Tag Archive | "youth"

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The Beatles and their Coolth

Posted on 05 September 2012 by Meher Manda (Contributing Writer)

“Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.”

As I sit down to write this article about one of my favourite bands of all time, I cannot help but listen to their songs seeking inspiration. I am absolutely ‘gobsmacked’ [they’re British] when I hear my most loved Beatles song, Strawberry Fields Forever. What is it about The Beatles that 50 years since they’re arrival on the music scene still captivates listeners around the world? What was it about them that generates an appreciative hysteria among music lovers?

As I sit here, and try to pen the cult that the Beatles were, the most important point to be made would be the Beatles themselves. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrisson made what can now be deemed a rock and roll classic. While The Beatles beautifully indulged themselves in pop, psychedelic rock, classic rock, and came at a time when Elvis Presly was the rock and roll hero, the focus for rock and roll enthusiasts got conveniently shifted from America to the UK. And just when the Beatles were around, the Bee Gees were crooning Joh Travolta’s story to the disco and subsequent death. People reveled and celebrated the average street monger and his story, and here were four boys in the middle of the most ultimate popularity spiral that music had ever known.

Bringing to birth, ‘Beatlemania’, the band created such an intense mass hysteria even while enjoying a no. 1 position in the UK, much before their touchdown in the U.S. While the band brought about a new style in album covers with Abbey Road, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, White Album, (the covers having been revisited and imitated countless times) it also brought to the fore the creative genius of the band’s most influential members, Lennon and McCartney who perhaps had one of the most successful lyric partnerships of all time. And while the avant-garde music of The Beatles was one of the biggest reasons that made the band so popular, one needs to understand the immense impact the band had on society. While Lennon, a subtle atheist once commented that the Beatles were more popular then Jesus, just perhaps, he had measured the band’s impact just about correctly. Whatever The Beatles did, sang or spoke would be revisited, come what may.

The influence that the Beatles enjoy cannot be mentioned in mere words. During the group’s decline, as Lennon slowly went on to form a partnership with artist Yoko Ono and the others kick-started their own solo careers, they still remained in the news. With their songs enjoying countless covers by esteemed artists like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Elton John, Frank Sinatra among others, they could perhaps be called the most revisited musical band of all time. Lennon’s peace movement with Ono and their “make love bed” made further paths to the hippies culture of 70’s, only to be fueled by their unabashed admittance to drug usage.

Which brings us back to one eternal question- What makes The Beatles eternal?

Beautiful music notwithstanding, lyrics that seems to transcend harsh social realities and enigmatic personalities of Lennon and McCartney can easily be the summarizing factors. Today, music lovers with a conscience cannot seem to not love Yhe Beatles and they still continue to be a cult. And while in another part of the world, people are trolling a heavily criticised young pop-star who claims to be as big as The Beatles, I end this and silently rue, that no he is not, and no, not many can be.

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Moral Policing: An Uncalled for Discrepancy

Posted on 08 August 2012 by Meher Manda (Contributing Writer)

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It can be said for countries all over the world, that each one has its particular moral standing on this globe. While America is the land of free thinkers, France signifies liberation of inhibitions and Afghanistan, well, for everything oppressed. India, since forever, has been the country which has prided itself for being the custodian of its supposed moral traditions.

The global understanding of India is that of a motherland that respects femininity to the point of worship; one that upholds its cultures and the system of family and society supersedes personal needs. But somewhere down the line, this image is slowly diminishing to make way for a greater preceding truth, that of being stuck up in its times. They say that time is a constant change. And with time, the society is forever going through a constant spiral of changes. While India was a country of inhibitions and closed door hypocrisy, recent times have seen a spring in individuals wanting to be rid of the shackles of societal norms.

And what are the societal norms? In a country like India, where local impression has a higher standing, individual lifestyles and preferences have forever been the subject of judgement and scrutiny. And if, God forbid, someone were to resort to an unconventional style, they are labeled rebels and branded unfit.  While every Indian must respect his origins and what prompted the country’s morals, the country too must respect someone who chooses not to abide by the cliché. Moral policing is an offshoot of exactly that that is one of the major issues of Indian society, standoffishness.

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A society is formed thus because of acceptance and that alone; where people with different choices come together to exist in harmony. As adults, one should be allowed to choose the kind of lifestyle they want to live. It must be understood that it is important to respect social introvertedness as well as that quality to be out there unabashed. Indian society has never been void of youngsters wanting to have a good time, but throughout its history, such youngsters have been termed immoral. Even if they were to be judged, is it not important to let them be, and respect their privacy.

In the recent past, we have noticed certain political outfits reacting violently to the urban lifestyle of clubbing. These hooligans, hiding behind the carefully structured mask of guardians of India’s perceived morality have often been disrupting parties and lashing out at youngsters, propelling violence. The most recent incident involving a naive Mangalorean political party, Hindu Jagrana Vedike, making way to a private party at a resort, reveals some shocking situations. Images released, on purpose of course, show these supposed custodians reacting more violently to women than to men. This may also bring to mind the RSS clubbing incident that happened in Mangalore a couple of years back when women were beaten up in clubs. It also brings to light the need to cause violence as such to come into the national political limelight.

It is high time we realise that one must not set morals and fixed behavioural patterns for the society. And even if these are set, they cannot be imposed on others. Most importantly, one must stop measuring a society by the supposed waywardness of the women involved. India needs to release itself from the shackles of cultural oppression and move on to an independence of greater good – where an individual is respected and that alone. With the recent, and hopefully over, Vasant Dhoble tirades, it must also be realised that India must do away with age old laws that are not in tandem with today’s times. Politicians must aim their work towards the betterment of the state and working for the oppressed, not enjoying oppressing others.

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For a country which prides itself on respect, it is high time this respect it meted out to each other.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are of the author alone and not necessarily endorsed by the publisher, its partners, or its parent organisation.

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Indian Politics, Anna Hazare and YOU

Posted on 01 August 2012 by Meher Manda (Contributing Writer)

Acclaimed Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once exclaimed that “Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”

This seems to be the case with Indian politics. There are too many fools in multiple positions of power, and their foolhardy has corrupted not just power, but everything in its wake. India has always lacked in inspiring, well-informed and genuinely concerned leaders, ones who could display the potential to rise above shallow games of political opportunism and media-attention; but it has in excess, groups of corrupt and power-hungry politicians.

The ‘scam-period’, when various instances of money fraud like the CWG scam, the 2G scam and the Adarsh scam came to fore, is what comes to my mind now. What were these instances if not abuse of power and breeding of corruption? For a country that was reeling under the burden of mis-governance, these scams proved to be the final blow. People were angry and their discontentment was showing. Measures had to be taken to right the wrong, but who could possibly unify this country of ONE BILLION?

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Anna Hazare, a war soldier and a past recipient of various environmental awards, acclaimed for having repaired his broken village stood up to be the national crusader against everything wrong with this country – corruption, corrupt politicians, poor governance and so on. With credible and respectable people like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal forming the core of the Anna Team and a plausible  workforce comprising of lawyers and IAS officials, Anna’s Army was raring to go.

Anna Hazare, the Leader

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Senior citizens gave their approval to Anna; housewives left their homes and kitchens to be a part of Anna Mania. The blue collar worker finally felt there was a leader that spoke his language and he willingly gave the cause his precious time and valued money. And the youth? Who can forget those pictures where the youth thronged the roads and public maidans and shouted anti-corruption slogans? They took over blogs/twitter/facebook proclaiming their support for Anna, discussing the Lokpal with as much fervour as they would discuss their college fest.

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The crowds turn out in LARGE numbers to support Anna

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The Youth unite in the fight against corruption

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But all this was a year ago. Where does the movement stand now? Where are the protestors now? Has Team Anna lost its sheen? Honestly, do we, the youth, care about the cat and mouse game that Anna and the government seem to be indulging in lately?

At Anna’s fast campaign at Jantar Mantar (in Jul 2012) where have the crowds gone?

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Che Guevara, the great Marxist revolutionary, is counted as one of the most exceptional youth leaders the world has seen. For Che was a man of action, and not just words. While Team Anna has tried, exceptionally hard, to lambast the government for its inaction against corruption, to abuse the media for being critical of its actions and basically, to disregard anyone who is not a part of their movement, sadly, all they have done is speak. Although their initial fiery speeches of a citizen revolt were counted as inspiring and revolutionary, the country is in a dire need of doers, as speakers we have many. While Team Anna has busied itself in enemy counting, the country has moved on, and so have the criminals.

A revolt or a political movement when staged, must be backed by proper understanding and maturity. While the Anna Army have been squabbling within itself and with the government, the country is sitting back and watching the tamasha unfold. The layman, who once was willing to fight the world with Anna for a better tomorrow, is feeling lost yet again. The hope that was so craftily created, now lays lifeless. It now seems as a lost battle.

Rift in Anna’s Army? Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan in a media interaction at New Delhi

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What is the future for Anna and his team? Will the movement meet its rightful end? There as much questions as there are complications.

But the ONE question that must be answered is: Will YOU, the youth, get together and re-ignite the fire and fight for a better India??

Do tell.

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Uses And Misuses Of Cinema

Posted on 30 June 2012 by Milana Rao (Contributing Writer)

Cinema! The mere sound of this word excites and mesmerises many people. Cinema is one of the most powerful means of mass media. The impact of cinema on the minds of the people, irrespective of their age, is profound.

The history of cinema dates backs 1895, when the Lumiere brothers first invented the motion pictures. The invention of moving pictures left people spellbound. This development paved way for the birth of Indian Cinema in 1913.  Dhundiraj Govind Phalke produced the first Indian silent movie titled ‘Raja Harishchandra.’  Since then, Indian cinema has only grown and prospered.

Being such a popular medium, the impact that cinema has on the people is obvious and notable. The most important function of cinema is entertainment. But besides that, there are a number of functions that cinema performs.

For one it lets people believe that good triumphs over evil. Certain movies are made to make people aware of the evils that are prevalent in human customs and traditions. They also show how the culture and traditions followed by us have transformed from what they were in the ancient societies to what they currently are.

Watching movies of an era gone by makes us feel proud of our rich national heritage. The fact that we share a common history develops a feeling of belonging-ness and this helps in national integration.

There is an increase in the number of movies that deal with social issues and personal disabilities. Examples of these would be movies like ‘Black’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘Paa’, ‘Guzaarish’ and so on. It is movies like these that open our minds to situations and people that we otherwise overlook. This goes to show that cinema is a rather powerful tool of social influence. The government can use it to propagate its welfare programmes such as adult literacy, child education, hygiene etc.

But then every coin has two sides. In spite of the fact that cinema has many positives and that it is a boon to society in many ways, its negative aspects cannot be overlooked.

Today, cinema is too violent. Violence, atrocities on women/children and society, and sexually explicit content are shown under the pretext of ‘artistic expression’. This sends wrong signals to the young generation. The kind of language used in the movies is also not decent anymore. Swear words are becoming part and parcel of daily conversation in almost all movies. As a result of this, children and youngsters think it is cool to use swear words freely as and when they please.

Children and the young generation have impressionable minds. Especially in an age when cinema celebrities are considered next to God and are Hero worshiped, the fact that people readily following their favourite celebrity is not surprising. Anything done by the actors on screen is taken to be real and is in turn followed. This trend can take a hazardous turn when the actors (under the guise of a character) do or promote something which is either illegal or immoral.

Nonetheless, it largely falls on us to interpret cinema correctly. It is our choice to either see their positives or embrace the negatives. And hopefully, we will make a smart choice.

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