Monday, December 13, 2010

We, the Bet-ters


“We, the ‘Bet-ters’ of India, do hereby solemnly resolve to make ‘Bet-ting’ one of the biggest revenue earners for the country. And in this endeavour we would appreciate as many followers as possible…because with every addition, there would be an exponential increment in the output.”

This is the solemn pledge—though unscripted and unuttered audibly—taken by a large cross-section of the society…at times consciously and at other times circumstantially. And with globalisation of everything…from the weather changes to economy…this pledge too has found global acceptance. Yes, acceptance and if not acceptance at least not rejection also.

To take the best (ideally termed, the worst) example of the usage of this word is in the game of cricket. In fact cricket brought the term ‘bet-ting’ popularity and fame and in return became infamous. Well, everything is relative—it all depends from whose perception the issue is being considered.  Even earlier too betting used to operate, unabated, but in recent times it has shown a ‘remarkable’ growth! In fact it is one of the ‘better’ professions—as far as the income and job vacancies are concerned. Actually vacant posts are absolutely infinite in this profession…Thus ‘bet-ters’ can claim to be in a profession of a much ‘better’ yield…that has an added security of having an immunity from recession.

But staying with the ‘bet-ing’ in the cricket scenario, apart from the professional ‘bet-ters’--who get better everyday—are we not ourselves, abetting bet-ting?  Please think…

Do we find this menace of betting to have infiltrated others sports? And even if it has, the magnitude is well below the danger mark that normally attracts the attention of the media—print and electronic both—because given the hawk-eyed approach of media nothing can stay hidden for too long.

The popularity of the game in India transcends all other sports—thanks largely to the iconic players that we have been producing over the years and are of unimpeachable integrity. The accolades received by them are well deserved. So though cricket has made them what they are today—game being bigger than individual(s)—it is undeniably true that their feats and stature…not only as players but to some extent as human beings too… have gone a long way in ensuring the unbelievable popularity of the game. But this popularity gets extended to the extent of insanity due uncontrolled emotions of the people.

At the same time the players hadn’t ‘planned’ to make the game popular. It was their un-deterring dedication towards—complemented very well with commensurate talent, determination, devotion and discipline—fulfilling their duties when on the field and at the same time doing the job that is (was) closest to their heart, as also carrying themselves commendably off the field as well, that has had a cumulative effect. This in the long run has fetched India so many accolades…achievements of the individuals getting translated into a collective accomplishment for the team as well as the for the country.

This popularity for the game was never meant to bring the game so much shame.

But that has happened and hence I state that we have abetted betting—in fact caused its exponential growth. The logic lies in the ‘supply & demand’ theory of economics. The popularity of the game is directly related to the growth of betting. There could be no other reason…other sports being relegated to the secondary status…by people and almost non-existent by ‘bet-ters’. As other sports are neither popular to even a fractional extent as compared to cricket nor do they find any takers in bet-ters.

Bet-ters too would be drawn to where the general public is drawn…because to them, people are synonymous to money (currency) with the revenue generated being entirely dependent on the (fan) following for the game. And that is what has happened.

Under the circumstances, what could be done? Nothing it seems. Because the people who love the game would watch it, throng the stadiums, …allowing the sports channels to vie for the telecast rights as they know fully well that they would be able to regenerate the money that they invest. It is because of a select class of people, from amongst us, who indulge in such undesirable acts. And we cannot ask the fans not to watch or follow it…after all it is their money and their desire…dependent solely upon their discretion how it would be used and achieved. Science too is being used as a bane. But that doesn’t mean that science ceases to be a boon. It only depends on who is handling what.

With this IPL (Indian Paisa League) even the politicians are finding it difficult to stay away from their love of the game…after all the current of currency is in operation! So the circus of betting seems to get bigger with infinite potential.

There are many things…improbable though…that could be tried to check this menace…other than the legal actions. Legal actions alone cannot stop it…so long people are not morally uplifted. But what we could do is by at least behaving a bit responsibly. Excess of anything is bad. Maybe then there is a limit to an extent the sport is followed…instead of lapping up anything and everything that is served. I know I am suggesting something that would be highly unpopular. But then it is a probable option. Think it over. A collective consciousness on the issue is required. Whether you want to become popular by giving popular suggestion or an unpopular one? The excessive popularity has though taken away the tag of ‘gentleman’s game’ from cricket.

The decision to some extent rests with us. Because you bet, advertently or inadvertently, we and our money is abetting the bet-ters, which most certainly makes us, “We, the bet-ters”.


Copyright ©  Sushmita Mukherjee







Thursday, December 2, 2010

Irrelevance of Relevance



“I don’t know what you are saying, doing, writing or thinking. Neither do I want to know. Yet I do know, whatever it is, it is wrong—in fact bound to be wrong. And I say so because I know for sure.”

I know these words are bound to evoke amused expressions—not the least furrowed brows—all precursors to, in all probability, in their unanimity…the conclusions, that I have taken leave of my senses…that is if I had one according to some people! But let me assure you that I couldn’t be more in synch with my senses. I might be out of my mind, but not out of my senses…and that I prefer because it is my senses and feelings that I have helped me realize a number of things which the sole dependence on mind would not have catalyzed.

Well, this is a preamble to the fact—and you are free to contest it—that when we do not agree with something: it could be an action, person, conversation, writing(s)—we start calling the person and the issue concerned irrational, illogical, irrelevant, incoherent, pointless, imagination running amok…and what not. The list is actually endless!

All because we do not agree with (to) it?

But do we not know that likes and dislikes are all relative—and not absolute…quite contrary to the way we proclaim it to be? True, sheer acts of criminal nature shall always be absolute acts of crime—carried out for selfish reasons at the cost of the welfare of others. But apart from these acts, we cannot label the sundry, as mentioned above, just because ‘we think’ them to be so.

Are we really thinking or are we truly capable of investing the effort required to get under the skin of the corresponding topics concerned and do we really want to make that attempt?

Generally we pass mere statements—a by-product of our myopic perception—as declaration of truth. And, this generalization as ‘we’, includes me too.

If we really want to know the truth—which is of only one variety…Absolute—we would definitely opt for the best option which is to ask the person concerned as to what led to his/her action…eg: an author of a piece while criticizing a piece of writing. Each and everyone—the creator as well as audience—both have a right to their opinion. But the audience before forming an opinion of the opinion—the piece of writing—should take proper measures.

But instead of doing so, we opt for a ‘reaction of resistance’. We prefer to utilize our ‘freedom of speech’ too freely. True, if it is freedom it has to be free and we have that right to our right, but to be used in the right manner.

Disagreements are very normal phenomena but that doesn’t necessarily imply that to disagree we need to be disagreeable. But quite unfortunately this is what happens and the glaring examples are less than desirable reactions most frequently observed in disagreeable retaliations to literary expressions…books or an article. And the reason behind these disagreements is mostly found to occur what we cannot comprehend or which is juxtaposed to the conventional.

Since we human beings are too concerned with our image and external satisfaction we fear that if juxtaposition to convention gains acceptance that would lead to a paradigm shift in the thinking, and hence beliefs, of fellow humans. This thought instills a fear in the followers and propagators of ‘the conventional’. We are unable to accept the new because that would render our long-standing views—that we call beliefs—false and also because we are creatures of habit. Last but not the least, this generates—an irrational but factual—insecurity given the fact that we as propagators of ‘the conventional’ find our followers to decrease in number. Looked at from other angle, liberation of people from dependence—on us—makes us feel insecure.

There are various reasons…in fact many more…than the ones I have touched upon here and some, which I might concentrate later at some other time. This outright rejections of something, just because it had been hitherto un-encountered though might be ‘normal’—given the human nature emanating out of conditioned and habitual thinking—but to me is illogical, as I realise now. Illogical are not the views—newer ones—but is definitely so for their rejections.

So instead of accepting that it is we who are rejecting something just because we cannot come to terms—or don’t want to make even the minimum effort to do so—we label it to be an act of a person who is not normal—again a relative term. That person is either said to be insane or propagator of blasphemy. And in worst case called a spiritual person—spiritual being pronounced as some disease, if afflicting a person before a ripe, right and respectable age of sixty!

Hence many Relevant issues are put away as Irrelevant. After all Truth being always the difficult to accept—which is another paradox of life. Whereby Irrelevance of Relevance is flaunted though actually through the act—of outright rejection—Irrelevance of Irrelevance gets projected.

Yet to me NO THING is Irrelevant—as nothing happens without a reason and there is a season for everything. Even Rejections become incubators of Expression yet again hitherto Unexpressed. So while for some there is Irrelevance of Relevance to me there is Relevance of even Irrelevance.


Copyright © Sushmita Mukherjee.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Projectile of Project

THIS IS A COPY OF THE E-MAIL THAT I SENT TO THE HONORABLE HRD MINISTER, Mr. KAPIL SIBAL ON 3rd NOVEMBER,2010  AND AM YET TO GET A CLARIFICATION IN THE FORM OF A REPLY TO MY QUERIES.IF YOU ALL AGREE WITH MY VIEWS THEN PLEASE SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND IF NOT THEN YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO! I LEAVE IT YOUR DISCRETION. BUT IT 'HAPPENS SO' IS NOT A SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM--THAT IS IF YOU ACCEPT IT TO BE A PROBLEM. IN ANY CASE, WE CAN AT LEAST TRY TO BRING SOME CHANGE FOR THE GOOD. BECAUSE THIS EDUCATION SYSTEM AFTER WHAT IT CLAIMS ITSELF TO BE, LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED AS I GET TO SEE IN COLLEGE WITH MY STUDENTS. EDUCATION IF IT HAS TO BE EDUCATION IN THE REAL SENSE, IT HAS TO BE MORE VALUE ADDED--MORAL VALUES AND NOT COMMERCIAL. AND IF MY MESSAGE DOESN'T APPEAL TO YOU THEN I AM SORRY TO HAVE CONSUMED YOUR TIME.


Respected Sir,

First and foremost my warm Diwali greetings to you and your family. Hope you have a great year.

In my introduction I would only like to state that I am a teacher (NET qualified) of Organic Chemistry…trying to help out the students of Class X to MSc. And would like to request you not to delete it before going through it in its entirety…as it normally happens. Being a teacher has it demerits…we try to explain too much!

Now coming straight to the reason behind this mail of mine…it is the confidence you have instilled in us with some real soul-searching as far as revamping the education system in our country. As far as I can remember this is the first time some concrete steps (apparent) are being taken in this direction. I congratulate you for that and thank you as well.

Drawing confidence from your efforts I would like to state the following…in fact glaring lacunae in the format of CBSE curriculum…even at the elementary level. I know with years of neglect preceding (with no disrespect intended to your predecessors), it is not possible to rectify all the faults simultaneously, but still being a teacher and a responsible citizen of the country I feel it my duty to point out the follies…as no system can be absolute and the moment we start to live in a fool’s paradise, not feeling the need for improvement, we are doomed.

You have every right to dismiss my petition but I would be grateful…and I am sure, guardians of innumerable students too would echo the same feeling who are not able to protest directly fearing the backlash.

I as a teacher feel that education should be fun… learning while retaining an element of fun. Only then studies would not be repulsive…a job that that hence needs to be done perforce and not spontaneously. And we as teachers should not confine our responsibilities to the confines of the syllabi. Our job is to shape the overall growth of students…so that when they move out in the competitive arena they are capable of looking after themselves professionally as well as at the personal level. But for that they would have to derive joy from their studies…look forward to their books, which unfortunately is not the case.

I enumerate the peculiarities in the system and would be extremely happy to know the reason why they came into being and are persisted with.

(i)      What is the logic behind goading the students with the elaborate project works?
               It is the guardians who complete them…as the students have to study (which is more important) and their ‘study load’—class work and homework doesn’t spare them the time for such irrelevant projects. I know there is relevance in assigning those projects…but what if the students are not in a position to do them?
            We in our student days used to have class work wherein these projects were carried out…instead of the present format when it is goaded as homework…and we learned from them.
          Mere intentions do not help. The feasibility of the approach needs to be considered.

(ii) Students are given ‘drawing’ tasks in all imaginable and unimaginable subjects…from Sanskrit to English to Hindi…none is spared when the students do not have time to spare.
        Why this ridiculous system? What is the point, barring allowing the teachers to wile time, instead of teaching?

(iii) What is the point in conducting tests almost as a continuum?
                  This spoils the natural momentum for learning and not only that, students thus have become only concerned about studying for their exams and passing, with not even an iota of interest shown towards real learning.

(iv) And after all this they--majority of them, thus allowing generalisation-- draw a blank when they go for their undergraduate studies, barely three months after their qualifying Class 12th exams

Well, this is the effect on the students in general…and exceptions are bound to be there to prove the rule.

Under the circumstances, I have certain queries:

(a) Do we want to churn out morons?
           I know statistical corroboration I cannot provide but don’t you feel that is what we are ‘manufacturing’ as an offspring of this system?

(b) Do we need Jack-of-all-trades or specialists?
                I know you are in favour of the latter, going by your interview in The Times of India, Ascent, dated 3rd November, 2010.

(c) Can’t we make the system pro-students?

(d) Furthermore, in my blog “Intentions vs Repercussions” I have mentioned the possibility of the CCE being misused by the teachers.

The guardians are fed up with the present structure but cannot protest as there three outcomes of it. First is the plea of the school authorities that they are bound by the CBSE format. Second is the harsh reality wherein the guardians are asked to take away their wards from the school if they are so dissatisfied. Last but not the least, the ward of the protesting guardian has to face the wrath as a backlash.

Sir, is this becoming of educational institutions? If this and the present format of curriculum continue without any further changes in this context, we shall continue to have qualified but not educated subsequent generations. Do we want such a progress for our country?

I know I might have over-stepped my limits but being a teacher and given the fact that you have taken the issue of reforming the education system so very seriously I couldn’t control myself…in spite of people telling me “It would be of no use”. At least this gives me some satisfaction of having tried to do something…even if by merely writing to the right person. Still, if the contents of my mail have in anyway offended you, it has been completely unintentional and I am extremely sorry for that.

I earnestly hope that my plea would be read, considered and the necessary actions, as per your discretion would be mulled… and executed subsequently.

In this regard, if you want any more suggestions (which I don’t think you would need, given a wonderful team that must be working with you) I would try my level best.

With warm regards,

Sushmita Mukherjee

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hypocrisy of Democracy

Hypocrisy of Democracy

At times I—as well as people like me—get tired of writing about these things repeatedly. But given the tenacity of the perpetrators—for propagation of undesirable activities—I am pulled up from the labyrinthine tiredness.  I am sure I have used the term ‘hypocrisy of democracy’ in one of my blogs, but don’t quite remember, which one. In any case, it is not only I, but also majority of the population—the qualified class, herein I refrain from using the word ‘educated’…no disrespect intended—who feel the same. And it is this ONENESS, which is now compelling me to put my thoughts to words.

As one tragic incident after the other follows…being flashed in the newspapers while the electronic media airs the heart rending scenes…all because of the shameless acts of the politicians –men and (wo)men in power—I decided to take up one issue…though not relegating others as far as their severity is concerned…which most definitely makes mockery of the term DEMOCRACY and CIVILISATION.

The RSS chief, Mr. Sudarshan, made some comments on Mrs. Sonia Gandhi…whether it was his personal views or his party’s that is redundant here. The status of a remark is marked by the response it generates from the recipient or from the people on her/his behalf…and I don’t claim that the contents of the comments shouldn’t have irked or offended the people it did. But my point is, whether the nature of the protest over it should have been so violent? Did it call for the destruction of public property all over India?

I know by putting forth these questions I am giving people the scope to call me ‘communal’ and what not. But mind it I am yet to congratulate Mr. Sudarshan for his views! And I openly state that my religious views are ‘humane’…for which I don’t have to don a certificate around my neck. Also I believe that politics…for the sake of the nation…should be much above mud slinging…with interests of the citizens being the focal point.

At the same time I would like to ask the very protesters…who vented their anger (however justified that might have been)…were the comments more disgraceful than the disgrace that befalls the women of our country with frightening frequency?

Everyday honour of women is violated and desecrated…by molesters, rapists and also ‘rapist-husbands’. Even a child—a female child is not spared. But do we get to see such protests being staged, let alone nationwide, but even in the area to which the victim belongs. NO. This implies that such comments are more serious than the actually physically committed crimes against the gender of which Madam Gandhi is the most prominent representative in Indian context! I am in no way justifying the comments nor I am stating that there shouldn’t have been protests. On the contrary the comments could have generated protests alone…but the manner and magnitude for it is ridiculous, if one cannot say incredulous.

Wasn’t there a better method and definitely civilized method to protest?
Couldn’t the Congress party workers filed a Defamation Suit against the concerned person?
Or did they evaluate the comment and found it to be not offending enough legally?
And based on that they felt that they had the (il)legal right to do what they did…for what I don’t know…to please Mrs. Sonia Gandhi or to show their ‘respect’ for her?

We all would definitely like to see such unified concern and protest against the innumerable dishonourable acts being committed against women ‘in general’…instead of violent actions over comments against only prominent politicians. The politicians are supposedly, for us and by us…and most unfortunately one of us. I say, ‘unfortunately’, because once they become what they are, they forget this fact. And hence they see themselves as specimens of a different category…from the one they ‘thought they belonged’.

This has led to the abominable germination of double standards, wherein in the name of DEMOCRACY, we have become victims of factually HYPOCRISY OF DEMOCRACY. I don’t know how should I relate to India’s IN-DEPENDENCE –63 year old DEMOCRACY or 63 year old HYPOCRISY OF DEMOCRACY…

Sushmita Mukherjee,
17th November 2010.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Theory Of Relativity - III

The first part contained the relative use of Science, while the second part concentrated on the excessive use of the ‘relative’. But both the parts have one thing common—apart from the main theme of relativity—and that is the medium of expression, the language.

When the language is so adept at explaining behaviours—scientific and human—how can it remain elusive to the effect of relativity?
       
Hence in the third part—the last one—I would like to discuss certain aspects that are again obviously known to all. Still I take it up as cognizance of the fact that any discussion on relativity would be incomplete without acknowledging—which we fail to do, failing to recognize its importance, as is with all things that are obvious—the medium that allows us to express our relative views on relativity encompassing disparate domains. Yes, you have guessed correctly—the English language. In fact it is an ode to Queen’s language—a medium is needed to express the findings—realisations as well—the lack of which would erroneously manifest the non-existence of any finding(s).

Though the language and its usage is resplendent with innumerable examples to represent the cause, I shall consider only some of them—frankly speaking I do not have the true estimate of number of such representatives, given the infinite ocean of the language in which we are fortunate to sail. Furthermore it is dependent upon the perception of the person concerned, so permutations and combinations totaling to give the exact number too, would be anything, but finite!

Thus Theory of Relativity decides a specific action to manifest resistance, rigidity, conviction or selfishness.
        An act resulting out of sheer conviction of one person might be termed as resistance or selfishness by others—depending upon their perception of the matter. At the same time a person might effectively be resistant to something or might be acting out of sheer selfishness—but is of the perception that by doing so his/her conviction is being followed.

The words are relative in the sense that they are directly dependent upon the situation at hand—as also on the perception of the people involved in it. Thus, different people, under different conditions, might ‘label’ a similar sort of action ‘differently’ for different perceptions. Just like my penchant for writing—which is my passion, backed by my conviction that I need to share my views—might be termed as madness, by others!

Furthermore, accuracy is referred to as ‘frighteningly accurate’ and imperfection as perfect as in ‘perfection in imperfection’. And the best one to me is our Independence—which is actually In dependence as I have mentioned earlier as well…it is an independence from the foreigners but again it is relative ……as now we are in dependence and slave to our vices as well as to that of our politicians’.

Hence the issues that ‘concern’ me might not be worth a thought for others—to them it being too obvious to be important and hence, redundant. I don’t blame them, as it is again a matter of perception and relativity, which it leads to—things important to others might not be so for me. But the things that I have mentioned here are obviously relatively important with their inherent relativity, to merit my time and attention to ultimately gain identity as this piece!

Thus interpretation, based on an individual’s perception is relative. But deliberate misinterpretation is distortion to the extent of manipulation.

Hence it is not always the literal meaning that gets implied. Relative use of words and their interpretation—again a relative action—changes the meaning…some sort of linguistic alchemy in operation…. with human perception being the alchemical agent.

Sushmita Mukherjee,
11th August 2010.



Theory Of Relativity - II


The first part has been dedicated to the ‘relative’ use of Science—as misuse and abuse—as a cause of a neither dormant nor extinct—volcano of a debate, “Science is a boon or a bane”—instead a very much active one.

But as I have mentioned—oops sorry, rather in trying to take a peek into what Einstein had possibly intended with and for, his theory of relativity—relativity has no boundaries. It transcends all and encompasses all—that which comprises our life and the world as a whole.

Science, we all would accept can never be wrong or could never harbour negative intentions for mankind—at least this remains an absolute philosophy. Yet it is again the paradoxical element of life that keeps alive and fans the above-mentioned debate—to keep it on its raging course unabated. Hence the very mankind for whose betterment Science stands for—and whose advancement too is brought forth by mankind—some of the members of that same species is utilizing it for the purpose it never was meant for—harming, again the same, mankind.

Not only in the field of Science, but life in itself, we have ended (yes) up misusing—and that too by an excessive ‘use’ of relativity. If relativity pervades the entire canvas of life, then life too would engulf relativity by getting it ‘used excessively’ by the inhabitants of this earth. And that is what has happened; to lead to the society in which we live today…bad is the excessive use of anything.

In the ‘relative’ society that we live, we do not consider ourselves to be a part of a bigger family—nation as a whole, to subsequently embrace the entire world as our own.

The simplest example is the distortion of the word ‘cooperative society’, due to this relative approach, albeit excessive. Our actions manifest cooperative as, to co-operate, but towards ‘co-ntradictory’ causes—only to satisfy our own desires with no concern whatsoever for that of others’.

This is the reason our country projects a very dirty—literally—picture to the world. The roads are littered with ‘what not’. Even the residential colonies and housing complexes too give them a stiff competition in the race for ‘un-cleanliness’
     People by their behaviour prove that the ‘carpet area’ of their ‘house’ is their own and hence needs to be kept clean. Rest—the common area—is not their responsibility and hence can be littered with…as a consequence the whole area becomes a big waste-bin, but they are not bothered. No sense of belonging for anything or anyone outside their four walls.

While we were in Bihar people use to prefer Bengalis for tenants—I too being a Bengali took pride in this fact—stating Bengalis keep the house clean. But having shifted to Kolkata, my pride turned to shame—as I have unravelled one of the main reasons behind the cleanliness that they maintained—they throw the unwanted items out of their houses on the roads, in the campus…. whichever turns out to be at fault, by being adjacent to their house! They do not even labour to get up and throw the waste in the bin, when a huge expanse of a bin is easily available to them—at a ‘window’s throw’ that is at a ‘stone’s throw’! Naturally the house would remain clean and only clean.

This I do not state to demean the place where I live. In fact the same story is prevalent all over the country, and hence the cumulative image. I have just stated my findings—one of relative cleanliness. If only we could accept the simple fact that each and every part of our nation is our own—though I know with blatant show of extremism in regional feelings, it is difficult to inculcate and maintain; and about this I have talked of in my blog: “Empowered State and Belitted Nation”—roads, forests…everything, then India too with its rich natural resources—though fast depleting—would look clean like other countries. Very often the first impression turns out be the last impression.
      
Poverty is cited as one of the main reasons for the lack of cleanliness. But this too is a relative approach—adopted only to avoid responsibility and evade accountability—in totality.
     Needy people do not come and litter the surroundings of our abode with half-eaten packets of biscuits, wafers, etc. Rather they act as scavengers—picking up things as useful, which we consider waste. So all blame cannot be levied on them—an already deprived class of our society—for the mess, the rest of the society plays a major part in creating.

It needs to be humbly accepted that it is our self-serving, extreme use of relativity that has primarily led to this negative outcome—instead of blaming the rest and the sundry; we need to reflect on how we are contributing to the menace.
        If we could cleanse ourselves from within, to bond with our surroundings as our very own, only then we can cleanse the image of our nation—which we have converted into a literal, absolute and not relative, waste bin. 

Sushmita Mukherjee,
 August 9, 2010  

Theory Of Relativity - I

Relativity of relativity makes it a diverse field. Manifestation of relativity in all walks of life is quite apparent. Hence a specific domain for relativity becomes difficult to assign. At least this is a fact—absolute—in this relative world that we all cohabit! And with the confidence in this ‘absolute-ness’, I have dared to title the current ‘piece of thought’.

The original theory, of this name, by the genius of Albert Einstein I am not going to delve in and dwell upon—for the simple reason that I am not at all qualified for the job. But yes, his theory has given me the courage to look beyond the realms of Physics and Chemistry and realise the omnipresence of relativity. My realization of the said omnipresence is the product of my experiences in life and their retroanalyses. All theories have physical significance—events from our day-to-day life inspiring their inception. And when I decided to go ahead and translate my thoughts in this regard little did I know I would get validation from Einstein himself, through his analogies! No, no, not my theory but my application of the original by extrapolation to life, as is evident from the following anecdote: Albert Einstein was often asked to explain the general theory of relativity. "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour," he once declared. "Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity!"

All theories—generalizations—are based on the execution of the three steps: experiment, observation and inference—in the order of their mention. When an experiment yields an unprecedented—in its unexpectedness—result for the first time, it is termed a fluke; recurrence for the second time elevates it to the status of coincidence, which is maintained over a specific statistical value. But when the frequency of its occurrence becomes too frequent it necessitates a promotion to generalization! This I have realized during the course of my training as student and teacher of Organic Chemistry, which has forced me to generalize that, “Frequent Occurrences of Coincidences Leads to Generalization”.

This holds true in life as well, rendering this thought absolute. And the beauty and efficacy of science—with its wonderful theories—increase manifold if they are assimilated and integrated, and ultimately incorporated, in life. Only then they could be of use, in the absolute sense, to mankind—the primary reason for their coming into being.

But as I have stated, life as a whole is masked in relativity—in fact absolute relativity. Our life is an outcome of the way we react to our surrounding—people, environment, issues, incidents…..And the way we react depends upon how we relate to these parameters. Relating with people around us in a specific manner either enriches or blemishes, our life with relationships—healthy or unhealthy.

And if science could be extrapolated to life then the extrapolation could be in the reverse direction as well.

The way various chemical compounds relate to each other decides how they would specifically ‘inter-act’ with each other, which gets manifested as unique reactions. This has enriched us with an indispensable branch of science—Chemistry.   

Also with advancement in science the problems that earlier either used to go undetected or suffered from lack of solution are joining the list of ‘erstwhile-s’—both in their non-detection as well as solution. This is evidenced in the aftermath of the ensuing technological as well as medical wonders—the latter being an extrapolation of the former at times. No longer a breakthrough in one specific field remains confined to the limited domains of that field. They are being used by various disparate ‘disciplines’ to anoint themselves with the tag, ‘universal’.

But relativity is absolute!
Despite all these we still cannot deny the fact that ‘instead of human-beings being at the mercy of science for betterment of life, it is science that is at the mercy of its human handlers’. The nature of the dividend—positive or negative—it yields would depend upon how the scientific information is used. This fact, we are being blatantly forced to accept by the ‘terror inciting & inflicting groups’, who by their misuse of science actually abuse science and mankind. And it is not dividend that is yielded, but deficit that is incurred—dividend and deficit being the two sides of the ‘coin of relativity’. And this misuse is not restricted to only the terrorists—rather has become all pervasive with respect to its users.

This menace is a ‘by-product’ of the progressive world. But the way it is gaining identity it’s getting elevated to the post of ‘the product’ and not remain a mere ‘by-product’ seems frighteningly imminent. As the world progresses so does the menace—but at a brisker pace—gaining alarming proportions; after all downhill reactions are always faster.

Nothing can be absolute in this world—an absolutely relative place. Not even science. This is a fact. Yet the fact of the matter is the fact that life is a paradox and in this paradoxical life we cannot deny the equally paradoxical absolute—ness of relativity.

Thus my theory—if of any consequence—of relativity is that, “Relativity is absolute and if not absolute, at least relatively absolute”.

Sushmita Mukherjee,
31st July, 2010.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Googly of GOOGLE


The indispensability of Google in our life manifests itself with an ever-increasing magnitude. And why not, given the fact that Google has become our information manual for whatnots. Whatever we don’t know or don’t want to exert our brains for, we very spontaneously ask Google for the answer…and more often than not it comes up with the right answer.

For that all of us are thankful to Google—rather to the people (wo)manning the Google. Because it is they who feed the data…which necessitates updating the database continuously.  This has led to our high demands from them…that they quite capably meet. But this demand has thrust on them huge responsibility…well, nothing comes for free. It is a two-way traffic.

They are supposed to be 100 % accurate with the information they provide. Anything less than 100%, however inadvertent, doesn’t go down well with people…rendering Google responsible of irresponsible ‘behaviour’.

Given what they stand for, I too thus find their act of showing PoK in Pakistan—not once but twice—a highly irresponsible act. And at the same time immeasurably offending too, given the fact that it is ‘Google’—synonymous with authenticity—who is providing the ‘mis-information’.

I don’t know whether the Indian Government asked for a clarification—leave aside an apology—'for this act. And if this were any indication, then very soon we would come to know of various COAP and COITChinese Occupied Arunachal Pradesh and Chinese Occupied Indian Territories—from Google. China—as reported—did force a leading mobile phone company to indeed show parts of Arunachal as Chinese territories; though China later on refuted this report.

Paradoxically enough, showing PoK in Pakistan and potentiality of ‘exposing’ COAPs and COITs would have juxtaposed impacts.While the former going ‘un-protested’—at least as far as the information available to me—once again reinstates India’s character as being a spineless nation—the latter would be real eye-openers for the citizens of the country. There is a reason behind this claim of mine. When there were definite reports of Chinese incursion(s) in Arunachal, the then concerned minister—and who is now the troubleshooter of this current government—negated the claims, claiming that sanctity of India’s sovereignty has not been compromised.

Reports of Chinese incursion(s) though continues to trickling in, which are invalidated as many times by the ministers…whom one would now prefer to call Swayam Sevaks (Self serving) and not Jan Sevaks (Public servants), which they proclaim themselves to be. Due to the majority of such members of our parliament…our Parliament resembles a PIT—Politicians Interrupting Truth—with a TIP—Traitor(s) Infested Parliament

In spite of knowing all this we can’t do anything but accept the ‘official information’ that is offered to the nation.

But yes, Google with its Googly (of placing PoK in Pakistan)—and a very serious one at that—has trespassed into the domain of our Politicians. And have the politicians protested? No. And if my instinct and analyses is anything to go by, they haven’t protested because they themselves are Manipulators Par Excellence…charting their own MAP… for which they don’t need the help of Google …which stands for Manipulators @ Perfection—!!! 

Sushmita Mukherjee,
November 4, 2010.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Common Wealth


The proverbial Pandora’s box finds a new synonym in the Commonwealth Games, 2010…hosted by our nation’s capital.  Though I am apprehensive that after this fiasco of ‘the games’ it would be called the ‘Sham Capital’. Not to mention the ignominy of the continuously accruing ‘shame quotient’. God only knows what else will tumble out of the ‘sham closet’…the Commonwealth Village. It really seems that we are going back to our roots, with the hissing of the snake taking us back… to the village!

I do not wish to give the details of such undesirable incidents for the reasons:
(i)                  I do not have the statistical corroboration…in the form of the exact data.
(ii)                Already people are having to endure enough shame…with the details being covered by both the print and electronic media…and for that I congratulate them. Otherwise we would have been kept in the dark… about the irremovable dark clouds of corruption—yet again—with dignity of the nation being held as a ‘hostage’.
(iii)               Such incidents are likely to pile on, to ultimately reach infinite proportions.
(iv)              I wanted to shed some light from a different context…though the fact that ‘shams’ always lead to ‘shame’, remains irrefutable.

I really ponder as to how are we going to redeem and salvage the respect and dignity of the nation. Through the ‘bribing lure’ of a progressively manipulated economy and an infinite market for ‘what not’s’? Well under the circumstances it would be barter… of our self-respect.

The question arises: Is self-respect…including that of the nation… a commodity?

At least not to a common man/woman. Even though wealth is not common…rather most uncommon possession of a common man/woman. And in this regard Mr. Azim Premzi’s article in the TOI, dt. 28.08.10, sums it up best.

Ambition is justified and a natural reflection of an intention for progression. But when this intention leads to regression…that too knowingly…it becomes ‘hypocrisy’.  That is where this progression has led…to regression. The infrastructure building measures are detectable by only infrared rays! And we have not been able to even preserve the facilities…whatever little…of the yore.

World’s largest democracy’s craving to host the CW games…otherwise would be deemed natural…but not when that democracy is India. India ranks amongst the world’s 10 most poor countries. The majority of the population finds it impossible to fulfill their basic needs…because wealth (?!) is uncommon to common people. Still we want to hold the Commonwealth Games…that too with misdirected intentions.

So echoing what Mr. Premzi has done…and what I am sure 95% of the citizens agree with…did India need to hold the Commonwealth Games? And most important, could we hold an event of such a magnitude when intentions of the people involved, is very common (something at last!)…of not intending to do the needful?

I do not know the real reason behind this decision to hold the games…and more so when the efficient inefficiency of the executive machinery was assured. But I can speculate on the probable consequences…a couple of them, out of the possible many… of the Commonwealth Games.

(i) We Indians are going to feel a burning pinch on our pockets, in the form of further (?!) price hike on the goods of our daily needs.
(ii) And part of the deficit incurred by the games would be levied on us with an increment in ‘taxes’…equivalent to being punished without committing a crime.
(iii) While the culprits…the elite class…including some of our Most Precious (MP’s) citizens would remain unaffected…and if are affected that would be for the better (for them, of course).

So in the very near future, we Indians…reeling from the after effects of the Commonwealth Games…are likely to shout at the top of our voices… C’mon Wealth!

Sushmita Mukherjee,
27th September 2010.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Dearer MPs


Our dear MPs—the members of parliament—had raised a furor over the 3-fold salary hike that had been gifted to them…demanding in the lines of an old advertisement for the soft drink Pepsi that proclaimed, “Yeh dil maange more”…give us more…and they have indeed managed to extract more…

The raise in their salary has raised a furor in various circles and I am sure the MPs must be feeling this feeling expressed by others, to be utterly unjust…given that all other professions have an increased pay packet, than what it used to be. Hence to them this furor over the raise, and over their furor, is beyond comprehension…but is it actually so? Are they so na├»ve? I think not…though yes, as is the human nature…what others get always seems to be more than what the self gets. Thus if they felt that they were still the underpaid class…. one cannot blame them!

Though on going through the detailed research and the corresponding reports in The Times of India, Kolkata, dt. August 22, 2010, one would realise how misplaced is the wails of the MPs…that saw them thronging the well of the House (in parliament) in opposition to such a meager (?) hike in their salary. The TOI has quite explicitly reported the details and analysed the implications of this decision of pay-hike—more specifically the extent of the raise. And as if this was not enough it has been incremented further (TOI, dt. August 23, 2010)—typifying the efficiency of the government in appeasing but not in governance.

The salary hike is just the tip of the ice-berg—given the perks, amounting to gratis—considering the almost unlimited privileges being accorded to them…. in a country where a large number of people do not have the privilege of even the most elementary means of sustenance…food, clothing and shelter…and the representatives of the same people ‘were’ to earn Rs.57 lakhs annually (only the salary and not the lump sump package, as the amount excludes the unlimited allowances)….and it being too insufficient a raise, was raised within a span a of a day to Rs. !.6lakhs per month as the lump-sump pay packet, which includes still, not all of the allowances…still they are not happy as they had wanted the monthly salary to be Rs.80,001…to do justice to their self-implanted tag of ‘servers of the underprivileged’…Well, it could happen only in India and that too so blatantly.

The report, based on the original hike, has bared the implicit impact of the increment—104 times that of per capita GDP of the country—that is, they would be earning 104 times more than the annual income of an average Indian—citizens whom the MPs are supposed to serve! Herein certain questions are craving for answer:
(i) Aren’t they costing India too much?
(ii) Are we in a position to afford it?
But they weren’t happy…so to appease them the govt. has partially(?!) acceded to their demands.

It is a forgone conclusion that they do not have a conscience—most of them—and even if they have, they are deaf to it. Their grudge raises a question mark over their credibility as citizens of India. Yes, they have the right to voice their dissent…but on valid grounds…even they are aware whom they are serving…self or the nation.

A very startling realization has struck me. Even the original hike in salary of the MPs being 104 times greater (I haven’t been able to calculate that, after the latest increment as it states that the basic hasn’t been raised only the allowances have been!) than the per capita GDP of our country implies that the average salary of a common (wo)man is that much lesser, which in turn necessitates a downward motion for the growth of the country.

Therefore the salary of an MP is inversely proportional to the growth of the country and directly proportional to corruption. Look at Kenya, where this figure is 180—strife with corruption where the common man is starving while the politicians are thriving (same as in India)—courtesy this disparity, which is another name of corruption. And as opposed to these two countries— in Japan and Singapore—the respective corresponding figures being 6 and 4—records a speedy and steady growth, rather a democratic growth—sans corruption, whose index are these figures and manifestation is in the growth. I don’t know what the economists would say. But the plain truth is visible to one and all.

‘We, the people’, in general do not know the nuances of economics nor do we know how to manipulate it. But the people who matter are aware and quite capable. Still they went ahead and did what they did. No body knows more about finances than our respected PM—undoubtedly an academician par excellence. And our FM—the troubleshooter for this UPA government—too knows the financial implications of this hike. So what was (were) the compelling reasons behind the decision?

True, the MPs have the right to ask why this furor over their salary hike when it is quite natural in all other sectors as well. But then do they, as such, only rely on their salaries for sustenance…the past is strife with shames of frauds and scandals, present is either shielding many such scams or hatching them for the future…. and the trend is likely to continue till eternity…it seems. The MPs have forgotten that it is us they represent and their increment in salary would be levied on us as tax and indirectly as price rise. Instead of being for the people they prove they would do anything to be against them…till the next elections are around…and they entice with crocodile promises.

The way they have extorted the rise, and raise over this rise, is a very crude display of blackmailing the government. And when does one give in to the blackmailers—to save or shield somebody/something—very dear. So even if the demands are dearer, it becomes worth acceding to.

Hence I refuse to accept that our PM and FM hadn’t calculated how this pay hike and hike over the hike, for MPs, would reflect against the per capita GDP. They are very capable; there is no doubt about that. Then why did they use their capabilities in less than desirable manner? There must be a serious and valid reason behind it. And I find the answer in the timing of this decision, and the common factor ‘M’ –in PM, FM and MP. ‘M’ stands for Vitamin M = Money…and not Mother India. This ‘M’ and the timing are in synergy—if my perception is correct. The lure of more ‘M’, lures away… diverts, diffuses, dissipates…the ammonia fumes of Bhopal…and now the ‘visible’ ghosts that were tumbling out of the Bhopal-closet would again be allowed ‘immunity’ in ‘invisibility’.

Thus, though the MPs might have become ‘dearer’, but they would never be ‘dear’ to the citizens—for us it shall always be our ‘Dear Nation…Mother India’—above everything else.

Sushmita Mukherjee,
23rd August 2010.









Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Euthanasia by Default


The word “Euthanasia” got added to my vocabulary as I read the masterpiece, “Doctors”, by Erich Segal, about 22 years back. Though I must admit the deeper meaning and the bigger picture projected/incubated by the word, in the canvas of life, I could grasp only with the ‘passage of time’—which when translated to its effect implies ‘experience’.

The true essence of a word goes well beyond its literal meaning. It rather depends on its interpretation, distortion, manipulation, assimilation, extrapolation and integration. These operators at times work in tandem—some, if not all. While at other times they are mutually exclusive in their operation. And Euthanasia too is not immune to this norm—as is normal. We have a tendency to lynch a word, try its elasticity—synonymous to versatility and wide ranged applicability—till it reaches plasticity.

Thus when I gradually began to grasp the gravity of the implications of the word I started to gravitate towards either end of the fulcrum—pros and con of the effect imparted by what Euthanasia does. But before dealing with the pendulum of my analytical mind, I need to delve a bit on Euthanasia. Although I am sure almost everybody knows what is Euthanasia—especially my friends from the medical fraternity and legal field, but the teacher in me refuses to proceed further without a proper groundwork!

Euthanasia, as per Wikipedia (our fastest and most commonly used tool for accessing information), has its root in Greek: ‘eu’ meaning ‘good/well’ and ‘thanotos’ meaning ‘death’. The word was first used to signify a peaceful death, devoid of suffering, but was later on modified, by extrapolation by none other than Francis Bacon. He said that Euthanasia is definitely a peaceful death sans suffering but brought about by a physician who helps the patient suffering from an incurable disease and unbearable pain, to get rid of it. The physician at the behest of the patient helps alleviate the pain in the only possible way—by helping him/her to end the life.

Later on, it started being referred to as the practice of ending a life in a manner, which relieves pain, and suffering. According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of Euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering”. Well there are many camouflaged, heavily loaded words used as preconditions for a process to be qualified as Euthanasia.
I do not want to enter into an ongoing raging debate all over the world over Euthanasia. But I need to put forth my views in order to validate my purpose behind this piece.

The first word that comes to mind on learning of an unnatural death—of a person, inflicted by another person—is ‘homicide’. Even ‘suicide’ is an act of ‘homicide inflicted by the self on the self’. ‘What led to it’ always comes as an after thought. So Euthanasia too apparently would likely come under it. Maybe this is the reason why it has not been legalized. It is deemed legal in not even a handful of countries, Netherlands being one of them, but then the Euthanasia has to of the “Voluntary” variety and needs to fulfill the conditions (laid down by deciding authority) to qualify for the procedure. And as I write this piece, Germany has made Euthanasia legal.

Euthanasia—ethical or unethical, notwithstanding—has been categorized as:
(i) Voluntary: - The patient unable to bear the pain—caused both by the illness as well the treatment that it necessitates—gives his/her consent….in fact urges with the attending doctor to bring an end to the suffering.

(ii) Non-voluntary: - The consent is unavailable from the patient, one of the example being that of child euthanasia.

(iii) Involuntary: - The consent of the patient is not taken and hence is equivalent to murder.

And even after these categorizations the true Euthanasia is considered to be the first one, Voluntary Euthanasia.

But what about the doctors? What do they do? Irrespective of the “Rights of the Terminally Ill Patient”, they are bound by the Hippocratic Oath. Though I am not the right person to comment upon it, but still there is one point in that oath that I find ‘double-edged’. The proclamation, “I shall not harm my patients”. What is actually harmful depends entirely upon the situation. Aspirin is great for some people while it is devastating on the ‘system’ of others. Likewise, if the situation of a patient is irreparable, the pain irreducible and the necessary drugs to fight the (lost cause) illness aggravate the suffering as an undesirable contra-effect, then is the continuance of the medication healthy or harmful? But then their hands are tied in the tug-of war between ethics of oath, supported by their conscience and contradicted by rational mind. ‘I can’t play God’, that is their overwhelming thought.

In fact, Euthanasia has also been aptly described as “Assisted Suicide”.

Thus is an act of homicide, at its face value. In spite of knowing that ending a life or aiding in culminating the pain, by terminating the working of the heart, would alleviate the pain, release and relieve the soul from the entrapment of the physical sufferings, at least I can’t actively participate in such an act and am happy that am not a doctor! Though of course I can passively play my part…..by doing what I can, legally, with the backing of the conscience. That is pray for the “Mukti” (release), but don’t inflict it—directly or indirectly by assisting in its execution. And this is all what we do normally. Not because of the “Oath of Hypocrisy” that we seem to have taken by default by dint of being born as humans. But because of our belief in the Supreme Being—as we live in a God ‘fearing’, if not ‘abiding’, society. We accept that the rights to ‘create or terminate’ life resides with God and not with us. As also to bestow the grace of (being) ‘Mercifully Killed’, to terminally ill patients.

But as it happens with various issues, there comes a time when the onus of decision-making cannot be passed on as a buck. We are forced to become ‘active’ from ‘passive’ participants. This is encountered when complications arise during childbirth. Till today various deaths are reported during childbirths—sometimes of both the mother and the child and at times either of the two. These occurrences befall unexpectedly most of the time. But when complications are pre-indicated and the death of one of them is imminent, both the Hippocratic Oath, as well as Oath of Hypocrisy, are tested. The doctor envisaging the improbability of saving both the mother and the child and unable to ignore the Oath that takes cognizance of even an unborn child, wants the decision made by the family members, thereby absolving the conscience (doctor’s) of any guilt. While the family members faced with such a difficult situation are afraid to come up with an immediate answer lest they end up being supporters of Oath of Hypocrisy. Whom do they choose, mother or the child—none has committed any crime to be discriminated against? Yet they have to decide and normally the decision is in favour of (saving) the mother and against the child. Then is it not an enforced Euthanasia by default with respect to the child and that too non-voluntary?

Not only this, but there is another instance—and quite prevalent in India where financial conditions of the majority of the population is very bad, the projected economic growth notwithstanding —where the financial constraints doesn’t allow the treatment to be continued, the patient dies and the family members are rendered mute spectators. I know it is Destiny but is not this Destiny reached via a form of Euthanasia, albeit by default. Because that is what it is, allowing a loved one to die, having no other option—that is what has been said of Euthanasia—to assist in dying; in hopeless and unbearable circumstances.

The countries which do not support Euthanasia legally, what do they have to say about these “Euthanasia(s) by Default”?



Monday, August 16, 2010

Monochromatic Vision


As I have discussed in my previous vision—“Vision of Eyesight”, there are two types of vision accorded to us—physical, which varies with time & situation. Time, because generally those who have been blessed with great eyesight, find their vision to be faltering with advancing age. Though of course there are many who are not that fortunate—having to use specs from their childhood. This vision signifies the physical vision—eyesight. Another vision of the physical nature, is the one we have of happening(s) around us—perception(s) based on the assessment made by the heart and mind—a deeper vision—akin to ‘reading between the lines’.

Apart from these there is another one, which though has a bit of metaphysical implication(s). Vision, which hits upon the inward eye in moments of solitude, to enlighten with realization.

In this one I shall restrict myself to the physical plane, but at times I might become repetitive, as “Monochromatic Vision” is a continuation of “Vision of Eyesight”. Funniest part is the fact that the precursor was written later!

I am sure the title of the piece must be evoking some vision of colour! But before proceeding, I must acknowledge the grace of God for having endowed us with eyesight, which makes it possible to enjoy the riot of colours on the spreadsheet of nature. Nature is truly polychromatic. We look around us and find innumerable variants (shades), of even a single colour—no two colours are identical. But this riot—of colours—is harmonious!

Talking of colours in scientific terms also yields harmonious dividends—as far as accruing of knowledge with regards to its implications and its application is concerned. Implications and applications in fact keep swapping their position(s) as per the need.
Thus we know that “White Colour”, signifying peace, is a result of the ‘harmonious combination’ of the seven colours of “VIBGYOR”! Could one ask for a better harmony and utility of colours? “An apparently monochromatic quality (colour is a quality) is composed of polychromatic components—seven to be specific.” Another manifestation of unity (unit—single colour) in diversity.

While I am talking of colours, how can I not consider the pigments, as pigments are actually the colouring materials? These can be natural as well as artificial. The latter are the precursor of dyes of various types that find use in our life.
But it is the natural pigments that I shall be concentrating on, being pertinent to my purpose.

To do that a bit of Chemistry needs to be discussed and for that I apologise. Though I am sure the extent to which I would go, in my chemical discourse, that much Chemistry everybody is aware of.

Let us start from the plant kingdom. Chlorophyll, a natural green pigment found exclusively in plants, allows them to absorb sunlight and they use the thus absorbed photochemical energy to prepare their food. The plant(s) absorb the photochemical energy and use(s) it to convert the carbon dioxide that it has ‘inhaled’—the one that we have ‘exhaled’—to convert it into carbohydrate. And this entire process is referred to as PHOTOSYNTHESIS. This sustains them and this sustains life in general, around them, with the lives depending upon them to survive. This way the cycle continues—‘all because of Chlorophyll’. Just imagine what would have been the situation in its absence.

Now switching our attention to the animal kingdom, we are aware of the presence of natural pigment: MELANIN, which imparts colour to our skin, hair, and iris of the eyes and scales of the concerned inhabitants of the animal kingdom. It is even present in plants.

Just as we have been made aware of the utilities of chlorophyll, we need to know what are those, for melanin—so as to appreciate its presence and fear its absence.

In humans, those with darker skin have higher concentration of melanin and those having less of it are light or fair-skinned. Melanin is the metabolic product of an amino acid, Tyrosine, in the body.
Though this information is easily accessible from Internet, there is a purpose behind incorporating them here and enforcing inescapability, from reading it. But believe me, once you read the piece in its entirety you will appreciate my action, and your reaction would be positive.

Utilities of its presence, pitfalls of its absence and vagaries of its presence, but in excess:

Apart from its action(s) as pigment other important effects are as follows:

(i) The photochemical properties of melanin make it an excellent photo-protectant, absorbing harmful UV-radiation and transform the energy into harmless amounts of heat via “ultrafast internal conversion”.
This property enables melanin to dissipate more than 99.9% indirect damage, which is responsible for the formation of malignant melanoma. Though it does not provide complete protection from the sun and individuals with dark skin tones too are still at risk form the sun’s damaging rays. But generally, darker skin tones can tolerate exposure to sun for hours without being sun burnt, while fair skinned people feel the contrasting effect(s).
Sun exposure has also been linked with cataracts; one of the causes that leads to cataract in certain cases.

(ii) In the skin, melanin is formed by cells called Melanocytes.
Defective melanin concentration: Certain medical condition(s), viz., Albinism, are associated with lack of melanin: marked by the absence of a normal amount of the pigment in body. Humans suffer from it. Even plants and animals too can have albinism.
Albinism: It has many variants. Depending upon the type—the skin, hair and eyes—all might be affected. Ocular albinism affects not only the colour of the eyes, hair and skin, but leads to poor vision.
Furthermore, some types of melanin deficiency are associated with increased mortality rates.

(iii) In (i), it has been stated that melanin absorbs UV radiation of sun’s rays and converts it to harmless heat, whereby acts as a photo-protectant.
Now the added incentive of conversion to harmless heat is that this becomes ‘useful heat’ as well. Melanin also thus forms a part of a mechanism for absorbing heat from the sun.
This purpose is of particular importance to cold-blooded animals: snakes, lizards, certain types of fish and a wide range of other animals, which depend on their surroundings and sun’s rays to establish and maintain the body temperature.

(iv) It is also important for sharpness of vision as melanin serves to minimize the number of light beams that enter the eye. Furthermore, it provides for absorption of scattered light within the eye.
Thus, pigmentation allows for keener eyesight.

I owe to Internet huge thanks for providing me these data, in a systematically tabulated manner. Now that the indispensability of melanin has been enunciated, I hope people would really appreciate the gravity of what melanin does for us and fear the wrath caused by its absence.

Apart from the health hazards, imagine what would have happened with a low level of melanin or its complete absence. A completely ‘Monochromatic Nature’ would have surrounded us: white or pseudo white. Our eyes would have cried for mercy from this enforced vision, which naturally would have to be ‘Monotonously Monochromatic’.

So it appalls to see melanin being denounced when we have denounced black & white television to embrace colour television. ‘Coloured vision’, brings us closer to nature, with its myriad of colours—green appears green; white is viewed in its true colour—white. But green appears black, in black & white television. We love to watch colour television as it gives us the true picture of things, with the projection of their true colours. Nature is beautiful because it is comprised of diverse colours. The hue that it projects is a resultant of the complementary attitude these colours have towards each other. They show unity of purpose amidst their diversity and provide us with a ‘picture perfect’. It is a sheer gift and joy to behold—but we would have been deprived of it had there been no variety in colour(s). We have what we have, only because there is variety and these varieties—of colours—are in perfect balance with each other and thus in total harmony. Thus existence of variety is must; otherwise a balance would have been struck with whom?

If the colour of the skin, of humans, has a varying percentage of melanin, is it unnatural then? It adds variety and forms the world in which we live.
In this context, I would like to state an observation from the “Doctors”, a classic by the Late Erich Segal. In it he has described melanin as, “a case of too much of melanin”. And yes, it is as simple as that. So why this furor and fuss over the colour of skin of an individual. It cannot be used as an introduction—primary or secondary or tertiary—ever, of a person.

In this context there are certain things on which I would like to draw attention, like many others before me have done.

(i) The longest surviving example in Indian society, of a fetish for the fair skin is portrayed in the desire(s) for a ‘fair’ bride for a prospective groom, who along with his family members prefer to ignore the colour of his own skin! Though times have changed; and thankfully continue to do so, a complete eradication of this malady is next to impossible. Generally, the primary criterion in an almost endless list of requirements, for a bride, is to be fair-skinned. As if it is in her hands!

The only positive out of this ‘melano-phobia’ is the revenue generated by the various fairness creams that have flooded the market promising a ‘whiter pasture’ in the form of conversion to white(r) skin! Now even the ‘male’ fraternity seems to be hit by the this ‘bug of craving’, for a fair skin as a consequence of which fairness creams, exclusively ‘for men’ are being made available by various companies.
Well in all ‘fairness to the males’, how could they be left behind and that too behind the females, in the race for fairness! Now ‘men’ want to tread the path—an erstwhile exclusive domain of ‘ wo-men’—and become ‘we, the men’!

Amidst all this frenzy for ‘fairness’, ‘melanin’ has very few takers. It is being tried to be profiled out gradually as the first preference of skin colour, which in any case it never was.

Then why do we cry foul when outside our country time and again we are discriminated on the basis of the melanin content in our skin?
If we want to be treated equally and at par with the fair-skinned people when we are abroad, then the attitude towards our fellow citizens should change. After all “Charity begins at home” & “As we sow, so we reap”.

(ii) Affinity for anyone ‘white’ glares at us appallingly in our society. The definition of beauty is in ‘being white’. Anyone white would do! I think this incurable permanent polarization towards the fair skin stems from the fact that we have been ruled, in other words, have been slaves, of the British for too long, rendering the effect irreversible and thus irreparable. Time and again it is a horrifying and humiliating site—doing ‘kurnish’ (bending in respect) to any and all fair-skinned, even if metaphorically with actions that manifest it—fellow-countrymen and foreigners alike—even if that means compromising on our cause.
Let me be very clear—I am not against foreigners or fair-skinned people in general—but what is unpalatable is the abject submission to mono skin colour—white. We need to get out of this Monochromatic Vision.
After all we are inching slowly towards 100 years of Independence! (?). So the residual effect of slavery, which instead of being residual is the major, should dissipate completely, sooner than later. And this can happen if only we can be independent of our foolish prejudices instead of being in-dependence of them!

(iii) What has all this led to?
R---A---C---I---S---M.
Yes, racism. Because racism implies discrimination on the basis of skin colour, and in my own opinion, on the % melanin content.
Anybody who is not fair is treated very poorly, which is very unfair, to say the least, in various parts of the world—even today when we have advanced so much, scientifically. Every other day, new creations come up to help us in multitude of ways—be it in the field of technology or in the very important area of medicine.
I hope that one day “something” would be invented, which would cure the people suffering from this malady—otherwise I do not see it happening. People refuse to awaken to the cause. Thus the cure needs to be enforced, synthetically!

(iv) To me thus, apathy for Melanin is RACISM as it leads to profiling or regimentation on the basis of the melanin content in the skin. All variants of this discrimination (even prevalent in India, as mentioned)— have to be Racism.

(v) Racism is hence, a sort of Communalism. The only difference from the conventional communalism (based upon religion) is the fact that the specific community—comprising of all with skin colour, which is anything but white/fair—is tortured and not pampered. And any discrimination for and against, alike, a specific community is Communalism, at least to me.
Though people acting against a group are called communal and the ones who pamper a particular sect are called secular—when applied to actions with respect to religion. Such has been the distortion of the definition. Even pampering is discrimination, albeit in favour of and racism is discrimination, against.

(vi) We are all creations of God.
I know that atheists or agnostics wouldn’t agree with me, as by stating what I believe in, I have tried to defy them, as this is the thought that they deny and hence defy!

So whatever be your belief (s), I don’t want to impose mine. Would like to simply state that by being against melanin the people concerned are actually behaving against an unseen, overpowering force—be it scientific or non-scientific, physical or metaphysical.

(vii) There is “Theory of Everything”, to use the title of the book authored by Stephen.W.Hawking. I too believe in this Theory of, Theory of Everything. It is true that the reason behind a ‘happening’ doesn’t manifest itself immediately, but it does come to the fore at its designated appropriate time—chosen by the same invisible force—only if we could keep our mind’s eyes and be receptive to our surrounding(s) as a whole we would be able to recognize it.
And it is on the basis of this belief I would like to justify the creation of black colour.

One of the beauties of black colour is that a black body absorbs and radiates maximum amount of heat. It is this very property which saw to the conventional colour being chosen as black for umbrellas—used not only during the rains but equally during the summers, for protection from the scorching sun—in olden times. Nowadays various colours are being used but none can fight the strong rays of the sun, as does the black one—by radiating it back.

Metaphorically speaking, when the people with ‘non fair’ skin colour are called black, the impact can be analogized with the inanimate umbrella—in absorption as well as radiation. When people are addressed as ‘black’ and abused subsequently, these abuses steel them and increase their resilience. Since energy is always conserved, the abuses are absorbed and translated into a commensurate determination (useful heat as mentioned earlier, in one of the utilities of Melanin)—manifest in their action(s)—Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King—to name a couple of them who typify such individuals. And exemplified—glorified as well, and not without reason(s)—most recently by the election of Barack Obama as the President of The United States of America. The more you expose these individuals to unfair treatment(s), the more determined they become to radiate these abuses in the form of power they go on to acquire—deservedly—and exude.
So beware how you refer to the skin colour, black. If it is as a matter of fact then it perfectly all right. But if ‘black’ is pronounced with disdain, laced with sarcasm—then you know what to expect.

I know I have stated the obvious in my preceding, innumerable lines. But it has been for a cause. To sate my own self, couldn’t be oblivious of the obvious!

When we know—the utilities of Melanin, what happens in its absence and we also know the simple fact that it is the content of Melanin in the skin that decides the skin colour, not the person concerned, why this fuss over the darker hue of skin colour.

It is simply a colour, which cannot decide the identity of a person. Thus is it not advisable and logical and most importantly, desirable, that we shed this Monochromatic Vision?

If not, then ‘racists’ of all ‘race’ and ‘variety’ should be rendered ‘albinos’—if only to make them realise the simple fact and appreciate Melanin, irrespective of its content. This would render their vision at last Polychromatic.