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Need we Promote our Culture's Protectors?...

A small eatery doing brisk business or a flourishing fashion store, don’t just convey the enterprise of the people running the show; but they also convey what their customer yearn for in a demand driven economy. Is holistically happy and healthy life about good food, Hollywood hits, fashion flaunts?

In a era that measures money more than anything else, what happens to those ingredients of evolution and good living for which there isn’t always a steady demand. What happens to a passionate coin collector, or a street dancer, the village priest, the benevolent pigeon feeder, the small town magician, the community music teacher, or a provoking movie maker, an exciting athlete or all the various people – who want to passionately pursue a unique or rare talent that they possess as an end itself.

Do they also become bean counters – and serve a small exclusive segment, with due manipulation and machinations – or do they live a tough life [and be a bad advertisement for their profession] or worse do they kill their passion and change professions to join the corporate bandwagon to make a living. There are such people in every nook and corner, special talent with impeccable value systems and fortitude who pursue a profession or a vocation with the hope the more and more people partake of the almost forgotten bliss the life [vide their profession] offers. Purely from a rarity of talent point of view, they would easily be among the top one percentile of the population – however ironically their standard of living many times doesn’t compare well with the rarity of talent and their commitment to social good. It is like the same anomaly in wealth measurement – where a diligent, committed home-makers worth is considered naught. Should we let everything / everyone convert their desires as a means to a mercenary end.

So where is this leading towards, a polarization of the degree of success and popularity of the preachers of the vehicle of self actualization. Instead of commoditizing culture we are making it more exclusive. The super popular and super rich [who have mixed their fare intelligently] like the Ravi Shankars, the Ram Dev Babas, the Edward de Bonos, the A R Rahman’s and the hugely long list of unsung, unknown and probably dwindling and disillusioned heroes following their inner call to delight themselves and a discerning few. Always dreaming and hoping to see more of them to live a life of dignity, let aside the delight [which is left to sheer mental character to protect and relish].

The material things of life being subjected to paradigm of market economy seems to be poetic justice. But what sort of divine intervention is this, that subjects aesthetics and its practioners to this measurement game. The society will crumble like a card pyramid without consistent and passionate nurturing of all the vehicles of self actualization. The fact that there a dozen successful singers and about a few hundred successful practioners of this genre vis a vis tens of thousands of corporate honchos probably point to large institutional voids in building a social character.

It is only now I understand the value of those history lessons, where learning and aesthetics were talked in the same breath as welfare and conquests while describing a successful king. In the modern world can we identify many leaders who are talked of about their contribution to the dimensions of self actualization. Most of assessments are limited to economic indicators and to some extent [in some countries] the relative standing the geo-political equation.

We are in a society that is certainly improving for the better in many visible parameters. Probably, with the advent of low cost broadcasting and dissemination tools there has been an ascendancy of appreciation and awareness of the finer things of life. However we are in urgent need to identify and reward the unknown champions. They need to live their life with lesser struggle for us to be better people and for the planet to be a better place to live in. Hope we understand that there will be no superstar musician, dancer or sportsperson without a vibrant ecosystem below. The same way there ll be no Dhoni without hordes of happy [now fairly well paid] Ranji cricketers knocking the doors. It is clear that the community is to be sensitized and has to be made to come forward to support a larger cause. Institutions needs to be empowered for to effect such a transformation. This is like primary schools, the government funds these with a payback of 10-15 years in mind. Similarly institutions need to be created to fill the void of aesthetics, keeping a 30-50 year pay-back in mind. A payback in terms of healthier, happier and more harmonious life and living.

July 19, 2010
Bhubaneshwar

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