Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ayodhya Court Verdict - A step in the right direction

[From my other blog]

I'm not an expert on legal matters, nor do I understand the existing facts and figures on Ayodhya. It is beyond my ability to comprehend complex language and history.

But I believe the judgement is a step in the right direction. The problem is not as much that of the ownership of the land, as much a conflict of perceptions. Whatever we have as documented evidence are perceptions of the Hindu, Muslim or the left. Our history, archeology and even evolution are in a way perceptions in their own ways. There is no such thing as truth for everyone sees the history the way he or she wants to.

Don't underestimate the power of these perceptions. It can be so powerful that we might end up with a totally divided society if these perceptions are left to themselves or allowed to strengthen. I'm saddened by the lack of wisdom on the part of neutral parties in understanding the importance of perception. It is a challenge for any administration to maintain normalcy when people hold on to their perceptions. In a way, banning of bulk SMS at the time of verdict was a right step.

There are two or more parties (I'll include the so-called neutral people who want to go by the documented information) who hold their own perceptions. It hasn't been easy for anyone to get these parties closer to resolve the issue as they carried their baggage of perceptions. The warring parties did not have a bigger heart, the political leadership lacked the integrity to find a solution.

The judges took it upon themselves to resolve the crisis. They may not have the authority, but they have shown wisdom to understand the situation and come up a solution that will pave the way for a total solution. They have acted a lot more mature than the armchair analysts and activists.

The division of the property may not be perfect or to the satisfaction of the BMAC, but the court allows for appeal. It is still possible that BMAC and the Hindu parties may get a more sensible and resolve it by the time the supreme court decides.

It is important that all parties unload the ghosts of the past - from the days of Rama to Babar to 1949, 87 or 92 in seeking a solution. With perceptions coming closer there is a possibility of an extraordinary exhibition of Muslim brotherhood or Hindu acceptance.

If there is an appeal and the supreme court goes purely by books and reject this verdict, that'll be very unfortunate. A decision based on "hard" facts may sound right legally, but can't be so for the country.

Corruption in recent times: A psycho-somatic explanation

[From my other blog]

Why do we see the powerful as the most corrupt? Here is an attempt to explain it in a neutral, pseudo-psychological way:

For the sake of ease of reading, I am using a masculine gender, no respect or disrespect intended. I start with three basic premises:

As a social animal, everyone holds onto an identity naturally. This identity can be that of caste, race, ethnicity, belief system or even ideology. This is what binds individuals to the rest. Some of these are fixed and some are not-so-fixed, allowing for new identities to be used for binding.
Man is programmed to protect this identity. Wars - ethnic, racial or ideological are effects of this urge to protect this identity.
The most insecure tend to become the most powerful. The reason is simple. With their paranoia, they are better suited to protect this identity. They get the ideas and energy to strengthen this identity because of their paranoia.
Now, let's see how this insecurity manifests in physiological and psychological spheres. In physiological space, insecurity reflects as lust - an urge to leave more copies of the individual before he gets destroyed. This explains why kings had wives and maintained harems. In psychological space, this reflects as greed for wealth, territory and power. This greed usually resulted in benefits for that society. (The neighboring kingdoms may be destroyed, enemies with different ethnicity or religion were butchered and so on.)

Things were clear black and white until democracy and pluralistic societies arrived. The ancient societies accepted warfare and amorous behavior of the rulers. It is like giving them the room to be their natural self.

With the advent of democracy, the insecurity itch of the ruling class remained, but there is no way to scratch it with laws against polygamy and no-war pacts. There is more set back to the identity - they can't be extreme right wingers to be rulers. They have to work out healthy co-existence with ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities living in their territories. So, identifying with one group will be counter productive when it comes to elections. (We also see non-democratic countries continue to start wars on the basis of religion, ethnicity or ideology.)

The lust and greed remain as they are the results of a more basic insecurity. The lust gets some avenues with changing social conditions that allowed for divorces, casual flirting etc. The greed remains. The greed that once served the society stops at the individual as the identities that he were once part of, have weakened. The individual tries to address the high insecurity with wealth accumulation. He strengthens his position by sharing this wealth with his nears and dears. The identity has shrunk from a big society to his family. If the avenues for the lust are shut (because of age, physical and social conditions), the greed fills in that space.

I've refrained from naming any powerful person - Indian or otherwise and would like the readers to correlate this article to their favorite ones.