Great. Firefox just crashed and I lost a bunch of stuff. Don't you hate it when these things happen? Perhaps I should write my post in another program and then just paste it into bloody blogger. Anyway. As I was saying, Wow, its been a long time since my last post - and its unbelievable how much work I've had to finish off last week. But its been an eventful week, and so much has happened around the world - how could I not put down my spectacularly cynical yet positive views on the world at large anyway?
I saw Pan's Labyrinth last week - and it turned out to be a visual treat, very different from what I'd initially imagined it to be - though I must admit it was pretty graphic. Like when the super sized frog spilled its guts inside out and that magic ... oh, but you should go watch the movie if you haven't already - wouldn't want to spoil it for you would I now? :) Kudos to the cast for a tremendous performance - I specially liked the color tones of the movie, which are on the darker side but not quite horror-esque. I'm not sure how its going to fare at the Oscars, but its going to do a sight lot better than anything else which is pitched against it, I can tell you that. Which is more than I can say for any Indian entry for the foreign films categories this year.
Speaking of India, BBC recently had an interesting article which talked about whether India will actually live up to its expectations, as seen by the world today. In fact, they're even devoting an entire section of coverage on TV on Indian affairs - very peachy. Written by someone who's been visiting the country since the early 1970s, the piece goes on to talk about the rampant consumerism which has overtaken a large part of the country. Very true. But is this a good thing or a bad thing? My view would be equating this with a double edged sword - as people become more profit oriented, the traditional ways of Indian culture - that of a welcoming, peace loving people is sure to dilute. For a country that hasn't invaded another in the past few thousand years, perhaps this is a wakeup call to arms? Ingrained culture is hard to wipe out completely, so rest assured, the populace isn't going to become blood thirsty capitalist barbarians anytime soon - but this might give them an edge if they're to compete in a society increasingly being characterized by dog-eat-dog globalization.
But are all of India's traditional values breaking down under the onslaught of consumerism and individualism? Now thats a *toughie*. The foremost question here is - what ARE these traditional values anyway? Respecting people older to you, or merely obeying their every whim and fancy without a word in sideways? Reserving sex as something you do only after marriage, or promiscuously going around town with anyone you can find? Some people come up with things like "touching feet as a mark of respect", skipping which almost condemns you to hell. Meh. Is that the only way you show respect to people? As far as I'm concerned, doing so just to keep up appearances is worse than not doing it at all. So, to see what people on the web think about it, I just googled the term. Go on, go ahead and do it. It sucks ass. No one, I repeat, NO ONE has written one clear word about what "traditional indian values" are.. oh wait.
Boy o boy. Bwahahahahaha. Ladies and gentlemen, may I please present to you this fantastic piece of scholarship. Go ahead, its a one page PDF which lists out Indian values vs non Indian ones. What a load of absolute, first rate CRAP. I can't believe there are people who are not only dumb enough to believe it, they deem it necessary to put this stuff up *online* so that others can "learn" from it. Hehehe, if those really ARE traditional Indian values, I for one am glad that the capitalistic hegemony is going to force us out of them soon enough. *shudder*
My generation - that of twenty somethings, has been one of the most liberal and self sufficient ones in modern times. With the right mix of liberal values, easily accessible education, jobs and expendable incomes, most are doing pretty well for themselves. If that means going out to drink and dance the night away at certain times of the week, fine. Does this really mean that we would in effect, forget about our own culture and get swayed by the big bad capitalist world? Lost our moral ethic? Of course not! Would we rather be in saffron robes sitting around a sage, learning the intricacies of life, the universe and everything, oblivious to anything happening around us? Gimme a break people. The last word in all this is - people aren't stupid enough to "lose" their 'values'. Really. Give them credit - most parents do a fine job tutoring their kids in the values they should adopt. There is a definite need to adapt, but I don't see it happening in conjunction with the said degradation of our cultural mores.
Which brings us to the next question - Are caste and hierarchy being eroded - and if so, are the downtrodden benefiting? Hah. I'm sure they are. Well, I'm not being entirely sarcastic here - you've got to admit, atleast in some sections of society, these things are losing the momentum they had, oh half a century ago. Sure its not all going to vanish in the next year, decade or even 20 years, but its getting there. The tougher question is - are the downtrodden benefitting? The answer to that one, sadly, will occupy a full blown post which would have to talk about politics and all the intricacies therein. Something I'm not quite happy doing. Yet.
Is the explosion of television creating a new, more homogenised Indian culture? Of course it is. Is that even a question? Thankfully the detractors and moral policing of TV has gone down significantly, although I have grouses against people who run the censor board and decide what the masses should see. Really - who gives the government the authority to decide that anyway?
Man, this post got out of hand. I haven't even begun to talk about the entire global warming issue. Its hilarious, how suddenly, the two words have become dirty enough to be avoided by most people in a jiffy. Whats more interesting is that for the first time, the report has had the effect it should have earlier - in a large part because of the openness of the internet. But thats for another post. Which I hope to do soon!
Posted by That Armchair Philosopher at 6:26 PM