their mothers; this is an Action, not merely activism. It is an example what a woman can do for the justice to women in distress.

1. Emergence of The Fifth World India
2. Indian Schooling
3. Nature (Science weekly) has recently published a special issue, Women in Science: Women’s work. A special section of Nature finds that there is still much to do to achieve gender equality in science (06 March 2013).
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Drag-Net of Virtual Reality

Picture or Word is Virtual Reality

A ‘Picture’ or a ‘Word’ for a tree is not a ‘Tree’.

Both are symbols. We assume its meaning by convention or as per our level of perception. Its Reality however is complex and multidimensional.

A word or a picture, sculpture, photo or movie... in many avatars – old / new – though they may seem to be attractive, it is never permanent, it is momentary, it is far from ground reality.

It is, therefore, necessary to go beyond it, experience and check it in the real world, keeping personal likes/ dislikes, beliefs, habits, dogmas away. This may help us enrich and develop our perception of reality. It also reveals us many dimensions of reality. This makes constructive creativity in thought and action possible, for anyone. This much is certainly possible for us, irrespective of our calling – a prince or a pauper or a pundit.

A word or a picture has limitations in an infinite space and in linear time. Over a period of time the meanings and references of words too change.

Instead of watching and enjoying a virtual reality in whatever forms, and to create its memorial means to be a victim or a slave of virtual reality, to get entangled further in its dragnet constantly. In other words it is living in the past, in other words, is to deny the present – to deny living Life itself.

In the present state of mechanical way of living, not only human life but also life of all living beings is being exploited. At such times any idea, theory, dogma, law, act... all could turn into terror and extremity in various ways at personal, societal, local, regional and/or global levels. It is no surprise.

A fact, any fact, continually changes; it is never a state of truth. Truth can never be caught in word/s. Truth, which is caught in words, does not remain truth.

Is there a way out from the drag-net of Virtual Reality?

Thinking 'within box' of a belief in civil society does not offer any answer! The beliefs are built over ages as customs, though they may be relevant in the bygone times. Not only the natural environment but also the social, political, economic environment goes through constant change.

However, civilized society is historically based on centralized power of class/caste and division of labour. Through ages this has never changed. The instrument of Virtual Reality is designed to support the present class of centralized power.

Imagine what was the population of India before the Aryans came, or even before the emergence of civilizations in India 5000 years ago? Later, invasions by many races continued to follow until the recent times of colonization, and now it is neo-colonization.

The warfare between Aryans and Non-Aryans, variously named in Indic languages, was primarily racial. Hitler in Germany is an extreme example of dogmatic Aryan extremity. There may be more...

In the social sphere it may be worth to consider: how far the four Varnas – classes – of Vedic times, in the following centuries, took ugliest dogmatic extremity in castes, sub-castes, and sub-sub-castes!  Cases of discrimination against women, by way customs of child marriage, Sati, parda, and atrocities by high castes males on the women of low castes are many. For example, after Kurukshetra war, Dhrutarashtra’s last rites were performed by his illegitimate son, because all his hundred sons were dead (Mahashweta Devi, After Kururukkshtra). 

Siddhartha Jatakas have many stories that explicitly condemn women; they were denied entry to the Sangha.

The Industrial Civilization has perfected its system of colonizing the masses through their education system. Learning is autonomous function of all the living-beings. But the British-made mass education system that we continue to follow is a primary cause of alienation of all those produced on assembly line of mass education. It produces the Culture of Contentment that leads to the alienation from the ‘Other’, may they be their kin.
Now there is wave of Virtual Reality through multimedia. It depends upon how to put it for constructive use for the well-being of all.

"There's no question that this is a time when corporations have taken over the basic process of governing." (Galbraith in a PBS television interview on The Newshour shortly before his death)

An Example: A Song, a Movie & Real Life India

Words, tones, meanings, emotions form a song. Then, could 'Chuk de India', the song be moved out from the movie? What is exact difference between to make such a movie and to happen in real life at entire India? Mere hollow slogan! Noise pollution inside out!

There is no other school like Family. There is no other college like Community, where the Family is its unit. There is no other Guru like Mother Nature.

However, when Family, Community, Society and Mother Nature are assaulted by the faceless power-hungry class, then what shall be the fate, who shall be the saviour of the new born or the yet-to-born? Or would that be their God (or branded gods) and the religious institutions founded by the civilized societies - civilizations?

Only a Community, i.e. cohesive collective, with autonomy could offer freedom from present Identity Crisis.

The so-called virtual communities on Internet Web sites are a magnificent illusion; it pampers only Ego, not a valid way out for the identity crises, but entangles more in Virtual Reality.

Could the affluent educated parents, elders and the youth build up such a community or several communities, of course, in cities?

End piece: Every person is creative

In a democratic republican State every person must get opening to her/his creativity. That goes without debate.

Creativity is not a prerogative of any class, race or any particular person – a genius. There are no hierarchies. It means that all the affairs of the collective must be changed from the root. Here the role of a government is merely of a facilitator without any bias.

Life is larger than all Arts, Sciences, Religions, Philosophies, trade, techs, State... through times and places.

8 March 2013

Note: 'Culture of Contentment', an essay by J K Galbraith describes American society believes it is classless, and ignores its functional Underclass. Aren't we, some of us lured / influenced by American Affluence!
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Friday, 15 February 2013


Fifty Years of Nation Building


Viceroy's Residence at New Delhi
All that I saw was a huge gate whenever I visited the place

LOOKING BACK, the event – 15th August 1947 – now seems an end, and not a beginning.

Symbolically and virtually, when the President of India walked into the Outhouse of the British Empire, i.e. Viceroy's Palace (renamed ‘Rashtrapati Bhavan’), it was an insult to her people, who continued to live in 5, 57,000 villages and in the slums and even below poverty line. Their fate was sealed as second-class citizens. There erupted a trade in a new guise to take over the feudal mastership, a scramble for power and profit, and a stream of sugarcoated slogans.

The intellectual corruption, therefore, cannot be measured.

Architects and planners belong to the same stock of rulers – looking for clues, inspiration, models, collaborations, and approvals… – and aid from the West or otherwise from the bygone past.
Who does care for the living present and posterity!
It begins with formal education, which conspires to breed a hybrid monoculture, far from creativity.

The only hope for freedom is the millions who silently resist, suffer, protest, prevail, sustain without coming into the fold of the ruling minority.  In-spite of the onslaught of the environment, ecology and energy at the hands of development planning that continues to fail (to bring wellbeing to the majority).

There is hope, if millions are taken into confidence:  if there is collective creativity which is an Indian tradition and heritage and a collective introspection.

There is hope, as some signs of change appear on the horizon.

The so-called Rashtrapati Bhavan Estates deserve to be returned to the people for the fit use of public fairs, fun and frolic and its part for a museum of enslaved past, for the posterity to learn from. Then perhaps the Indian Architecture of freedom and democracy will emerge?

(This note was sent in response to: “Write about a building(s) or urban development which you feel has had a lasting impact on post-independence Indian architecture”, a request by Indian Architect Builder, and published in its special issue, “50 Years of nation Building”, August 1997, p.69)

It took 15 years to realize part of a my wishful thinking. There is a news: Rashtrapati Bhavan Mughal Gardens set to open for public from February 16

Read More>> Urban Renewal in the Regional Context

Note: The image above is from Internet.
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mother Nature With Us Forever

Mother Nature With Us even after Death as Soil or Ashes


The home of Mother Nature has no gods-idols-hero worshipers
In biotic - abiotic nature comprehend Supreme Spirit personified;
She is ever visible, audible, edible, tactile, sexual...
Progenitor, boon to mortals, Dance of Life and Death, too;
Mother Nature embodies one Language–Dharma–Scripture–Law;
She is Primal Guru–Primal School–Open Book, freely available to all.

Remigius de Souza | Mumbai | 25-12-2009

Mother Nature at our hand

Mother Nature does neither recognize humans as her favourite species nor their social boundaries and hierarchies.

Civilized Societies are so obsessed with boundaries that they decorate. add on ornaments, make memorials out of them and applause them, such as Great Wall of China, which is no more than a symbol of feudalism!

Similarly plants and other animals too don't recognize human societies' boundaries and social hierarchies. The domesticated animals - chickens, cats, cattle, goats etc. - too don't recognize them, except when they return 'home' in the evening.

Bacteria, in hordes, enter our guts when we start taking external foods, other than mother's milk, in our early childhood; they make colonies there.

Hopefully, we behold 'Nature' beyond 'greenery' of gardens, farms, woodlands, remaining forests, and wetlands; beyond Wordsworth's poems, Turner's paintings, beyond photographs / movies / videos for visual pleasure; howsoever advanced they may be, they are not alternatives to Nature,

They may help us to recall our beautiful/terrible experiences of Nature.

Life Sciences and archaeology, with their advances, also help us to know more about Nature and our place in Nature.

Perhaps we realize power and dreary aspects of Nature in cyclones, cloud bursts, earth quakes, lightening, tsunami and Climate Change (which is not fiction).

First observation of Nature

Any first hand contact with Nature at elementary and personal level is a good beginning, may it be watching self in body-and-mind; no rituals, no auspicious timings, no mantras, no special settings and sitting postures are required. Just observe with attention and compassion, as both body and mind are our tools and we are their custodians. There is no mystery; we are part of Nature just as the ‘greenery’ outside.
We can carry on this observation any time, or through out a day. 

Second observation of Nature

Roadside Sapling in Tree Pot
 We, Indic people, believe in Five Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. The best option is to observe plants and be in contact with then.

Better still for us is to actually sow a few seeds from kitchen in a small tin / plastic / earthen pot/s (at different seasons) and help them grow. No need to refer any manuals.

Every seed may not germinate. Watch them, see them sprout, take care, feed them sunlight and water. By and by, we come in contact with Elements, together with saplings, thereby with Mother Nature.

 Agricultural Revolution at Nature’s Lab

Ten thousand years ago half naked humans domesticated wild plants and animals, and Agricultural Revolution began in a most trying natural conditions.

It did spread all over the world (without Intellectual Property Rights attached).

Civilized Society did not exist then. Rise of Civilization which is also called Urban Revolution followed Agricultural Revolution five thousand years later.

Industrial Civilization was born just a few hundred year ago, where we belong. We received our learning on the Assembly Lines in Mass Schooling System.

Isn't it a high time to get acquainted with Mother Nature – Srishti?


Note: While writing this post I came across this blog-pot “Humans and Nature: Can the Gulf Be Bridged?” (The New York Times, Feb. 5, 2013). The very title shows how the west / westernized / the urbanite etc. is divorced from nature. (Please see my comments on the post.)~ ~ ~ ~ ~
©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Land is Commodity in Modern Times

Architects, Planners plan, draw, paint beautiful 2D, 3D images, with landscape, served on a platter to public. In the course of time there came 4D - moving images - with emergence of technology (ET-IT).

However, a building becomes an Act of Law, when a project - a house, road, flyover, bridge, dam... or a city materializes on the land, according to the Law. That doesn't happen to texts/pictures unless the culture police protest and/or vandalize them.

How many indeed do see this situation beyond the standards and bye-laws? Or did I ever see?

This question has been following me for a long time. It kept on lingering at the back of my mind during the busy hours on drawing board and leisure days of long travels.

Sometimes the question would surface and quietly recede, leaving a tingling feeling, an astringent taste! I made several mental notes as well as notes on paper over the years. They referred the places & people together, witnessed across the life-span.

I also wrote several stories/poems – metafiction – on the subject of Land, Waters and Life. Each time the question would reveal some clue, stilt it remained.

‘Architect’ is a legal title in India for a few decades now. However, ‘Architecture’ is not is not subjected to legality!

The Land is under the jurisdiction of Land Revenue Act. Its label ‘agricultural land’ changes to 'non-agricultural land', used for building construction. Its tenure changes in the land records, which obviously it is meant for higher taxes. The law was originally designed by the British Raj.

Hence, Land becomes a Commodity. Our ancient belief / faith / sentiment of 'Mother
Land' — also as “Vande Mataram” depicts — , then turns into a mechanical ritual of 'Bhoomi Pooja' – worship of land – whether a cultural custom or religious ceremony. Its cultural or religious sanctity is long lost into oblivion.

None, either the orthodoxy or the religious, ever came to her - Mother's - rescue.
Wars are waged for ownership of land though. Our 'cultural police' are quiet on the issue for long, long lost!

The adivasi – aborigine – communities in India, and elsewhere too, continue to believe that 'no one – an individual or a group – has right to own the Land', behave and live for millennia. The onslaught wrecked on them by the civilized societies, for the past five thousand years, did not change their belief, behaviour and way of living.

Architecture - What is it? Basically a Shelter!
Personally for me architecture has been only a Utility, a means for survival. I don't hold that ‘title’ any more. I was, perhaps the 1ST “Idiot”, long before Aamir Khan’s movie, “3 Idiots”, came; I had unceremoniously walked away from the first day of final, qualifying examination.

They – the aborigine – believe, behave and live, 'Walk the Talk', whole heartedly in harmony with Mother Nature to sustain living.

Land Revenue Act and its instrument 'Land Survey Maps' have been more sinister than the black law, the 'Land Acquisition Act' that followed. It was a sinister blow to the ancient 'Unwritten Law of Mother Nature'.

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Friday, 18 January 2013



Survival and Life in Mumbai – Daily Bread


Squatter Mother, Child and Hearth, in Mumbai

Two generations have born and grew up in Mumbai in subhuman conditions. But no one knows how to give them fair deal as citizens of this great nation.

Mother and Father: Marathi proverb modified
In Mumbai about 60% persons live in "Grey Land Use Zone", which is illegal or unrecognized. They landless, homeless, displaced and marginalized in their motherland. The elite are chasing them away everywhere.

Survival and Life in City: Mother's Little Helpers

Precious childhood learns life-supporting skills in the nursery school of Life itself: there is no better teacher anywhere. What memories would they carry as they grow-up? Who knows? They may not have entered even the Census Survey of India. 

Mother Nature!, Give us this day our honest bread!
The marginalized and displaced have no demands even for their needs
from anyone.

Learning aids - 1
This hawker on street has her kin and clan and close-knit community scattered in city: They don't suffer Identity crisis, though homeless in their Motherland.

"यही मुंबै मेरी जान ।"
This Mumbai My Love!


Street vendor in Mumbai

This street vender, though s/he may be illiterate, but knows well:
  • about 'survival' (meaning, to live sanely) better than 'Authority';
  • about what things sell in this metropolis;
  • about life that teaches lessons in the country-wide-classroom;
  • about authority that is a faceless entity;
  • about glossy paper books that fail to teach lessons in Real Life, Down to Earth;
  • about the pampered kids pushed to live in the Virtual Reality, day in out;
  • And about how to save to her portable shop, from the baton...
Street vendor in Mumbai

There are many dimensions to this frugal figure acquired through the glorious past, an Epic Poem in Person.

The elders hardly have time to take their kids to nearby places to look at vegetable & fish market, grocery shop, gardens and parks - though a very few, paddy farms on the outskirts of the city/suburbs or town, which offer innumerable variety in every aspect described in these glossy books, and much more.

Poor kids! Despite affluence they don’t have grandparents who could help, nearby...

Children have countless curiosities — questions, keen observation with all their senses, above all, their spontaneity and innocence!
But before long, before they see, experience and understand the real world around them, not even their immediate neighbourhood, they are pushed into Virtual Reality: Ready canned food, drinks, spices, views in TV, cell phone, MP3, Info-Technology.
At a tender age of 2-3, they are admitted into a public domain called 'nursery school', when they are not even introduced to their kin and clan: So they become 'smart' guys 'n gals.
This is rubbing salt on the wounded cohesive collective by the demise of joint family.
  • Can a school impart social values, which kinship and community could inculcate without a paid lecturer?
  • Could the Industry & Trade remove this social lack of values and morality?
  • Can a physicist and an economist sitting on high chairs at the helm of country's affairs provide answer with rockets and global market economy?
∴ The elders, each one, should try to find the answers.

Life is larger than all Arts, Sciences, Religions, Philosophies, trade, technologies, States... through times and places, — Remigius de Souza

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.