Thursday, March 15, 2012

Haunting lines from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

Jalsa , Mumbai             Mar 14 , 2012           Wed  11 : 45 PM


" Beware the ides of March"

" The ides of March have come "

" Aye Caesar, but not gone " !!


Haunting lines from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare .. remembered every time the 15th day of March approaches ..

The impact of great writing remains with us, the weak and the decrepit dissolve, never to be remembered. Why does it happen, one has not been able to find a scientific solution, but they do. The impact of its existence was perhaps because the modes of communication were never as acute as they be today. Perhaps the oft repeated, loses value and presence and if I may say, patience. Are we then in our need and desire for rapid information and far greater speed of rendering it, destroying value …

But surely value would be recognized if valued it was. Is the need to be able to depend so largely on Google as our encyclopedic mind robbing us of something larger. Do we have the time and intent to give space to what we feel transpires in our lives. Is the present need important enough for us to ignore what should be given greater value. I cannot say. I am not this generation. And if I did show concern would it be a laughing matter. I cannot say this either. People and purists ask often if we are fast losing our values and ages old culture. I honestly cannot say. What may seem debasing to me, could be the highest point in another's life. And it is quite probable that I shall find myself in minority here. Debased minority is an area of confusion in today's times – it may never have voice. Or not enough voice to withstand the majority that enjoys what we may think to be debasing. Majority succeeds in all modes of life. Once painted with success, it would be nigh impossible to taint it – if we were to take an extreme step. But we dare not ! Its consequences would be far too severe to bear. So, one languishes in minority and dissatisfaction ..


We spoke of religion the other day on this platform, and a dear friend made some very pertinent remarks. I have sought permission to put it up here, and while it takes time for that to come I cannot but resist the temptation of posting the thoughts here tonight. I hope and pray that they shall not mind its presence, even though it was meant for me in a personal capacity .


"Equally, there is much of value, as you say, in religious texts. But not wholly so. Most religions and their texts have perpetuated the injustices of their birth: the prejudices, vagaries of diet – the general peculiarities of their writers – and chaotic historical incident of their times. The iniquity and cruelty of caste, misogyny, slavery, violence, domination – all these things are there too in these texts."

"The point is that everything is in the texts. Both good and bad. We have absolutely no choice but to read them embodied in our own selves, with compassion, generosity, critical judgement and condemnation. That is wisdom, the realisation that wisdom cannot ultimately be lent, borrowed, given, taken from others. The wisdom of others is the greatest blessing we have in the world, that it can act as partial guide to our own singular pursuit. But ultimately it is singular: we must strive for it alone, we can only search for it alone, and then we cannot hope that it will be there ever to be found. It is simply the striving and searching, without hope of its gain, that is our life's pursuit, and one of solitude. Your father's striving for wisdom will bring great guidance, but his striving for wisdom and yours must be, by the very nature of our singularity as human beings, forever separate and different."

"How we eke out our lives in solitude and uncertainty, stumbling with reading between the lines, for all things, all names, are shorthand for what we cannot know. Your father's words are shorthand for the unknowable world inside of him. As are dreams, whereupon one might then see that all our shorthands are in the end only read well by ourselves, not by others – and even for ourselves, who knows what they mean? Consulting Freud in order to interpret our own dreams may be interesting for historical and cultural reasons, but it is nothing beyond someone else's suppositions over yours, Amitabh. One makes one's own meanings: when you consider your dreams, only then do they mean."


Simply wonderful and written with such depth and truth .. I loved the 'singularity pursuit', for in the end of it all we are but singular. I also liked the concept of the 'shorthand' .. it was such a novel way of portraying that which we may never ever know or feel or observe. There is a meeting point in the singular and the shorthand .. but put out with novelty of expression ..

I leave you to dwell on all this, with love ..

Good night …

Amitabh Bachchan

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