Monday, 21 October 2013

Magnificent Ndebele Art

The Ndebele woman does not paint for acclaim or money. She paints because her house is her shrine, and she desires to beautify it. What set a woman apart from the others is her style of decoration and her choice of colours for the walls of her mud dwelling. But when asked about their art, these women merely say, “I learnt from my mother” or “It is the law of the Ndebele.” For generations the women of the Nedebele of Southern Africa have produced an art of remarkable richness and vitality.
                When the current generation of painters was young, its palette was limited to earth tonnes – browns, Ochres, red and black. But today commerical tints allow the women to create all the hues of the spectrum. Brilliant colour, enhanced by the Transvaal light, is as much a part of Ndebele decoration as composition, texture or any other factor. Ndebele painting is composed freehand, directly on to the wall surface, in one of two prinicipal styles; traditional and contemporary – with both sometimes present within the same dwelling. In the traditional style, the designs are bold, linear and abstract, becoming more complicated on the front of the house. The contemporary style is more representational, symbolizing courtyards, doors and windows and striking diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines echo the forms of support structures beneath the mud walls. The Ndebele artists choose the most graphic and geometric shapes from everyday life to use in their compositions. Flowers and trees, which can be broken down into well-defined components, are common motifs. Ans as western aspirations replace African culture, the women have begun to include light bulbs, street lights and television aerials perched on thatched roofs in their murals.
          The Ndebele women take as much pride in their bead work as they do in their mural painting. After completing daily tasks around the compound, they gather under the shade of a tree to sort, string and stitch colorful glass or plastic beads for personal adornment. In ceremonial dress women wear gala blankets with beaded trimmings, long beaded strips attached to headbands, lavishly beaded skirts, along with beaded hoops studded with glittering tacks. The Southern Transvaal Ndebele today 400,000 strong have survived as a nation because so many have adhered to their culture. Despite terrible social, political and economical upheaval, these women have stubbornly pursued their own distinct aesthetic path.

Monday, 14 October 2013


The Novel and other Forms
The germ of the novel lay in the mediaeval romance, a fantastic tale of love and adventure, itself derived from the ballads and fragments of epic poems sung by the wandering minstrel. In 1350 Baccaccio wrote a world-famous collection of love stories in prose, entitled the Decameron. Such short stories are called in Italian ‘novelle’. The term originally meant a ‘fresh story’ but gradually came to signify a story in prose as distinguished from a story in verse, which continued to be called a romance. When prose became almost the Universal medium, the term ‘romance’ implied a story or series of stories of the legendary past, of which Malory’s Morte d’Arthur  is a famous example. It is often used to-day to describe a historical novel which is intentionally picturesque and exciting rather than scholarly, and still more frequently for a piece of light fiction of an emtional type, somewhat remote from the facts and probabilities of everyday life. F.Marion Crawford, a popular American novelist, once described the Novel as a ‘pocket theatre,’ containing as it does all the accessories of drama without requiring to be staged before an audience. It is more formally defined as “a long narrative in prose detailing the actions of fictitious people.” Meredith called it “a summary of actual life,” including both “the within and the without of us.” Fielding loosely characterised it as a comic epic in prose. It is the loosest form of the literary art, but its very freedom from all limitations allows it to give a fuller representation of real life and character than anything else can provide. Many hundreds of new novels appear every year, but their literary standard is not, as a rule, a high one, for , as W.H.Hudson remarks, “any one can write a novel who has pens, ink and paper at command, and a certain amount of leisure and patience.” It is none the less a very effective medium for the portrayal of human thought and action, “combining in itself the creations of poetry with the details of histroy and the generalised experience of philosophy, in a manner unattempted by any previous effort of human genius.”  

Thursday, 3 October 2013


It cannot be said that we have no will to control the mind. The very fact that all of us have our own inner struggles indicates that we have the will. But in most cases this will to control the mind is not very strong. Out will to control the mind can never be strong until and unless we have deliberately and irrevocably renounced pleasure as one of the main pursuits of our life. The canker which eats away the vitality of our will to control the mind is the pursuit of pleasure. It is like this: if you have a servant who is aware that you depend on him to procure you illicit drugs and if you both enjoy the drugs together, you cannot then control that servant. The same is the case with the mind. The mind which is use for seeking pleasure and enjoying pleasure, we can never control until we give up seeking pleasure. Even after giving up the pursuits of pleasure it will not be easy to control it for the mind will always have past incidents to cite to embarrass us. The strength of our will to control the mind will be in proportion to the strength and intensity of our renunciation of the pursuit of pleasure. Unless the pleasure-motive is overcome, no matter what else we do, we can never perfectly control the mind. The derivative of this truth is that those who are reluctant to renounce the pleasure-motive are not sincere enough in wanting to control their minds, whatever their professions.
                By renunciation of the pursuit of pleasure is not meant renunciation of the pursuit of joy or bliss. By pleasure is meant the enjoyment of sense-pleasure or the gratification arising from what Shri Ramakrishna calls the “unripe ego”, both of which obstruct the attainment of joy or bliss. It is by going beyond pleasure and pain that one attains joy our bliss, which is the very goal of life. There is no question of giving up  the desire for joy or bliss, for it is integral to us, our real nature being Existence-Know-ledge-Bliss. About the methods of overcoming the pleasure-motive something will be said in the next section.
                Opposites sometimes look alike. Two types of persons do not have inner struggle; those who have become unquestioning slaves of their lower nature, and those who have completely mastered their lower nature. All others have inner struggles, which are the result of inadequate or unsuccessful attempts at controlling the mind. Inadequate attempts are indications of weak will and of lack of knowledge as to how to control the mind.
                The most important thing is to strengthen the will to such a degree that even in the face of repeated failures we are not deheartened; rather, that with every new failure to control the mind we are roused to fresh endeavours with new enthusiasm. Now how do we strengthen this will to control the mind? We have to remove the causes of weakness of will. And we have to inject strength into it by ensuring the presence of suitable causes.
                Not doubt some of us have struggled with our minds but have faced repeated failures. So we have come to believe that controlling the mind is not for us. Another reason for the weakness of our will is not the most of us have perhaps not clearly thought what exactly is at stake in the control of the mind. If we had, the sheer instinct for survival would have driven us to strengthen our will to control the mind, we need not be unduly exercised. It has never been an easy task even for the noblest of men, the nature of the mind being restless. Shri krishna says in the gita:
                The turbulent sense, O Arjuna, do violently snatch away the mind of even a wise man, striving after perfection.
                For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering sense, carries away his discrimination, as a wind carries off its course a boat on the waters.
The Buddha teaches:
                If one man conquers in battle a thousand men a thousand times, and if another conquers himself, he (the latter) is the greater conqueror.

From this we can understand that controlling the mind is the most difficult task in the world. It is indeed a hero’s task. Hence occasional or repeated failure to control the mind should not be taken too seriously. Failures should be taken as spurs to more determined, sustained, and intelligent efforts, for we are assured by the great teachers that perfect control of the mind is possible. All thoughts to the contrary must be eschewed like poison.     

Sunday, 29 September 2013


In this theme, the mind and its control, we are all deeply interested, in a very personal way, for nothing affects us individually more than our own minds. We know something about the subject. All of us try to control our minds. But we should like to know more and do better.
Who can help us in this regard? Only those who have perfectly controlled their own minds. What we may learn from such sources we shall present here as a system of simple disciplines.
                Control of the mind is a very interesting inner game. If you have a sportsman’s attitude. You will thoroughly enjoy it, even while apparently losing. In the playing, this game takes a great deal of skill, alertness, sense of hum our, goodness of heart, sense of strategy, patience and some heroic flair which makes it possible not to get disheartened in the face of a hundred failures.
                Shri Krishna, was explaining in the Gita how the supreme state of Yoga was to be attained. After listening to him Arjuna said to the Lord in understandable despair :
                “ O Krishna, this yoga which you declare to be characterized by perfect evenness of mind, I do not see how it can endure, Because of the restlessness of the mind. The mind, O krishna, is restless, turbulent, powerful and obstinate. To control the mind is as hard, it seems to me, as to control the wind.
                Shri krishna listened to this representative complaint of man and gave a reply important for all men of all times. All Indian thinking and practice on mind-control are largely based on this teaching of Shri Krishna. He said: ‘undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and hard to control. But by practice and dispassion it can be controlled.
                From this conversation we know three basic facts about mind-control:
a.       That it has always been an extremely difficult task even for heroic persons of the stature of Arjuna.
b.      That yet it is possible to control the mind.
c.       That there are well-defined methods for controlling the mind.
In these two words, practice and dispassion, Shri Krishna gave the whole secret of controlling the mind. It is the uniform verdict of all the saints of India down the ages that there is no other way of controlling the mind expect through ‘Practice and Dispassion’. This is also called ‘the yoga of practice’.
        We shall quote here a dialogue between Shri Ramkrishna and a devotee, in which the former emphasizes a fundamental point which everyone needs to remember:
Shri Ramkrishna: ‘Don’t sit idle simply because your spiritual consciousness has been awakened a little. Go forward. Beyond the forest of sandalwood there are other and more valuable things – silver-mines, gold-mines and so on.’
Priya : ‘Sir, our legs are in chains. We cannot go forward.’
Shri Ramkrishna: ‘What if the legs are chained? The important thing is the mind. Bondage is of the mind, and freedom is also of the mind.’
Priya: ‘But the mind is not under my control.’
Shri Ramkrishna: ‘How is that? There is such a thing as the yoga of practice, yoga through practice. Keep up the practice and you will find that your mind will follow in whatever direction you lead it. The mind like a white cloth just returned from the laundry. It will be red if you dip it in red dye and blue if you dip it in blue. It will have whatever color you dip it in.’
        Practice and Dispassion are no doubt the entire secret of controlling the mind. But how do we bring them into our life-stream? That is the question. To do this
a.       We shall have to develop a strong will to control the mind;
b.      We shall have to understand the nature of the mind;

c.       We shall have to learn certain techniques and practice them earnestly and intelligently.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Problem of Rising – Prices

Problem of risin- prices is the burning problem at present. Prices of all things have been rising very rapidly. They have gone up twenty times.
Causes of rising prices- A developing country. India is a developing country. In a developing country prices are bound to go up.
Hoarding tendency – There is a no actual shortages of anything in the country. But there is shortage of honesty only. The businessmen create artifical shortage of foodgrains. So the prices go up day by day.
Population explosion- Our population  is increasing very rapidly. Now our population is more than 80 crores. Foot grains have not increased in proportion of increase in population.
Deficit financing- The deficit financing in the plans is also responsible for the roaring prices.
Useless plans- Much money is spent on some plans which do not seen to be useful.
Increase in the prices in raw materials -Producers say that there is a rise in the prices of raw materials. So there is an increase in the manufacturing cost.
Defective taxation policy.- Some people say that the taxation policy is defective and needs change to bring the prices down.
Investments- The government is making investments in the industries which will show the benefits after a long time.
No adjustment between demand and supply- There is no proper adjustment between supply and demand.
Fault with officials- Some government officials are corrupt. They are quite indifferent towards the seriousness of the problem.
Remdy. The rising prices should be checked at once. The government should take drastic steps against hoarding and black- marketing. Production should be increased. Distribution of national wealth should be made fair and effective. The government must take over the trade of important food grains such as wheat, rice and sugar. The circulation of black money must be controlled at all costs. The check on growing population should be brought under contro;. Deficit budgets should be discouraged. Sense of partriotism must be created by our leaders who should be far above corruption. Public should Co-operate with the government. Our slogan must be “Down with Prices”.

If these suggested steps are taken the prices will surely go down. Of what use are plans if the life of the common people is full of misery? Our government must realise this truth and check the ever rising prices.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Now –a-days the problem of indiscipline among students has grown very serious. Everybody complains of the growing indiscipline among the students who are our future hopes. The question arises why there is indiscipline among students? Some main causes that are responsible for the indiscipline among student are:
Old system of education: Our old system of education results in unrest among the students. They have to pass through age-old system of examinations.
Political causes: Students were encouraged by our leaders before 1947 to take part in freedom struggle. The leaders and students made use of all fair and foul methods. The students grew in the habit of using them against their teachers and the elders. Now we are independent but still political parties use students for their selfish ends.
The conditions of schools and colleges: The schools and colleges are over-crowded. The teachers are low-paid. They are ill-fed and ill-clad. They run after tuitions. Students go to the safest way to tuitions to pass the examination. The students do not read and the teachers do not teach. When there is no work indiscipline comes in.
Backward educational system: Our present educational system is not fruitful. After the education there students do not get suitable jobs. There is a rush in classes. So there is no personal link between teachers and students. Students fail to learn many useful and important things from their teachers.
Social environments: Indiscipline among students is a part of indiscipline in the society. The students see that their leaders behave in an indiscipline way. Hence they do whatever they see. The home atmosphere does not suit to our students. They see the anti-social activities of their father.
Government’s responsibility: Every year books and courses are changed. Experiments are made at the cost of students, career. Sometimes the students have to appear in both meetings during the examination days. He has to learn the most difficult subjects in a day when they take up examination in both the meetings. They use unfair means. When they are checked, they revolt.  
Certain Suggestions. 1. Reforms in the colleges and schools. The students or teachers should not be allowed to take part in politics. Political parties should be not use the students for their selfish ends. Only first rate persons must be appointed as teachers. Salary of teachers must be increased. The classes must not be over- crowded. There must be a good choice of taking up different courses.
2. To keep students away from dirty life. The students should be taken away from the dirty life of cities. Schools and colleges must be far away from busy cities. Let us follow the example of Gurukuls and Rishikuls.
3. Collective efforts. Collective efforts have to be made by government, teachers and guardians. The government should take interest in the education. The teachers should think themselves as trustees. The guardians should give some time to look after their wards. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Life is not a bed of roses

Aggressiveness is a natural instinct with men, animals and plants. In a forest vegetative growth tries to occupy every inch of place, animals’ kingdom and birds ransack forest to find eatables. Mankind behaves likewise in its own social sphere. In America and similar countries where land is virgin, competition is less and luxurious goods are in plenty. This will, however, not continue for a long period.
                Struggle for existence ultimately makes everyone tough. People should, therefore, train themselves to be hardy. There is no place in this world for a person who cannot face difficult life and cannot stand all kinds of trials, troubles and tribulations. Whether one is a sportsman, a businessman or an artist, toughness of life does not spare anyone. Comfortable life does not make a complete man. Man in the habit of leading a luxurious life may happen to be hard in other directions. Weakness of character results when a person moves in a society. This weakness can be overcome during the academic career.

                Love of calmness and peace do not indicate a soft life. Only a tough man can meditate and defy the norms of social life. This is an achievement and cannot be regarded as cowardice for idleness. Civilization requires competitive spirit to be channelized for noble purposes. Animal use of power reigns supreme where culture has no value. Cunningness, cruelty and war, which results in tremendous waste of all kinds of resources, constitute some or the other form of brutality. War can be overcome by strength and not weakness. The latter is an invitation to war. Brutality is the result of self-interest and indiscipline. Unless these can be overcome, culture cannot hold charge of brutality, people should dissociate with such of the activities as are responsible for the exploitation of labor. Cultural forces in this way can affect the economic sphere.
                When cheap goods are purchased from a market, brutality holds its upper hand over civilized culture. This can be avoided only by refusing to buy the goods produced by the exploitation of labor. This requires great vigilance, which is often lacking in people. To obviate the possibility of brutality taking an upper hand in society, forces of civilized should be encouraged. Luxurious life can result in neglect of masses and habitual use of power. Constitutions do not hold out any hope in this respect. The desired effects can be achieved only by the cultivation of cultural values. Luxurious life in the States, as elsewhere, should not neglect the strong traits of character.