Masti Ram is back after a long gap!!! This time he is very expressive about the so called human progress!
Masti Ram was very late in realizing the fact that human life was full of paradoxes. He understood that these paradoxes subdue the mysteries behind human life and in the process of ‘paradox management’, the human being lost sight of the real purpose of existence. Masti Ram believes that the most unfortunate turning point probably came in the human history when after the First World War, instead of preparing himself to learn ‘how to avoid wars at all?’, the man preferred to prepare himself on 'how to fight a better war, next time'!. The damages caused by the two world wars, their consequences and their fall out remained as an everlasting scar in the human history. After his worldly experience, Masti Ram was forced to think that thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the slow poisoning in the form of consumerism and materialism was guiding the human being to advance progressively and steadily, but unfortunately, backwardly!
Masti Ram recalls readily the practice which exists even now in the villages and small towns of Tamil Nadu, in India, known as Sandhai (weekly bazaars). Of course this practice exists in other states in India as well, but in different names. These Sandhais are held on a particular day and at a particular place, which is easily accessible by the people residing in that area. Every kind of produce, right from vegetables, groceries, clothes, utensils and so on needed to the people of that area are sold in these Sandhais. They do not have any permanent structures or buildings. The roadside trees and the open ground encompassed assume the shape of a Sandhai. The next day it becomes extinct. This was a sheer need based affair and constitutes an important part of life for both the buyers and sellers, mostly producers, in every area where the Sandhais are held.
Nevertheless, when Masti Ram think about the changes taken place over the years, thanks to the ever growing and never ending consumerism and materialism, he feels very sorry. As he witnesses, this concept of Sandhais, weekly bazaars, have now taken a new avatar, particularly in the cities and major towns in our country. They are now popularly known as ‘Malls’, as a ubiquitous avatar, unlike the Sandhais. The Malls are mushrooming all over the country in a tempting and devastating form. Masti Ram tends to wonder whether these Malls can anyway be serving the purpose of the Sandhais or they are just being used as dumping yards for the Chinese products! Masti Ram heard someone rightly calling it a second Chinese Invasion. He also read that dumping of products in to the market had been a well-known ‘marketing strategy’ over the years.
The word ‘strategy’ appealed to Masti Ram a lot, as long as it was adopted for achieving greater universal good. This impression tend to fade away from his mind slowly after the so-called technique of ‘marketing strategy’ was adopted, particularly to lure the customers. To Masti Ram, marketing strategy appears as a technique focused on the philosophy - ‘how to cheat the customers without they are being aware of it’. He realized that the concept of durability of products had become a thing of past. He understood that in a profit driven market, durability and sales vis-à-vis profit figures go against each other. In this process, the disheartened Mastri Ram felt that ultimately we end up in wasting our valuable natural resources. Masti Ram strongly feels that ‘greed based needs’ has been dominating our lives overwhelmingly and lead us only to witness a life of endless paradoxes.
Masti Ram used to wonder how we bluntly advocate and even teach our children that ‘Sun rises in the East and sets in the West’, though intrinsically it only appears to be so!
He wonders how we after gulping down a high calorie food, burn gallons of fuel to drive our cars to burn out calories from our body to keep ourselves fit while millions are trying hard to retain their body weight thanks to starvation!
He wonders how we build houses in animal habitat and curse the animals for their intrusion and causing disturbance!
He wonders how we continuously load our mind with all sort of stuff and later on try hard to eliminate them through meditation!
He wonders how we are trying to imitate every other being and in that process lost our own real nature!
Masti Ram keeps thinking about our endless desires leading to endless paradoxes.
Ultimately, all these paradoxes only make Masti Ram to recall what Elliot summed up years ago (in The Rock 1934), which is more appropriate to explain our present state of affair:
“O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust…..
…… What have we to do but stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards in an age which advances progressively backwards?”