Past of the present has its foundation on the present of past and what is not present becomes past in the coming days, a page in history. If ancient history, medieval history and pre and post independence history of India are taken as base, many stories pass through the screen of memory and many characters in the stories come to front. That history contains from truth and on the base of the truth, rests some legend. The so called legends are developed into full fledged literature embracing major and minor characters. That is the special trait of Mr. Surendra Mohanty.Literature has different divisions consisting of Autobiography, Biography, Short stories, Essays and Novels. To look at these divisions of Oriya literature, would reveal the literary maturity and artful handling of them by this versatile writer. Rather it can be told that there is no easier and developed medium to recollect history on path of readers other than the writings of Sri Mohanty. Surendra literature has an identity of its own on its mythological and historical background.SHORT STORY SECTIONThe short stories days back to the emancipation of the Jews under the leadership of Mojes, from the shackles of Egyptian empire, to the rise of Orissan Empire, its history laden with rise and fall, fortune and bad days with rich historical knowledge. The short story collection ‘Kabi O Nartaki’ is based on mythological and historical characters.BIOGRAPHYStarting of British occupation of Orissa in 1803, and decline of Orissa nationalism till 1903, the declaration of regeneration and rebirth of it from the platforms of Utkal Sammilani the history of Orissa over a century is epitome in the Biography of Utkal Gourav Madhu Babu ‘Shatabdira Surya’ is unique.Surendra Mohanty’s autobiography ‘Patha o Pruthibi’ discloses the declining trend of values and morals of the post political landscape of India as well as Orissa.NOVELSHis milestone creations ‘Neela Saila’, ‘Neeladri Bijaya’, ‘Krishnabenire Sandhya’ on the background of 16th century history of Orissa Gajapati kingdom give inklings of Orissa history, its achievement and subsequent disintegration which revolves round the great lord Jagannath. On the other hand, his novels ‘Andha Diganta’, ‘Neti Neti’ on the back drop of British rule, pre and post independent Orissa highlights the ups and downs in political and social life.Be it a case of flood or famine, where individuals are treated like pawns on the political chess board, his writings represents the soul of oppressed, mute individuals, their silent protest on established moorings of society and indifferent bureaucracy. His literature had the echoes of unfulfilled dreams, aspirations, frustrations of the common man as its background and foundation.This will offer an interesting subject to be looked into and to be researched.
The Beginning:In the wake of recent riots following the Ram Navami procession in Asansol-Ranigunj in West Bengal, this article is interested to analyse human nature and how does it function in a democratic political culture. The name of Adolf Eichmann is probably known only to a limited circle of people- those affected by his actions and those who studied him later. He was the second in command of the Nazi SS who was part of the team which formulated the policy of Final Solution of the Jews, fled to Argentina after the Second World War,captured by Mossad in May, 1960 , and hanged to death after a trial in Tel Aviv. What is important to know in this chronology of events is that his trial was televised throughout the world to present the extent of atrocities committed by the Nazis (it is however, not to suggest that Israel did not have any hidden agenda of not only gaining sympathy worldwide against the holocaust deniers but also prove its righteousness in putting a man responsible for the death of millions from their own community to trial despite being a nascent nation state which would help them bring their legal authority to the limelight) and that German born American political theorist Hannah Arendt wrote a book based on this trial, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the Banality of Evil to analyse the extent of evil nature of human beings which prompted these people to adopt such horrific methods that led to the extermination of millions of a race from Europe. Putting in perspective- The curious case of West Bengal:Although what is happening in West Bengal following the Ram Navami incident is simply nothing compared to the above-mentioned incident, what is necessary to point out is an analysis of human nature. Bengal has been witness to comparatively lesser riots than northern and central regions of the country, except during the period of the country’s Freedom Movement where riots broke out for example in Noakhali which Mahatma Gandhi himself came to quell. Bengal’s experience of dealing with riots is very less- the last one (post the assassination of Indira Gandhi where the Sikhs were targeted) being successfully quelled by strong hand of Jyoti Basu, the long standing Chief Minister (CM) of Communist Party led West Bengal, preventing any reactions against the Sikh population. The Bengali Bhadrolok class has always taken pride in the fact that they are way above the rest of India class wise, where class does not represent any economy but signify a combination of factors like culture, politics, and social cohesion. This kind of feeling has taken its roots since the time of Bengal renaissance when the society led by some of the well-known Bengali intellectuals and social reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore ignited a rational thinking among the people (although there are existing views which proclaim that their efforts to modify conservative elements within Hinduism is a step towards making it more acceptable among the populace). We have traversed a long path in History, but we have always loved to bask in the glory of these past achievements and held it very close to our heart. In this long journey we have compromised on our ideals and ideas for petty gains and hence stands no chance of claiming to be on a higher pedestal of moral consciousness. The narratives coming up in the recent communal clashes in Asansol-Raniganj is the same that come up as mud-slinging and blame game following any such similar incidents. The ruling party blames the other, specially the one which has a history of using riot as an instrument to enter the political arena of a geographical space (we have not forgotten Muzaffarnagar yet!), the other accuses the ruling party of allowing the incident to flare up to such an extent by preventing the administration to perform its taskHuman Nature- an analysis:The nature of human as an animal appears to have remain unchanged. The three actors in this case are- BJP’s popular face in Bengal is a Central Minister and earlier voice to many a hit song in Bollywood, Babul Supriyo. CM Mamata Banerjee who has a history of resorting to disruption and chaos in the political culture throughout her rise in the political ladder as an opposition candidate. And finally, the common people who form the significant tool of the implementation of riots as political instruments. All the three actors have their roots in the same society which claims to have nurtured secularism as its core value- so much so that at least the 34 years of communist rule should have been able to nourish a religion-less political thinking. But unfortunately, it failed. It appears everything has gone in vain. Instead of moving towards a more civilised state of nature (at least that’s what Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau would have dreamt of!) we are moving towards a state of animalistic carnal nature of killing one of our own. And here the study of human nature like the one by Arendt attains significance. Human nature is basically animalistic. War, battles, human atrocities, rapes is not something new. It has been going on for generations and has filled the pages of history far too much. What therefore changed were two things- the reasons for the behaviour and the modus operandi of the actions. The basic instinct of performing such acts never left human essence. What Arendt argued was a lack of “thinking” in performing such acts. It always waited for the trigger to manifest its worst nature. With sophistication in our reasoning and societal structure we began our quest for myriad ways of being increasingly animalistic with the sole reason of being powerful over the others. Being powerful allows us to make happen whatever may not otherwise have been within our reach. For our convenience we have given names to these power – some are democratic, some dictatorship while some others are monarchy. But behind all these terminology lies the ever-burning instinct of more power. Democracy is considered to be the best among the worst because it also has its own share of pitfalls and disadvantages like the others but its packaging and marketing by the liberals have been way better than the propagators of the others. What makes such incidents like riots in a democratic polity interesting is, it is the sovereign which was handed the power to rule on behalf of its citizens takes a step backward towards chaos and disorder from where it was duty bound to save the people. Carl Schmitt, the crown jurist of the Nazi era provided an adequate justification in this regard. He claimed it is the sovereign which has the power to decide the cases of ‘exception’ in which it is entitled by the very constitution which binds its action, to take steps to address such scenario. Those exceptional circumstances would facilitate the process of labelling an ‘enemy’ and then follow it up with justification of waging a war against them. Such a logicality was used during the Nazi era to legitimise its actions against the Jews who were made to look responsible for the plight of the Germans post the First World War. The rhetoric in riot like situation is not very different. There is an enemy and there is a saviour. The saviour (Hindus) can legitimise its rule only at the cost of the enemy (the other social groups mainly minorities like Muslims). At the same time, it does not absolve the rulers from its actions or rather (in)action. Following Schmitt, the rulers have misused the legitimacy for its trivial political bargain at the cost of the sovereign who has handed them the power to rule on their behalf.Last but not the least:It is important to think why such incidents happen and how are human beings capable of such atrocities despite claiming it to have travelled the civilisational ladder. The political classification only gives us a convenient way out to explain our deeds- a dictator would directly kill people and in a democracy the ruler would instigate or sit back while people are killing each other. Rather it becomes convenient to perform such acts within a democratic scenario (because accountability comes later) in the absence of the baggage of pre-conceived public opinion against the system. Therefore Democracy, funnily, provides that space where leaders are capable of doing anything until it becomes too little too late. #smblogcontest
Prayer Is Resurrection - In Gita Verse 7.23 Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.Krishna when uses the - small intelligence - he means ignorant. The person who is ignorant regarding himself that he is a human being. He still wants to live in his unconsciousness. All his prayers are directed towards the goal, manifestation on the objective world. Krishna never denies the fact that we have to live in this objective world but we should not forget that now we have given birth by the universe as a human being so we have brought the potentiality to grow in consciousness. When we direct our prayer for goal of the objective world we manifeste the goal but it is temporary. It will not make any difference in us as a human being. So we always live in the vicious circle of manifesting desire. Our whole life will go in for manifestation of one after the other desire.Look back into your own life when you have certain goals and if it has manifested how long it will remain with you. As soon as it has manifested the whole charm has gone. Again we set up new goal and run after that. It is like a mirage. Small intelligent or ignorant people will not get hint from their own experience. So they remain as they are.But Krishna says that My Devotee means person of self-alertness he will see the futility of again, again manifesting desire doesn’t take them anywhere so they change the direction from outward to inward journey. Instead of praying they become prayerful.WHAT EXACTLY IS PRAYER?PRAYER IS AN EXPERIENCE OF RESURRECTION, A REBIRTH, the birth of a new vision, a new dimension, a new way of looking at things, and a new way of being. Prayer is not something that you do: prayer is something that you become. It is a state of being. It has nothing to do with the words that you utter in the temples, mosques, churches. It is a silent dialogue with existence. It is to be in tune with the total with the whole. To fall in harmony with the whole is prayer .The experience is so enormous that it is impossible to be exact about it. It is indefinable. All definitions fall short. Each definition says something about it, but only something. Much remains unsaid.And prayer is such a vast experience that it contains contradictions. So one can say: Prayer is silence – and he is right, absolutely right. And another can say: Prayer is a dialogue – and he is right too, because prayer is a dialogue in silence. Now, dialogue and silence seem to be contradictory. In dialogue you speak, in silence you hear. In dialogue you communicate, in silence you are simply there – there is nothing to say.What can be said to God? He knows all that you can say in the first place. You can bow down. You can celebrate. But still your bowing down, your celebration, your festivity, your thankfulness, your gratitude, they are still ways of speaking. You are trying to say something without words, because words are very small and the heart really wants to say something.So it IS a dialogue, although silent. It is a communication in a sense, because you are there and the whole existence becomes your beloved, the whole existence becomes a ’thou’. And yet there is no ‘I’ and there is no ‘thou’ – both disappear. Both meet and merge into one unity, one organic whole. Just as the dewdrop disappears in the ocean, you disappear. There is no separation between you and existence, so how can there be a dialogue?Both the definitions are true. Those who say prayer is a dialogue – Christians say that, Jews say that, Hindus say that – they are right. But they are talking only about one fragment of the enormous experience called prayer. Buddhists say: There is no dialogue. Jainism says: There is no dialogue - because there is no ‘I’ and no ‘thou’. There is absolute silence. They are also right, but then it is very difficult to be exact about prayer.Krishna says that My devotee means self-alert person - His prayer is subjectivity. It is not an object that can be analyzed. In fact, you cannot show your prayer to anybody. And if somebody insists that “I don’t see any prayer in you,” you cannot prove it either. It is like love – less like water, more like love. That’s why Jesus says: God is love. Love is also indefinable.In nutshell if I will say than both the person ignorant and self-alert person does the prayer but the context is different. For ignorant person prayer is demand and for self-alert person the same prayer is resurrection.