Friday, February 26, 2010


(New Series No. 166, February 2002)

"My father's hip-bone broke. When we four brothers began running around for his treatment then people said, "he's an old man, you, shouldn't bother so much about him." These statements offended us. He was our father, he had brought us up, he had given us parental affection and love- if he has become old, should we forget him? It was not possible to take him on the bus, so we hired a jeep. From the village, we went to Chhapra district (a small city) then to Patna (the capital of Bihar). When our wives starting sneering about who will clean his shit, then we began cleaning him. 32,000 rupees was spent. The bone was joined and our father started walking around again."

"Us three brothers began slogging in the factories and another one stayed back in the village. In most of the factories, the factory pays 1,200 rupees a month (25 US dollars) for an 8 hour day. And if you don't work 12 hours each day, then you cannot make ends meet. Instead of paying wages monthly, they pay it every two months. That means you eat less. The money order that we sent home takes four months to reach. (Because the post office uses the money order as interest, it should only take a week but because of this can take even a year). Family members think we are having lots of fun in the job."

"My father was direly neglected. He was treated with disrespect. One day in anger father went to the field and there poured kerosene oil on his body and lit himself on fire."
Relations based on 'what I get out of it'...Instrumental, shop-keeping relations, keeping accounts of relations, market-engendered behaviors and ideas— this is white darkness...

What do we talk about?

Whether we are talking about children, the elderly or about ourselves, the language of the market creeps in the conversation. The bad situation we are in today has been engendered by the market yet often we advise those for whom we have good heartfelt wishes to make greater efforts in the swamp of the market. Holding the notion that we are doing good, we are in fact part of the tragedy of the bad doings that are now widespread...In the name of making a future for the children, things that feed the present system, take place in every home. The sharp knife of the market is deep down even in us victims. To overcome this poison in us is as important as dealing with or overcoming the market outside. Without creating yardsticks of success in life which are antagonistic to success in the market, the market can not be overcome.

The 'value' of human beings

It has become very common to say that there is no value of human beings today. On the other hand, while introducing a person, it is common to stress his price/market value. This is an expression of human beings becoming a commodity in the market. And this is a result of us all becoming so cheap that the glorification of a person's specialities is establishing new scales of vulgarity and uncouthness.

In fact, in hierarchic social systems, in place of the reality, the image dominates. For image, instead of the normal, the extreme is necessary. Instead of the routine, event is necessary. The stories of slave-owner Ram, slave-owner Ravana, emperor Ashok, emperor Akbar are widely disseminated and propagated, whereas things about slaves and serfs are available in small fragments after a great search. The market system speaks of equality but in fact embodies the height of hierarchic social systems. The market system that has reached the faceless stage today in the form of companies and institutions which has produced an obsession for the desire for faces. The basic tenet has become - "Show that you've achieved something remarkable." The almost universal desire to become leader-actress-player-artist-officer-director-chief carries with it the torture of each body and soul by oneself. The repetition of media-propagated special persons' expressions-looks-lifestyles on our part has become a part of our daily activities. Thinking, discussing humanness instead of the 'value' of human beings will help us recognize these incessant wounds. Efforts to break from the deceit of images are a step on the path of humane behavior.

Making the future

Who doesn't know that competition in the market is endless? Who doesn't know that prices in the market keep changing? Who doesn't know that insecurity is the life-activity of the market?

Superficial, for-show, momentary and instrumental relations are in the character of the market. Is it right to call attempts to build such relations as 'making the future'?

Come, let's begin children.

"Good" schools, costly education, tutoring after school- all these efforts are to increase the price of the child in the market. To hold back on one's own meals and to make the situation of children worse is justified in the name of making children's future. Be it only for the sake of children, isn't it necessary to rethink all this? Instead of crying over compulsions, it seems necessary to raise questions regarding school as such. This is part of questioning the market..For natural, normal relations among generations and for the upbringing of community society....For this necessity, practice is knocking at our doors. So think, reflect, discuss it because we are all getting roasted in this oven.

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