Friday 30 September 2016


Microblog on Timepiece

The clock. Yes, it's the clock! The timepiece has created all the hegemonic virtues around punctuality, and vices around 'free-will' to be 'natural being'. Had there been no clocks, there been nobody to be on 'time' and hence nobody would ever be 'late'. . .  No need to give undue respect to those who are on time, and no need to despise those who are late. Cursed be the day on which clock was invented! There is no surprise - 'Horology' (study of time) sounds like 'horror'.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Selfie in Literature

#Selfie in #literature is not a new phenomenon.
Actually, this is going beyond autobiographies. As autobiographies have yet another battle to fight n win and that's about it being called "real" literature. But, quite interestingly, writers have used "words" as now people use "camera" to take selfie of what they do, eat, drink, travel . . . and what not!
The only difference is that this new form is just done with camera phones rather than with words. There are great many #narcissists in literary world.
Walt Whitman with his '*Song of Myself* which begins with this line
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself"
is an example enough to prove it.
*Kamala Das*/ *Madavikutty's '* *An Introduction* ' is yet another interesting example of selfie in poem:
"I am Indian, very brown, born in Malabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
It is I who drink lonely
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns,
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love
And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours.
I too call myself I*."
(The image is gujarati poem (?) by Chandrakant Bakshi. Shared by Jay Metra in comment on fb post.

Monday 19 September 2016

Existentialism: Video Resources

Existentialism: Learn to think and 'be' an Existentialist

This blog contains two web resources and nine short video to learn the fundamentals of Existentialist philosophy (apart from additional reading resources for deeper understanding).

1) Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existencefreedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. It focuses on the question of human existence, and the feeling that there is no purpose or explanation at the core of existence. It holds that, as there is no God or any other transcendent force, the only way to counter this nothingness (and hence to find meaning in life) is by embracing existence.
Thus, Existentialism believes that individuals are entirely free and must take personal responsibility for themselves (although with this responsibility comes angst, a profound anguish or dread). It therefore emphasizes actionfreedom and decision as fundamental, and holds that the only way to rise above the essentially absurd condition of humanity (which is characterized bysuffering and inevitable death) is by exercising our personal freedom and choice (a complete rejection of Determinism) (The Basics of Philosophy) (Click here to read full article)


2) Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology. This very broad definition will be clarified by discussing seven key themes that existentialist thinkers address, i.e. 
a.                   Philosophy as a Way of Lifeb.                  Anxiety and Authenticityc.                   Freedom
d.                  Situatednesse.                   Existencef.                   Irrationality/Absurdity g.                  The Crowd

  1. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  3. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  4. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  5. Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  6. Albert Camus (1913-1960) as an Existentialist Philosopher
(Click on the themes or names to read the article by Douglas Burnham)
Apart from the philosopher mentioned above, the contribution of Hegel, Dostoevsky, Husserl and Samuel Beckett is significant in the 'Existenlialism'.

Video 1: What is Existentialism? (Click the link to watch the video)

Video 2: The Myth of Sisyphus: The Absurd Reasoning (Feeling of the Absurd) (Click the link to watch the video)

Video 3: The Myth of Sisyphus: the notion of philosophical suicide (Click the link to watch video)

Video 4: Dadaism, Nihilism and Existentialism

Video 5: Existentialism - a gloomy philosophy (Click the link to watch the video)

Video 6: Existentialism and Nihilism: Is it one and the same?

Video 7: Let us introduce Existentialism again!

If you still find it difficult to understand this philosophy, view this video:

Video 8: Explain like I'm Five: Existentialism and Nietzsche:

Video 9: Why I like Existentialism? Eric Dodson

Video 10: Let us sum up: From Essentialism to Existentialism

Additional reading resources:

If you want to read more about
  1. What is Existentialism?

    o   Read Existentialism (Burnham and Papandreopoulos)  
    o   Read Existentialism (C. Wikipedia, Existentialism)
  2. What is the theme of The Myth of Sisyphus?

    o   Read The Myth of Sisyphus. Translated from the French by Justin O'Brien, 1955 (Camus)

  3. Do you agree that Existentialism is Humanism?

    o   Read brief note on Existentialism is Humanism (C. Wikipedia, Existentialism and Humanism)

  4. What is Übermensch?

    o   Nietzsche had his character Zarathustra posit the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    o   Read brief on Übermensch(C. Wikipedia, Ubermensch)

Simple explanation by Suman Shah in Gujarati language

Saturday 3 September 2016

Ministerial Endorsement: Will PM demand an apology as Sushma Swaraj once did?

Should Minister in Office endorse private products or services?

Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi demand an apology from Reliance Jio for using his photographs in the launching advertisement?

But should he demand an apology?

Image 1: Font page ad with PM's photo
The image 1 shows that Reliance Jio gave front page full page ad in leading national news papers with PM Narendra Modi's photo. It seems that PM is endorsing the product.
Well, there may be nothing wrong in this. But the question people may ask is will PM be accountable for the products / services unobjectionably endorsed with his photographs or quotes?
We question this because we are debating an issue of making brand ambassadors accountable for the products and services endorsed by them. Read this. (The issue was in limelight because of Maggie ban and Mahendrasinh Dhoni)
Now, as many of our parliamentarians are willing to make celebrities liable for the products / services they endorse, shall we not question if Ministers (holding key positions in decision making) do not object to private companies making use of their quote or photographs in their advertisement? And if they do not object can we make them also accountable as willy-nilly they are giving consent to it.

Image 2
Well, this reminds of 2003. When Coke and Pepsi were facing charges of pesticides in the cold-drinks, there was nationwide hullabaloo. The image 2 is from The Times of India of 3 August 2003. The Bajpayee government was under tremendous pressure. After several checks in national and international laboratories, the then Health and Family Welfare Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement in Parliament of India that Pepsi and Coke are SAFE. The statement was made on 21st August 2003 in the Lok Sabha: ". . . all these (soft drinks) are well within the safety limits. . . .".
Image 3: Minister quoted in Pepsi Ad
On 22nd August 2003, Pepsi smartly used this quote and gave half page advertisement in leading news papers. Pepsi directly quoted Health and Family Welfare Minister in the ad. See Image 3. The ad said that the Minister's faith in the product in restored and refreshed.

Somehow, this did not go well with the minister and she objected. May be she objected on personal moral grounds. May be she thought is not advisable for company to use Minister to endorse the product. But that was a classic case. It remains as a lighthouse to guide us in such matters of ministerial endorsement of private services and products.
The company has give yet another ad on the same spot in all newspapers and APOLOGIZE. See image 4 below.
Well, can we expect similar sort of action from Prime Minister? I am looking forward to see that very soon PMO will ask for an apology from Reliance Jio for making use of PM's photograph in the advertisement.

Here are some of the news regarding the controversy:

Image 4: Minister's Objection.

Why does this become so controversial?

One of the many reasons is PM Narendra Modi's relations with Mukesh Ambani.
The photograph of Mukesh Ambani putting his hand on the shoulder-back of PM of India and PM's hand holding Neeta Ambani's (wife of Mukesh Ambani) hand along with Mukesh Ambani's. Obviously, hand holding is not an issue. But the way Mukesh Ambani puts his hand to 'support' PM sounds very curious. This was equally controversial. Here is interesting take on this hand holding and hand-support. It is in Hindi language. And it was this image which the critics of this endorsement seems to be seeing in the white background of the advertisement:

Friday 2 September 2016

Ek Villain: Tramps in Films and Literature

Ek Villain - Hindi Film Poster
#EkVillainFilm Mohit Suri has matured his art of portraying psychopaths and the evil within the human psyche with Ek Villain Hindi Film ... fromZeherKalyugRaaz – The Mystery ContinuesMurder 2, Ashiqui2 to Ek Villain. Let us remember the Master of this genre - Edgar Allan Poe - and his short stories: A Cask of Amontillado, A Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of UsherEdgar Allan Poe/The Black Cat.
Ek Villian takes its credit in screenplay and editing... Beautiful use of flashback technique... timing of scenes is perfectly edited. Most Mohit-Suri-Films have this in common.
Ritesh Deshmukh: It was surprise to see him 'acting' and freeing himself from slapstick comedies.
Siddharth Malhotra: Has done justice to his role.
Shraddha Kapoor: Normally, females don't have much to do in such movies. They are portrayed on Theresa-Complex - good Samaritan makes ideal sacrificial lamb.

(This is stub - will be developed with observations from characters in Waiting for Godot and other literature and films)