Cynicism, the line behind which the elite escape their guilt

Being a judge in India’s Got Talent was a real emotional experience for me not only because I discovered my roots that I had left behind, but the sheer odds that many of the participants overcame with just passion was incredibly moving.
What caught me by surprise often though was the often derogatory reportage and comments by some of the elitist mainstream press, that saw such display of emotion or passion as a source of amusement or cynicism. Many assumed that it must have been scripted. It was not.
I realize that cynicism is the wall that the elite often protect themselves with against the onslaught of guilt they might feel at the completely dis balanced socio economic conditions that exist in India.
How often, for example, does one hear cynical and dismissive remarks about the ability of the working classes, or their own domestic servant class to rise above their own conditions and take responsible and honest charge of their own lives. Remeber how cynical the English language press was of Mayawati before she took UP by storm. Uh oh !
Proffessor Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank proved the opposite – lending only to the poorest of poor, he showed that Grameen Bank has the lowest ‘Bad Debt’ ratio in the history in banking. Corporate and rich borrowers were 50 times more likely to default or cheat on Bank repayments than the poorest section of the population.
The Cynicism must go. For it ignores the reality of groundswell movements that are taking place in rural and poorer parts in India. The Cynical elite has often been caught off guard in revolutions across the world. I am not advocating or predicting a revolution in India. But we are ignoring the existence of movements that are fundamentally changing the nature of the ground beneath our feet.
Time to drop Cynicism and look hard at the desires and aspirations of our people. And celebrate them.

50 Responses to “Cynicism, the line behind which the elite escape their guilt”

  1. KS says:

    Its about time some one takes pot-shot at these elite sector of indian media. They have been up to this for long.The elites have always been blind slave to the western traditions. There is no harm in adopting good from anyone but ignoring the reality of our own country and being pompous can only cause confusion and chaos in young minds of the country.

  2. Dinesh says:

    Thanks Shekhar for writing such a moving and thought provoking piece. Your intensity and honesty is so earthy and real that your tears stimulated a drops or two in my otherwise eternally dry eyes too.
    Me and my whole family loved your ‘complete’ participation in the show. Forgive my bias but to be honest -if you were not there on the ‘chair’, I may have taken IHGT as another run the mill money making reality show. Your being there was very assuring that we are going to see something substantial and worth content.
    regards
    Dinesh (and family)

  3. neeti says:

    This reminds me of the exit polls/predictions by ‘reputed’ channels and intellectual discussions that used to occur then on some talk shows, during the ‘India Shining’ times. The actual poll results, left many people’s reputation in tatters, as I recall.
    While living in glass towers may have its own advantage its always nice to have a feel of the ground, for one’s own sake.

  4. Manav says:

    I agree.. you are absolutely right !! no more reasons or explanations required. You wrote with absolute thought process. I concur.
    Manav

  5. Rahul says:

    I know your tears were real simply because u are not a good actor. But what about the people who were managing IGMT. Can’t they try something like negative publicity. Look around yourself for examples Akshay kumar levies jeans, Raja choudary, Mika and rakhi etc. negative publicity brings more commercial results.
    Thanks
    Rahul

  6. Vineet says:

    Well said Mr. Kapoor.

  7. Shekhar,
    I agree with you..unfortunately we Indians snub at our own qualities and look upto those imbibed upon us..when the italians can say Ciao,the french can use their language and the Chinese can say Ni hao,why cant we say Namaste to everyone when we are abroad,why cant we respect our own language and culture abroad or in India…just an example..not only the press…
    I think we are all becoming negative to our very own qualities and constantly comparing ourselves with the west…These kids who came on the show you judged,i must confess since i am not a fan of our television these days..i havent much seen it,but snippets and i have absolutely praises,prayed for and been impressed by the talent we have..these kids and adults are wonderful,rising against all odds.Congratulations to them.
    Coming back to the point you raised,if you look at our textiles for instance-its one of the richest in the world,and so are our costumes/dresses…why cant we be encouraging them in our movies,in our visits abroad..its rather silly to go to an Indian wedding wearing western clothes..being an Indian.
    We lack confidence in ourselves and thats where cynicism creeps in…i think Bharat and our people(the real people-the ones who reached your show)we are ebautiful,inspite of the pollution,population,corruption etc that we have.
    The elite,well do they really know what being elite is ?
    High thinking even if you are born in the slums,is elite…high thinking-compassion,love,peace,acceptance of who you are…thats elite.
    These talented people were like the lotus born in uncared for waters.
    Have a nice day…..our press by the way,is a character in itself
    🙂
    Cheers

  8. austere says:

    I guess I get what you mean.
    There was this interview with a carnatic music expert in the Ind Exp y’day, and she expressed it so beautifully. “An openness to life…” she called it.

  9. Subodh Deshpande says:

    just continue to be what you are..the people are always going to say good and the bad..
    thanks and take care..subodh

  10. Geetika says:

    Hi Dear Shekhar…..
    Consciously choosing to call you Shekhar though I am much too young to take this liberty…
    I feel somewhere I agree with whatever you write or express. I was 12 yrs old when I saw you in Udaan and experienced a strange pull towards the character. Though I never realized it and in later years and almost forgot the bit.
    Then I found myself watching Mr India for over 40 time (no hyperbole)only to discover years later your connection with the film.
    I read one of your articles some time ago that explained your emotional-being inspired by the realization of the Female side of yours… and I kinda was again spell bound.
    Then came this reality show, India’s got talent…
    Well all am trying to say here is that I feel oneness with your thoughts and I do not want to fall into a crazy fan’s category now so I will stop and will write again….
    Not sure if you will get time to read this, but if you do…I will be more than happy to see your reply…
    Will write into you soon…. Love (in all its pure form :o)….. From Geetika

  11. Aline says:

    Hello Shekhar,
    Cynicism derives from ignorance, fear and lack of honesty about oneself. People use it in defence of their internal shortcomings.
    Your opinion on it reminded me of one of Jack London’s short stories, “The Dream of Debs”, which I really like. Nice reply to cynicism.
    Cheers.

  12. ruchi says:

    I fully agree with you Shekhar. I also become very emotional about every thing indian and my roots as I live 1000’s of miles away from my mother land.
    My experience of working in rural areas in India is also very positive like trust between women when it comes to small saving groups or giving loans to each other. default rate was very very low and requests were need based like buying seeds or to buy life stock etc.
    we dont see that about elite classes its all want based and default rate is hight.
    Shekhar just wanted to tell you that after watching you on that show I saw a very different person and I like this person very much, much more human side of a celebraty:)

  13. Deepak R says:

    A cynic sits in all. It takes one to recognise another. Cut the oxygen to the cynic in you, you will stop noticing it in others.When you stop noticing and giving it power, you deprive the other cynics their chance as well. Your resentment and attention to it is the fuel to their practice. Cynicism also has its role to play. In some it peaks and reveals the futility of attending to mind endlessly.
    There were some really close to spirit, innocent expressions in the ultimate winners of the competition. The humility that came from them was not a product of mere conditioning. It was as you have said many time Shekhar, coming from a place of pure passion. It touched many.

  14. Hasan says:

    We should look deep into Grameen Bank’s claim of 98% loan repaymeny before concludng anything. What really happens is when someone is unable to repay the micro-credit loan after paying some installments (which happens so often), he/she takes another loan and repay the former loan. The former loan is then considered 100% recovered. This continues…..and that’s why their ratio is so high. Actually the poor person never comes out of the loan. It’s really difficult to pay off the loan when interest rate is so high (above 30%). If you can’t make profit above 30% (very unlikely) with the loan, how can you pay off the debt? I know there are examples of success story, but they are few. Someone will say it has enpowered our rural women. It obviously did but to very few. If recovery were so high, there wouldn’t have no poverty in Bangladesh.

  15. kavitha says:

    Well said, Deepak. “It takes one to recognize another. Cut the oxygen…” – I loved it :-), although there’s a difference between not recognizing vs. recognizing and then detaching from cynicism directed at you, isn’t it? But a curious question…
    If a genuine, innocent human expression of being “touched”, as you rightly expressed, is interpreted and splashed by respected national media, say, as a ‘cry baby cry’, ‘bawling for the cameras for the sake of publicity’ etc…do I presume it would not evoke even a tender ripple of response (emotional or intellectual) in you – not for yourself, but about the insanity and insensitivity in their interpretation ? If it does, does that make not just the interpreter but you also a cynic? If it does not, you are above being human 🙂
    These are times when not only is ‘Truth in Journalism’ questionable, ‘Virtues in Journalism’ seem to be on a downhill roll as well…

  16. neeti says:

    microfinance is a tool for financial inclusiveness, to provide institutional credit to those who otherwise have no access to it. Profitability and other measures are incidental.
    As long as there is mechanism to deliver credit into the hands of the needy and as long as “few success stories” continue to be created, it is a successful model for all concerned.
    The quantum of credit to individual borrower and the group dynamics play a role in controlling the propensity to cheat here(they still exist dont they to take another loan? dont disappear with the loan or declare insolvency as very often happens in other settings, do they?). Just goes on to re-emphasize the point that cheating increases as the wealth of the borrower increases (or more correctly may be, as the loan amount disbursed increases!).:-)

  17. Deepak R says:

    kavitha, you cannot escape the recognition. You can defuse the power the recognition has over you.Being identified with the wave and swaying with it or being the ocean in whom it appears is the choice you can make. Ultimately it is all water. Recognising ‘you’ are not the wave and ultimately beyond even the water, is as human as having your next meal for survival. (can anything coming from our forms be considered non-human at all :-).
    As for ‘truth in journalism’ and the perceived decay, again if your attention is invested in observing it and giving it power, that idea too will live on like all others. each of us carries our own very unique versions of the world in us. No two alike. Its as if life enjoys its reflection in each of us in its multitude and bounty. Where you are anchored in the stream will show what you see. To a beggar on the street, there is no concept of journalism at all. Is his world more imperfect than yours or mine?

  18. Alok Sharma says:

    What I actually feel about the media is that all it wants to do-to a very very great extent..is rip off your clothes..and present you to the ‘elite’ few…and anyone and everyone whatsoever!! If they cant find your life controversial, they will make every effort to do so..or make you speak something controversial about someone!! For god’s sake..there’s poverty, there’s unemployment..children dying every day..some dying before they are born..instead of utilising their efforts and energy and resources in those mundane and ‘hot’ things..media, and ‘WE’ should actually make a way in showing the truth..and we should learn how to see truth! Even we are used to such spices!! Argh!!!
    Sir, I truly loved seeing you as a judge on the show! I didn’t find a single episode where I could say you were exaggerating..or speaking scripted things!! There were moments, performances which brought tears to my eyes..and when you cry,it’s very difficult to speak… Hats off to you!!! Would love seeing more of you on tv…and more of your movies….the comments of the media have no effect on us…atleast on me!!..love your work..love you!! Thanks

  19. Alok Sharma says:

    What I actually feel about the media is that all it wants to do-to a very very great extent..is rip off your clothes..and present you to the ‘elite’ few…and anyone and everyone whatsoever!! If they cant find your life controversial, they will make every effort to do so..or make you speak something controversial about someone!! For god’s sake..there’s poverty, there’s unemployment..children dying every day..some dying before they are born..instead of utilising their efforts and energy and resources in those mundane and ‘hot’ things..media, and ‘WE’ should actually make a way in showing the truth..and we should learn how to see truth! Even we are used to such spices!! Argh!!!
    Sir, I truly loved seeing you as a judge on the show! I didn’t find a single episode where I could say you were exaggerating..or speaking scripted things!! There were moments, performances which brought tears to my eyes..and when you cry,it’s very difficult to speak… Hats off to you sir!! Whatever media says..it’s not gonna affect us!! Atleast it’s gonna affect me… Love your work…love you…thanks a lot…hope to see more of you and your work asap!!..

  20. Alok Sharma says:

    And sir, there’s a poem i’d love sharing…
    so many priests, so many pope..
    sitting inside,asking us to hope!!
    people still cry..
    people still die..
    tell me why!!
    my oh my..!!
    who to blame??
    it’s all just a game..!!
    people in power play..
    all night and day!!
    what to do, what not to do..
    nobody has the slightest clue..
    puppets we still are in the hands of the dumb..
    deprived of all,we’ve become numb!!!
    tears flow from heart broken eyes..
    the world’s been built on the pillars of lies!!
    some die with riches, some die without..
    others die leaving hundreds to scream and shout!!
    some eat the cake and have it too..
    others starve to death, how so true!!
    some cry all day and cry all night..
    while some kill at left, and pray at right!!
    whether a god exists, no one knows..
    we travel on a path..no one knows where it goes!!!

  21. kavitha says:

    Lovely reading your response, Deepak.
    It’s a known fact that tabloids and B-grade (or lower) journalists/reporters give themselves and their journalistic output to sensationalism to serve a less discriminating (but coffer-filling) readership. Many of us may not consider ourselves to be part of this group, and may be in blessed positions to detach ourselves from our recognition of their cynicism, or to diffuse the power that recognition could have on us…but I presume there’s a larger group (that includes tender minds) that could potentially be swayed in the wrong direction. One could have a whole discussion around what constitutes right and wrong…I’m not going there!:-) But, derogatory, cynical, unscrupulous seem to be the keywords fast replacing sensitive, sensible, balanced reporting.
    Yes, each one is entitled to his own unique point of view – that’s what makes life and interactions interesting 🙂 Surely, unique points of view can be effectively expressed without resorting to cynicism. And yes, the beggar on the street, and the poor in the pits neither have a concept nor are concerned about journalism. I’m not sure if I am anchored at the right point in the stream (and I’m not micro-analyzing my tendencies to determine that either)…what I do know, though, is that it affects me to varying degrees when I see people in positions of some form of influence/power (be it journalists or others) descend on such souls, or on the vulnerability of any situation for that matter…like vultures, for their own self-fulfilling gratification. My concern about the press and the media is only in as much as their potential to be tools for mobilizing and influencing public opinion for positive change/impact, not about feeding their cynicism – neither am I a writer by profession, nor am I aspiring to uphold the pillars and hallways of journalistic standards of excellence. Hey, but we are entitled to our unique points of view and opinions about something that has the power to move and shake large sections of society – I still wonder if that makes you and me a cynic?
    In that spirit, and less to do with giving ‘perceived decay of journalism more power’, questions remain (more within myself than to anybody in particular)…
    Are the elitist reporters and writers and those respected for high reporting standards they upheld thus far, now succumbing to below-the-belt temptations of sensationalism as well? Possibly driven by competition from citizen journalists eating into their once loyal readership (and bottom line)?
    Are the reporters (and media institutions they represent) fast morphing to be journalistic prostitutes, not just selling their body of work of the written or spoken word, but trading their very own soul, by compromising journalistic ethics and virtues? All in the race to attract more clients (readership, and therefore advertising $), to keep themselves alive and afloat?
    Whether such questioning implies swaying with the wave, or being the ocean, I don’t know…my in-the-moment speculation is it is perhaps a sub-conscious (and perhaps utopian?) desire to see the destructive wave subside and merge into the calm expanse of the ocean, lest they impose their tsunamic effect on the little drops (read: tender, vulnerable minds) that deserve to ebb and flow and determine the direction of their own movements to harmonize with the greater expanse and purity of the ocean and beyond 🙂
    The world is meant to be a beautiful place for the beggar, the cynics, you and I and all who inhabit it…

  22. kedar says:

    Well said dude…
    and the change is affecting Art too…art is evolving around us…better than earlier…more free flowing yet more organized…
    and Cinema too…film too is changing…changing for good…very slow but for sure…!!!
    Slow or fast? i dont know…may be i am slow…but who cares…lol…change is good and i can feel it around me… so cheers…cynicism wont hurt or hamper the change…it will hurt only those who are cynical…so cheers again…
    PS: why am i cheering so much..is it beer calling me?…amm…no…the birdie outside my window…yeah may be..nature is calling me…change is calling me…

  23. Mee says:

    Lovely post Shekhar! Yday while watching news on TV I realized omg look at how sensitive and creative the people of Bombay are. The Ganpatis they have brought into their homes or in pandals had social themes like, no katchra/wastage nomore, save water, conserve power/electricuty etc…I mean could the larger communities/elite cynical world of India borrow some lessons from here? These are grassroots movements that cannot be quietened nymore. More power to them.

  24. Sidhusaaheb says:

    How can one not be cynical of some one who has spent hundreds of crores of public money to construct her own statues?
    How can one not be cynical of some one whose personal wealth has grown from naught to several crores only on the basis of ‘gifts’ received by her (as per the statement she has recorded with the Income Tax department)?
    How can one not be cynical of some one whose birthday celbrations are allegedly funded by money extorted from public servants under the threat of physical violence?

  25. Subodh Deshpande says:

    some of the blog readers are very much angry and upset it seems..and this happens..and i think becoming angry and talking openly is good sign..
    i think angry people are more honest.
    am coming to jounalism, basically journalists are not supposed to ‘create news’ rather to ‘report the news’..they are not supposed to add their own words,shades to the news.
    eg. they should not say that the moral police has attcked ..rather should say there was an fierced agitation, or a violant agitation against something..
    journalists and jounalism is mirror of that society..
    these days journalists are adding their emotions and some times dark colours to the news..
    ofcourse they are doing this with the intention that somebody responsible will look at..if so is the case then they should join social working network or any group, political party etc..they should not remain journalists
    and i am not blaiming them..they are also humans like us..they are not robots..
    journalism is science and an art.
    the political system which understands the importance and maintain proper environment only can give opportunity keep liveliness of domocracy, democractic growth..other wise non violance, equality, scularism, turthfulness etc will reamin the words just in the dictionary..
    i like your post..
    thanks and take care..subodh

  26. Deepak R says:

    kavitha, true as long as one does not question all the assumptions on which those ideas are so deeply believed into. A little investigation will show every belief and notion which formulates our view of the world stands on very flimsy stilts of fear and desire. Every idea (including what you call a fact), starts with a thought. Those thoughts that get believed into with the power of attention go onto form the pillars of what we think as ‘real’. The example of the beggar was not as much to say each has his/her right to their own view. It was more to illustrate, the body next to you sees reality so differently. Doesn’t that make you sit back and question what is real at all then. If you look back you will find enough examples of beliefs and views that have lost their power over you through life. If we can step back a little and look at this container of evolving belief systems we surround ourselves with- recognise its transient and impermanent nature, you will how what we experience as pain also is not out there in the world. It is in here because we are seeing it. My intention was to draw attention not so much to the contents of the container (within it we could wonder about what is cynicism, is it valid, are we too cynical and pretty much every other idea). But to direct it to seeing its fragile nature. and when recognised seeing how immediately the edifice of our assumed world crumbles. i invite you not to agree to this. But to test it yourself.

  27. kavitha says:

    RSVP to invitation : accepted with pleasure 🙂
    Lovely reading again, Deepak.
    “Doesn’t that make you sit back and question what is real at all then….”
    Each of us experiencing and enclosed in our own bubbles of reality, each floating, sometimes gently touching, other times fiercely colliding, until they all pop to reveal the other perceivedly more expansive, seamless reality…until the veil is lifted and that bubble pops as well….revelations, only revelations!

  28. kavitha says:

    mass media…new media…editorial content, church and the state — where’s it going?
    http://www.twistimage.com/blog/archives/the-saddening-state-of-mass-media/ — interesting …from the author of ‘Six Pixels of Separation’
    from his bubble of reality to ours…enjoy!

  29. i didn’t know well english, but i read your article which translate in hindi… if possiable please write you in hindi…

  30. Deepak R says:

    kavitha, :-), check if these words find an anchor in you.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzBS_FgLaP0&feature=sub

  31. Gaurav Singh says:

    Jo bhi sachaiyan humare samaj mien maujood hain hum unhe kabhi poori tareh se accept nahien karte, kuch dhardayen, paramparayen chand vichar jo ki bas chale a rahe hain unmien hi jeene lagna kuch aur sochna ya samajhna hi nahien uske sakaratmak peheloo ko dekhna hi nahien, main nahien keheta ki ye soch galat hai par shayad kuch kami hai, kuch dhund si chai hui hai aur ho sakta hai ki is dhund ke us par koi ujaala ho .Bharat pragati kar raha hai, technology mien, Delhi mien matro ban gai hai, achi sadken, sukh-suvidhayen par vyaktigat star pe insaan ki soch mien mujhe koi badlaav nahien dikh raha, mujhe nahien lag raha ki koi aur naya itihaas bhi likh sake ga Gandhi jee ya Bhagat Singh ki tareh jinhone vyaktigat star par bhi bohot sudhar kiya jo ki bohot jaroori hai, aj paribhashayen bohot badal gayen hain, main koi udaharan nahien dena chahta, maine jo dekha hai vo bohot bura hai aur mai bas itna kehena chahta hun ki koi sudhaar nahien hai .
    Shekhar jee Apse abhi kai cheezen anchui reh gai hain .

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  34. Gyomyo Nakamura says:

    I am a Japanese Buddhist Monk founder of Ladakh Shanti Stupa. How are you ? and Where are you now ? I am in Ladakh and Delhi.
    Looking forward to seeing you soon

  35. kavitha says:

    Deepak, a few thoughts…
    the fun and joy is in the sailing…intimately experiencing the moments of revelation through the journey. beyond words, beyond anchoring, beyond attachment, simply being and experiencing the flow. How can one even attempt to describe or understand though words the experience of inner beauty and fragrance emanating from the unfolding of each petal?
    Beyond this bubble talk, and back to ground walk, when I see a child in Africa, in its skeletal bare, concepts like difference between my reality vs. the reality as perceived by a body next to me quickly evaporates. What anchors at that point is that the poverty and suffering is real.
    Can a tsunami washing away shores be a different reality for different people ?
    Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngB-s1JymuQ – can this reality really come across different for each of us? Is our view of this standing on ‘very flimsy stilts of our fear and desire’ ? Words and teachings anchor only in as much as it forces and enables to lift our veils, break out of our bubbles and experience the existential reality. And, cynicism directed at realities such as these cannot be real for one and unreal for another, unless those [cynics] that fail to experience the existential reality, are still floating behind the veil of their self-constructed bubble.
    Sincerely, no offense meant to anyone, but I seldom find an anchor through words, jargon, preachings (more than through the experience of things)…at best they serve as an academic stimulant. Perhaps I’m an anomaly, and perhaps it is my loss, but, if there is such a thing as anchoring, that’s where I am in the sailing. All part of one’s evolutionary path, oscillating between the inevitable roles of being outside the container and inside…:-)

  36. it is the elite’s mode of knowing and representing ‘the working classes, or their own domestic servant class’, that generates this cynicism. They have to break free of this discursive formation within which they are happy to be trapped. in order to achieve this, they have to descend from their ivory towers and educate their minds with something other than the knowledge produced by ‘the elitist mainstream press’.

  37. Horst Vollmann says:

    Hello Shekhar:
    I read in the New York Times that conservative parents are up in arms over a speech Barack Obama is planning to give to their children. It is not the ever increasing spread of violence on TV, the insidious and seductive influence of the internet, the bigoted sermons of the TV-evangelists, the hate mongering of the right-wing ideologues on the airwaves, no, it is a speech they fear most, a speech to be given by the President of the United States, that might pollute the guileless and unpolluted minds of their precious children with his socialist body of thoughts.
    There is a temptation to shout to these parents “At long last, have you no sense of decency, have you no shame left”, the same sentence that was hurled at Joe McCarthy, the infamous communist hunter in the early fifties, by the courageous counsel of the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch. Ultimately, that sentence had rung in the final phase of one of the most ignominious chapters in U.S. history. Some fifty odd years have passed since that time. During the spread of those years the U.S. had sent the first man to the moon, had passed the Civil Rights Act, had presided over the peace talks between the Arabs and Israel, had sent more recipients of Nobel prizes to Stockholm than any other country, had remained the beacon of freedom throughout the world and had managed to maintain their leadership in most of the important endeavors that have shaped the world as we know it today.
    How then is it possible that the evolution of this country has totally by-passed the very people who are now tossing vituperative language at a man who is putting his political future, his integrity and his belief system on the line to bring greater social justice to the country he loves at least as much as those who are now maligning him. Unfortunately, people have not learned a lot from the McCarthy era. Communism fear mongering is still a favorite subject of the dispensers of bigotry. The suspicion and trepidation their vile vernacular of hatred has instilled in the common man has made anything related to the terminology of socialism a cause for alarm.
    I find it often difficult to accept such obvious ignorance from the at times precarious perch of my idealistic world views. There is always the danger of being self-righteous or less than magnanimous with dissenting views, particularly the ones that are steeped in a lack of understanding and educational deficits. How can one reach out to those parents who are obviously concerned with the welfare of their children? How can one cope with the prejudice and narrow-mindedness that their indoctrination through self-righteous preachers of bigotry has created?
    The debate over health care and its ultimate implementation may very well become the watershed in the thought processes of those people who feel an indefinable threat of their freedom when a legislature is introduced that might bring it in the proximity of what they perceive to be the gateway to socialism. To shout angrily back at them will not contribute to a measured and intelligent dialogue, it will only harden positions and play into the hands of those who so craftily are at work of opinion making. To enter their world of the pejorative will only help strengthen their arguments.
    When Barack Obama became President the world was rejoicing as it had never done before with any of his predecessors. A breath of fresh air was felt, the words of the dawning of a new era were on everybody’s lips. The dark forces of the retrograde and the regressive had been pushed back by the bright sheen of enlightenment. In less than 8 months the dark forces have returned with a vengeance, old and entrenched prejudices have resurfaced, the parlance of scorn and derision has again replaced the language of respect and civility. I believe, Barack Obama has to reach out – more than ever before – to those who have not voted for him and those whose vote he is in danger of losing.
    I do not know how he will go about this but I instinctively feel that compromising on what he so powerfully believes in will not carry the day. His agenda of greater social justice will in due time win over the ones who are now afraid of losing what they never really possessed: a measure of economic security. He must alleviate their fear of the unknown and take them symbolically by their hands to walk them ever so gingerly over to his side where a better world waits for all.
    Best regards.
    Horst

  38. Deepak R says:

    kavitha, again true as long as we do not question who we take ourselves to be.What you write already reflects deep observations of the dichotomy of existence . Where does ‘real’ start and where do our boundaries of the unreal end?Show me the real boundary from where one can start getting serious. Questions that can rankle one endlessly. The journey to the answers surely need to be experienced and may i say be ‘real’ enough to accept. After all in this age of intellectual empowerment our egos need to validate experience as a personal one for it to be granted the ‘real’ status.But our ego/minds are they capable of completing the run? Our natural intuitive recognition has been stifled by an increasing cultural focus on objective rationality, not easy to escape it. Trust in natural instinctive faith is a precious commodity.
    In those whom this suffocation gets unbearable, life seems to ponder further on and question who is there in here to whom this experiencing is happening? Can you spot the one in you that suffers?
    Pain and suffering that we observe in the world and feel for – what is new with that. Fear of loss including life and its connected pain has been with us forever. the object of this pain could vary depending on our context and maybe times we are born (suffering african child in these days, something else in any other time). (This is not a callous dismissal or move to disown our objects of attention). There are enough of us who fear violence without having met with a violent act personally. That is the nature of body which needs to worry about survival. However take your example of tsunami – natural order seems not interested in preserving life the way we want it to. Are we above/outside it to assume something is wrong with its design and needs to be fixed. It gives breath and takes it away with no judgement and attachement. Why do we?This fascination with pain which seems to come from our assumption of being separate from life, has it taken us any further through ages. We still seem to be trying to solve the same issues inspite of notion of progress is it not? Is living the pain by feeling it, its only purpose?
    To think words from a preacher (again if you can watch how the mind wants to judge and slot a perceived external infuence) or any other source do not move you- that is an observation your attention has caught. What catches mine is also the movement in you that made you come face to face with some ideas of yourself that you are trying to protect as your own. Every movement results in either a re-affirmation of who we ‘think’ we are or towards an unlearning of who we are not. What is our attention engaged with?
    And I look back and see this note itself has become too wordy for its own good and self-defeating in light of the simplicity it deals with. You are right, words go only a little distance, at best serve as a pointer.

  39. Neeraj says:

    Hi Shekhar ji namaste
    i don’t believe that this is your site. i know your name as a director since my childhood. today somehow searching for some thing i found your site and really surprised to see the thoughts you have in your mind. Generally we think that successful public figures are not think like a common man or they are not in search of some non worldly things. but you are totally opposite of that or perhaps it is the middle class mentality of ours. what ever but i am really surprised and on the same time pleased to read your thoughts. here i am referring to your “The search of self” title. Very amazing thoughts but incomplete also which are understandable because before completeness everything is incomplete but desire of completeness can fill the empty space and make it complete. I will only say that there are thousands philosophies and tens of thousands of ideologies to define a single point and we if we try to understand it to sort out our problem we will find ourselves in a complex world of thoughts which will complex our thoughts more than before. it is nothing but the state of the mind. if we try to understand it get us stuck in a complex circle from which coming out is very difficult. so first of all mind should be clear about the target. what we want , what we want to know. but to your surprise mind will never let you trust on a single point and it will always throw you in a state of uncertainty as you will be also feeling from many years as per your thoughts posted on this site since 2001. there is no end of thoughts or ideologies. everyone speaks of its own. but to know something you have the devotion for it. as i assume you can understand punjabi also i can tell you a short story. you have heard of bulle shah. great sufi saint. he always told his disciples to concentrate your mind for self-realization or to find the god. one day one of his disciples asked him that i can not concentrate on one thing as thousands of thoughts came in my mind. how can i concentrate my mind ( WE CALL MIND AS MANN IN HINDI OR PUNJABI). but bulle shah didn’t answered as he was working in his garden and roping the new plants in his field. when his student insisted he answered in a very simple manner. he said it is very easy to concentrate your mind. it is like this small plant. you have to pull it out from this field and sow in this field. (mann nu lagana bilkul bute lagane warga hai. bute nu is kyari vicho putna hai te is kyari vich lagana hai)
    so firstly if we can give our mind a clear direction then we can search for the ultimate truth otherwise we will wander here and there and will not get anything.

  40. isabel says:

    hummm
    how funny…
    between stories to tell …
    and words I make no sense of …
    like
    como esta senhor director???
    quero-lhe pedir um favor …
    sem pensar muito…
    diga-me a sua historia…
    em poesia…
    there …
    a real challenge…
    hee hee he

  41. Aline says:

    Isabel,
    Belo desafio. 😉 (translation: challenge indeed).

  42. kedar says:

    kidhar hai bhidu?…Himalay? lol

  43. SS says:

    hello Mr.kapoor
    i always remember one of your expression when u cried and said :AISE HI NACHTE REHNA JINDAGI BHER KHUSH RAHO:U GAVE THIS STATEMENT TO A LITTLE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED GIRL.i respect that shekhar kapoor .Elizabeth, always this name came into my mind whenever i saw you .How beautifully u carved out the strenght of a woman .i proud on u

  44. austere says:

    You’ve gone all quiet?
    Everything fine?

  45. DQ says:

    ShekharrrrrrrrrrRrr!!
    Kaha hai aap?
    Areh kuch nai likha aur?
    Kyu?
    .
    Kyu?
    Kyu?
    .
    Bolo? Bolo?
    Mewww

  46. Shorna Das says:

    Dear Shekhar ji,
    I visited your website, in the hope of contacting you, but found my eyes wandering to the evocative lines of writing on the blog. I read excerpts from your blog and found it very, very thought provoking. The poem ‘My boat’ is special.
    Anyway, trying to get back on track – I am requesting your email id, so that I can email you a script.
    I am a writer based in Preston, U.K.
    I have a story – ‘The City of Chameleons’.
    The story is about the astounding racial & cultural experiences of a 17 year old English woman, who married an Indian barrister in London in the 193Os, and followed him alone by ship, to Calcutta, India, to live with him.
    Life was dramatic at that time and it was shocking to both the English and Indian families, when their children travelled overseas or married a foreigner at the time.
    It’s based on the true story of my grandmother, Florence Irene Das (nee Kelsey), the oldest British citizen, an Englishwoman in Calcutta, when she died in July 2008. She lived for 76 years in Calcutta, till the age of 93.
    Please let me know, if you find it an interesting idea and whether you would consider it for a television series or a film. I can also provide original photographs and heirlooms, from my ancestral home in Calcutta, if the creative director so requires.
    Just a bit about me – I was born and brought up in Kolkata, attending La Martiniere For Girls throughout. My sisters were also at the same school. I studied Economics at University, which I hated. I thrived on an evening Computer class at St. Xaviers. I worked at my own DTP & MM company Hindustan Graphics from 1996 – 2003, when I came with my husband to the U.K. Both of us worked in the local council in the Regen dept, till I had my son, and I resigned from my job. I am now gainfully occupied in writing teleplays and looking after my son. My future ambitions lie in becoming a writer.
    Thanks and best wishes,
    Shorna
    Shorna Das
    34 Colman Court
    Preston PR1 8DL
    U.K.
    email – irene_kelsey@yahoo.com

  47. Shorna Das says:

    Dear Shekhar ji,
    I visited your website, in the hope of contacting you, but found my eyes wandering to the evocative lines of writing on the blog. I read excerpts from your blog and found it very, very thought provoking. The poem ‘My boat’ is special.
    Anyway, trying to get back on track – I am requesting your email id, so that I can email you a script.
    I am a writer based in Preston, U.K.
    I have a story – ‘The City of Chameleons’.
    The story is about the astounding racial & cultural experiences of a 17 year old English woman, who married an Indian barrister in London in the 193Os, and followed him alone by ship, to Calcutta, India, to live with him.
    Life was dramatic at that time and it was shocking to both the English and Indian families, when their children travelled overseas or married a foreigner at the time.
    It’s based on the true story of my grandmother, Florence Irene Das (nee Kelsey), the oldest British citizen, an Englishwoman in Calcutta, when she died in July 2008. She lived for 76 years in Calcutta, till the age of 93.
    Please let me know, if you find it an interesting idea and whether you would consider it for a television series or a film. I can also provide original photographs and heirlooms, from my ancestral home in Calcutta, if the creative director so requires.
    Just a bit about me – I was born and brought up in Kolkata, attending La Martiniere For Girls throughout. My sisters were also at the same school. I studied Economics at University, which I hated. I thrived on an evening Computer class at St. Xaviers. I worked at my own DTP & MM company Hindustan Graphics from 1996 – 2003, when I came with my husband to the U.K. Both of us worked in the local council in the Regen dept, till I had my son, and I resigned from my job. I am now gainfully occupied in writing teleplays and looking after my son. My future ambitions lie in becoming a writer.
    Thanks and best wishes,
    Shorna
    Shorna Das
    34 Colman Court
    Preston PR1 8DL
    U.K.
    email – irene_kelsey@yahoo.com

  48. Pratima says:

    Shekhar,
    Where have you disppeared? miss your words on the blog….come back soon!
    Pratima

  49. Miriam says:

    Persecuted people with no protection from the ruling party often develop cynicism. Indians are very talented but are percuted and exploited and so impoverished due to colonialism and now from neo-colonialism.
    How many out of 1 bil got and settled in the West – say, USA less than 3 mil, right? But of of 1 bil muslims more than 10 mil live in USA? That is why, with no chance of emigration, Indians develop cynicism, you see my point?

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