World Beyond Illusion

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Is it Really Not the Right Time to Criticize?

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Internet may not be tangible but its effects definitely are. It educates, entertains and changes everyone gradually. While in this critical and intense period of nationwide lockdown giant media houses are playing “Antakshari”, internet is outdoing itself in establishing a hostile perspective into people’s mind through rumours, Pseudoscience, fake cures and hate speeches. It includes a new debate as to ” Whether we should really be criticizing governance in this time of crisis?” So let’s breakdown the arguments to find out why you should or shouldn’t.

Arguement #1 ‘Pandemic is a Very Sensitive Issue’

Some people find it very insensitive to comment on government’s actions right now as they are trying their best. It may be true but if the condition will grow worse than they already are due to late or wrong decisions then we are doomed. The objective of criticism here is to save lives. It should be treated as insights from experienced people to find out the loopholes and execution errors in government’s decisions. Otherwise it will only lead to failure of the government and no amount of money will help us from recovering the damage done to our country and the people we’ve lost. Therefore, just donations are not enough, people have to participate by following medical experts’ guildelines and helping anyone in need, no matter what color, cast or religion.

Arguement #2 ‘Keep Your Politics Aside At This Moment’

Asking questions is seen as opportunitism by the defenders but if a question is asked at the right time it is not opportunitism but the exact opposite. Why fear discussing politics in a politically dependent society? It is not wrong to point out the class based discrimination where we are safe in their homes and on the other side underprivileged people are being treated as filth. We experienced first Covid-19 case on 30th January but still it took too long for government to take necessary decisions. It is evident that not only government but people also did not take social Distancing as seriously as they should. Even now we can’t come to a solution unless we debate, discuss and let people criticize what’s wrong with our methods.

Arguement #3 ‘Your Hypocrisy Exposed, You Can’t Stand India Being Able to Find Its Own Cure to This Disease’

In this day and age where an overwhelming amount of information is served to us on the internet it is very easy to fall prey to red-herrings. Those who try to debunk those false rumours are being told to shut up as they are suggesting rational & scientific approach which is completely offesive to a primitive mindset. Is it not absurd that some Godmen have found multiple cures without having to comprehend what it is for, exactly?


It shouldn’t be hard to admit that we don’t know everything and will need time to come up with something tangible. We just need do things the way they should be done. Every Indian researcher is working hard to find a cure, like Minal Bhonsle who developed Covid-19 test kit. We need to have trust in their efforts.

Conclusion

We have to agree that asking hard questions in hard times is not inhumane. We have to agree that it is not a contest, a question of national or religious superiority over others. There are thousands of lives at stake. What we can do to contribute is to help each other, educate each other and have patience. Do that and we’ll be able to go through with this. Maybe then we will be grateful of these questions and remember them as the positive note we were looking for.

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Killing Democracies In The Name of Corona?

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In this time of global crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic, health is the top priority of every country. It calls for some extreme measures and they are doing their best with the available resources to tackle the trouble, but some have started to take advantage of the situation. They are robbing citizens of their democratic rights like right to Privacy. The ” Health Emergency” has become an excuse to execute cruel policies. This begs the question, “Are we exaggerting or is there really something, happening behind the curtains, that we need to worry about?”

Sensitive Data Collection

As of now when we do not have the cure for the virus the best way is to prevent it by eliminating any chance of further exposure to healthy people. Location tracing is the most accepted solution for this in which authorities track your location to determine whether you came in contact even remotely with an infected individual. Aarogya Setu is the government’s official app inspired from similar actions taken by South Korea.
Right now this seems like the appropriate way to deal with Covid-19 but there’s a good chance that government might misuse the collected information after we’ve outgrown our current situation.

Suppression of Constructive Criticism

Lockdown is the best solution we can opt for now but we too need to agree we are not well-equipped to take such measures. The panicked, chaotic and hunger-struck crowd of Daily Wage Labourers on the road is the proof of it. Both our economic condition and health infrastructure is terribly weak to fight even common diseases let alone a pandemic. In order to get through these difficult times we need to accept faults of the past and openly work towards correcting them, instead Doctors/Health workers who raise concern over lack of resources and PPE kits are being silenced through accusation & harassment. This tendency of putting freedom of speech into some special bracket away from common people will only make things worse. Those in power need to understand that this is not a fight for superiority or pride, but for life of each and every citizen including their own.

Curious Case of Hungary

Throughout history there have been instances when government took most of the power in their hands in times of emergencies, but can you imagine losing all power to one whole entity. A democracy turning into tyranny as an excuse. That’s what happened in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has passed a law, overpowering all opposition, that grants him absolute power in the country during the Covid-19 crisis. It is a classic example of a democracy that is anything but.

Conclusion

Each and every one of us citizen wants this to be over as soon as possible. We are facing difficulties of our own and the last thing we need is to be suppressed & abused by the governance. We shouldn’t be forced to make a choice between health and freedom. Dissent is not anti-national and questions are the only thing that will help us getting out of this pandemic.

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Exploring The Kafkaesque (Metamorphosis Review)

Illustration from: The Shrewd Aliens

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is considered the greatest short story of all time and a masterpiece of 20th century. It tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, who one day wakes up to his surprise being transformed into a “horrible insect”. Is it just a plain short story or is there much more to it that really makes it a masterpiece? Let’s find out.

Alienation

One major theme in Metamorphosis is the structure of modern society after industrialization and how it automatically alienates every human inside it. It becomes pretty clear when Gregor is not worried about his transformation but is sad about how he never gets to form freindships with his travel companions. This alienation is due to nature of his work, its effects slowly creeps in his home. This alienation is so subtle and severe that even after some attempts to reach out, Gregor never gets to leave his room, or rather his invisible prison that went everywhere with him and finally solidified.

The Room

Room is another metaphor signifying Gregor’s loneliness even in the comfort of being in his home. All of the objects in his room do not mean anything in the story and have any emotional value for Gregor. The only thing Gregor ever shows care for was a woman’s photograph cutout from a magazine, who is of course not a person he knows or ever met.

The Lock

Out of all the symbols and metaphors present in Metamorphosis, the lock in Gregor’s room is the strongest yet most overlooked detail. In the wake of his transformation all he needed was someone, anyone who could help him yet when Gregor’s boss reach his home demanding explanation for his absence from work, Gregor feels relieved that he had a habit of locking his door before going to sleep even in his home. It is evident of his painfully long isolation that even in his most distressful moment he finds comfort in loneliness and signifies invisible & gradual degradation of human psyche within modern society.

The Perspective

What makes Metamorphosis extremely gripping and effective is the perspective it is served us from. Kafka has done that many writers failed to do. He puts us into the shoes or rather the mind of Gregor Samsa. All that we read, see and experience is from the eyes of Gregor Samsa. We never for once leave his perspective. Gregor’s thoughts feel like our own and it intensifies the complex absurdity Kafka’s work is known for.

Even with such a strong connection with Samsa we feel distant, just like his family. We never completely understand Gregor’s feelings and in turn we too are isolated from everthing occuring in front of our eyes. What better way could there be to experience Gregor’s tragic story.

The Transformation

Franz Kafka’s Magnum Opus straight away throws Gregor’s transformation at you without an explanation and force you to continue from there without even looking for it. That’s why it is easy to mistake that the transformation ended right there in the first few lines of Metamorphosis, but if we take heed we might realize that the book’s title is not meant for Gregor Samsa at all but for his family and the world outside. Gregor’s transformation may be a figurative method of pointing out the transformation in his life due to others’ transformation. We see that Gregor’s personality barely changes except for the fact that he lost his job, but his father, mother & loving sister changed drastically through the course of the story. His father changed from being a dominating figure to one who heartlessly attacks his own son. His mother cannot even bear the sight of him now that he has transformed or stopped earning. His sister is now tired of taking care of her brother who took care of everyone for a very long time. She can’t even understand the love Gregor has for her.

The Ending

Near the end of the story Gregor dies alone and starving and we may expect for the story to end there but it continues on for little longer and ends abruptly. At that moment we are left stranded, looking for some meaning. A closure that will help us cope with Gregor’s tragic death but we never find it. This is what makes Metamorphosis even real than we can ever imagine. It shows that reality has no start no ending and therefore no exact meaning. It is complex, absurd and mostly tragic just like Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

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Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan (Review)

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At first glance “Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan” may look like a movie with the sole purpose of introducing homosexuality to the Indian/Bollywood audience, but it turns out to be so much more than that. With a meticulously chosen starcast, the film breaks multiple barriers at once.

“Zyada savdhan” carefully escapes the urge to establish homosexuality as something that originates from somewhere. Instead it just places the gay couple (played by Ayushman Khurana & Jeetendra Kumar) in front of you and quickly gets to the point.

Even with the quirkiness of the characters combined with the abundance of silly but fun jokes, the characters, their fight, their troubles seem very real and tethered to real world. Within the sillines this film keeps hold of its underlying goal of breaking the prison of mentality and trying to understand an idea that is considered a taboo by the society.

This is done masterfully by the use of metaphors like ‘Kali Gobhi’. At the start of the film, Kali Gobhi is considered by Shankar Tripathi (played by Gajendra Rao) as something that can’t be infested while a protest was happening in front of his door, signifying society’s ignorance for what they don’t want to accept. Later in a sequence, Kartik reveals the true nature of this denial as worms in Kali Gobhi.

The best part of the film is that Aman’s parents do not simply accept Aman & Kartik’s relationship influenced by a cliché monologue. Instead the acceptance comes from looking back at their own personal troubles and finding the similarity that Aman & Kartik are fighting for the same freedom and understanding as they do. Finally, Shankar Tripathi burns all Kali Gobhis as his misconception disappears.

Film captures the essence of a middle class family, their struggle and worries and addresses that communication is the key and if we start a conversation about everything that makes us uncomfortable, it will help us form a better understanding about it. And when we understand “Love is Love” we all will burn the “Kali Gobhi”.

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