From Kolkata: With LOVE, ATTENTION and CONCERN

On this website, I'm not selling something that requires you to pay; instead, I’m here to explore an opportunity to air various issues with you on which you and I as concerned individuals could meet because they just might be very dear to us. There are many infuriating things we are constantly required to endure; I wish I knew how to solve them all, where to begin, how to approach, and how to proceed. But I simply don’t. I’m hoping that perhaps through common understanding, empathy, respect and awareness for the world that we live in and on which we all have a significant stake we could raise these issues, discuss and figure out how to advance with them to our common advantage. Our ideas, if they naturally resonate without any fiat of any kind demanding attention that they deserve, may ultimately provide the impetus to explore what we need to do as a society now and how we should as one unfragmented entity proceed.

We are not launching another political party; we have already too many. Regardless of our individual alignment to polity, I think there are some issues on which we could significantly converge taking common steps together. This is the basis to project and capture the common denominator of our assertions, our understanding, our hope, our outrage and our thoughts on a world that we share with each other with an ardent hope that in some ways we can make the difference we desire.

Right now, I'm in the process of developing this site which is far from being complete. I thank you for your patience and tenacity to read up to this without losing your curiosity.

Your's truly, Saumen Sengupta

Our Worst problem: Our lack of awareness

We are not aware about our own world. Consequently, we live in a world often shaped and influenced by others. We live in a world where our own input is significantly less than all the others we interact with. We live in opinions, what other significant ones do tend to claim are more important than our own examined position. We, thus, exist through reactions. Thus, if others around us are violent, petty, and shallow, we, in turn, let them shape us precisely in that way. As a result, we become violent, petty and shallow. If we could only be masters of our own selves, if we could be thoughtful, self-enquiring, challenging, demanding more than what our own mediocrity suggests, perhaps, we could all live differently. Instead of being guided, we could probably pen our own history discovering ourselves at each step anew.

So long as we remain "unaware" we'd be part of the "herd", part of the "collective". To be an individual, to be "serious", we must be able to question and challenge our collective wisdom, challenge our pet positions, our dogmas, our own nurtured beliefs. Only when we have the capacity to question ourselves, capacity to question our vested interest that meets the world as our 'traditions' could we be aware; only then we are truly attentive to the world that we share with each other.

Becasue we are not aware and we do not realize the importance of awareness as a social force, we have no stake in shaping our societal checks and balances; we are told what to do, but our voices are never heard. There is no feedback system that could capture the actual dynamics or dialectics observed at the grass-root level to present it at a global level. Our leaders decide what we should think! We are imbued in a Faustian design continuously selling ourselves to our highest bidders. That's why we are in a 'collective' as long as we remain unaware. Sure, we do complain every now and then, but our complaints have no momentum. Because we are unaware, our complaints and criticisms about our environment, about our government, about our polity, about everything are like those emanating from a prisoner whose sole interest is to improve the prison condition.

Must we continue in our own custom-designed prison?

Our profound neglect: Our continuing interest in gender, caste and race-based discriminations

In our bourgeois framework, maintained and endorsed by the all powerful patriarchal society, gender,caste and race continue to haunt us even in this century. Education is sought-after quality for our urban high-caste men, but the same is not considered necessary for our female counterparts, for our dalit childfren, for our adibasis. Oh yes, some education is good for them, but let that be controlled and dished out by the high-caste patriarchal society ordained some two thousand years ago by Manu. Let men in the upper echelon decide, our world mostly asserts, what is good for women, for the underdog, for the have-nots and what they should strive for. Secondly, if one is not from the main stream with “proper” caste and/or proper “tribe” tag, one could easily say goodbye to “education”. Oh yes, there are quotas for OBC category to gain admissions in our presitgious institutes and governament operational entities, but would that keep me alive if I'm refused drinking water in my village or if my house is burnt down because my "uppity" behavior could not be tolerated at some level of my society!

About some hundred years back, Swami Vivekananda observed that a nation that treated her women folks as chattel had practically no chance to survive even in a secular setting. “A bird cannot ever fly on one wing much as it tries”, bitterly observed SV. See how this challenge is enthusiastically taken up in its entirety by a group of dedicated sanyasinis, the paribrajikas of Sri Ramakrishna Saradapeeth Kanya Gurukul situated in Jhargram, West Medinapur. If humanity is truly one existence, shouldn't we relentlessly question how and why we do live like a bunch of islands? Can we truly live like islands screaming "Me first!" all the time? Isn't it high time to be truly aware of what it means when we sing "WE ARE THE WORLD"? Do we realize the responsibility it confers on us?

Must we live as fragmented beings when we are only ONE?

Our Worst crime: Killing others to promote and sustain ideas

Life is the most precious of all, most sacred of all and yet we don't mind to eliminate others via ethnic cleansing, via suicide bombing, via acts of terrorism, via our intentional neglect. This century and the last one are marked with violence unleashed to promote specific ideas. My "ism" is better than your "ism", my religion is better than your religion, my country is better than you country. Within this time, we have fostered and nurtured nationalism, fascism, and fundamentalism. As a result we have all kind of fundamentalists among us spreading like a deadly virus.

How do we eradicate violence and terrorism from our midst? With more violence and terrorism? Has any one ever managed to establish a just world by eradicating violence through more violence? Can violence ever stop violence? It hasn’t and it would never achieve such a goal either. One might argue that our ideals of “non-violence”, of “truth” have not been realized either; we still remain the most corrupt and the violent ones in the world in spite of our wishes. What then went wrong?

The problem is that we have embraced “non-violence”, “Satyameba jayate”, etc. as ideals to bask under. They are not real to us; they are no more real than the picture of Swami Vivekananda on our wall collecting soot and dust. Unless we, individually, discover in our own existence the relevance of “non-violence” as our essence, as our essential being there is no way we could understand the meaning and import of non-violence as our being. But instead of discovering them ourselves in terms of our own living, we pick them up from our society as an established truth, as an ideal, as a mission, as a goal. And, in doing so, we bury it without slightest guilt.

Must we let violence and hatred punctuate our living?
Our Worst performance: Destruction of our environment and ecology

The rising sea level is going to swallow, perhaps in our life time, the vast spread of Sundarban at the mouth of the delta. Within the next 30 years, a good chunk of Bengal would be under sea-water. The rest of India would soon lose all her glacier-fed rivers. The poeple will literally die in thirst and hunger as we'd definitely lose our agriculture through all these. Air quality in Kolkata is so bad that some 75% of its people are destined to die early through asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. A well-known senior minister, when asked for an explanation, had the audacity to suggest that it was worse in many other countries. But what was worse that we bought that stupid answer without any hint of intelligence on our part. Why aren't we outraged? If some 75% of our people are going to die through our intentional neglect, isn't that outrageous? What are we going to do about it?

Kolkata continues to be filthy, cluttered with garbage, with its public resources like roads and public parks in rampant disuse. People defecate on streets and alleyways often in broad daylight. Why can’t we arrange well maintained public lavatories all across our city for both men and women? Why do we spit in public places? Why aren’t our drains kept clean and covered? If it is the job of KMC to keep Kolkata livable, shouldn’t they be answerable to people when they fail in their mission?

We may be ready to add another 8000 post-secondary Educational Institutions like colleges and universities very soon, but what about expanding our primary and secondary education for our millions of children to a respectable level? Aren't we concerned? Don't they need real education?

Must we live insanely?

Our false priorities: What are truly important right now

We need a government that is reluctant to lean on excuses and short on slogans. If a particular department falls short of its stated objectives, people should demand demotion of the attendant ministers and demotion of the top public servants in charge of the relevant sectors. We should promote those who can do, who can deliver. We need a work-force that is capable of working and taking responsibility. Let us retire those who just cannot do or refuse to do. Let us investigate those who have amassed a vast fortune via unacceptable and unethical routes. Let us punish them severely freezing their bank-assets. Government must be seen accountable to its electorate.

This website is never going to be finished. We have a long way to go to live healthy without a constant set of worries and wants. We all need to live our enriched lives in awareness and understanding without ever losing focus of our priorities and goals. There is no reason, whatsoever, for living a life of mediocrity compromising our set of universal values. Talk to your representatives, your political parties, your business sectors, your schools and colleges, your municipalities to work with each other focused on their stated objectives to help us live and grow responsively. Write regularly to newsmedia to discuss all such issues. Invite your ministers and your local parties to debate these issues to inform how they are going to solve these problems. Suggest your local clubs and communities to participate in these issues more effectively.

We need your vision as valuable input to enrich this site. Tell us, show us how we could be more meaningful to our very world that is our to design, our to bequeath to our next generation.

For your comments and criticisms:
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Yes, Together we can make the difference!

Some additonal thoughts:

Look at Nationalism
Look at "Beliefs"
Some possibilites: 1