Is Post-Modernism still relevant?

Post-Modernism is an ideology which came up right after the industrial revolution, it’s an ideology which is based on the basic tenant that there is no meta narrative, all knowledge is partial and nothing is absolute. It first emerged in the art and literary circles and then slowly spread to other spheres. Post-Modernists believe that all truth is subject to social and economic conditions, they reject anything universal or binary. 

In the 21st century, debates over Post-Modernism have erupted once again, we face several issues and the way to solve many of them could be rootes in Post-Modernist thought  but again there are questions about this, can we find a middle ground to this, after all the rejection of extremes would mean a middle ground would work right?

Diversity is the greatest thing about the human race, the fact that we can all be so different yet similar in so many ways is a magical fact, but what happens when each community or group starts believing that they are superior?  The Holocaust for example was carried out with this argument, that one race was superior to another. Post- Modernism believes that all knowledge is local and partial, this basically implies that every community, creed, race, religion or group can have their own identity and ALL of these identities will be valid, no group would be considered inferior because no single group is considered superior, all truths are equally important. Multiculturalism is therefore Post-Mordernist. 

Post-Modernism rejects absolutism, which would ensure dictators, tyrants and despots who believe that they have all the answers will be rejected, a society  based on Post-Modernism would be based on consensus, dialogue and debate. Hitler for example believed that he and he alone had all the answers, he basically narrowed his people’s vision to view the world, such absolutism is rampant in the 21st century . Such absolute views would only lead to war, bloodshed and more war. My way or your way, as long as there is a way, it’s alright. 

Post-Modernism allows inclusion, our world today is a cruel world for those with disabilities, for those standing at the end of the line, we live in an increasingly exclusionary world, a world where certain  groups find themselves isolated and left out, thousands of them are denied jobs, shelter and even basic resources to even survive,in a Post-Modernist society, there would be room for communities like these because it forces us to accept other options and to allow other options to thrive even if we don’t agree with them. Our planet can’t be viewed only in black or only in white, we are black, white, yellow and red and blue and green and every other colour in the spectrum.

 

Our education system is exactly where we need Post-Morderism, our education systems have been designed in such a way that only students who fit into a particular mould will do well but what happens to those who don’t fit into this mould? What happens when those diagnosed with autism or dyslexia can’t fit into the mould? Our current system would isolate, humiliate and belittle them because it’s based on a rigid doctrine. Flexibility is another key Post-Modern concept, a concept which would allow those who don’t with the flow to reach the finish line. 

 

Post-Modernism also allows different definitions of concepts like tradition and morality, what is considered moral for you may not be moral for me, thus we could have different notions of morality and we could still coexist, there need not be one universal code of morality because again this would only lead to more conflict. Tradition too is a very fluid concept. Your father may seem traditional to you and your grandfather may seem traditional to your father, with time, the defenition of tradition may change and this is alright, as long as your notion of tradition does not stop someone else from practicing his notion of tradition, they can coexist.

 

Post-Modernism in simple terms is not singular, it’s plural, a plurality of faiths, religions, creeds, ideologies, belfies, truths and cultures, a Post-Modernist society would be accepting and tolerant. I may not agree with you but I care about you, I may not like what you’re saying but I will accept you, I may not look like you or eat like you or speak like you but we can still be friends, you could worship in any way you want, you can wear any dress you want, you can speak any language you want and we can all coexist. 

 

Post-Modernism however isn’t  a perfect ideology, it needs to be adapted into the 21st century and it needs a lot of evolution but the basic values of Post-Modernism can offer all of us valuable guide points on how to navigate these troubled times of conflict and chaos, people have argued that Post-Modernism is abstract , vague and filled with questions, but the Post-Modern way offers all of us a chance to discuss and debate over the issues we face. Climate change for example can’t have one universal solution, it’s going to take local knowledge and local solutions to combat climate change, Post-Modernism can help us with issues like these, issues which can’t be solved by one universal solution. 

Can we look beyond the problems of Post-Modernism or are we going to conceptualize a post Post-Moodern era ? Let me know in the comment section below! 

 

Audi Alteram Partem

Audi Alteram Partem

 

While the title of this piece is a famous Legal phrase translating to ‘Listen to the other side’, this piece isn’t related to Law in any way at all, this piece is more about humans and  the urgent need to hear the other side. 

(Audi alteram partem (or audiatur et altera pars) is a Latin phrase meaning “listen to the other side”, or “let the other side be heard as well”. It is the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them)

We unfortunately live in  a very polarized world, a world where the political has become the personal, a world where people seldom have the patience to listen to opinions which aren’t similar to theirs, it’s obviously very convenient for us to shush opinions which we don’t like, stay away from people who we know aren’t going to have similar positions like we do, unfriend people who don’t hold the same views and so on but we don’t  realize the danger of this. 

 

When we refuse to listen to other opinions, we create delicate bubbles for ourselves, while bubbles may be pretty to watch, carelessly floating in the air, they burst after a point. When we start to go across the aisle and reach out to people who we are certain don’t have the same opinions as us, we begin to learn , we grow as human beings and we eventually come to the conclusion that no ideology, opinion, view or argument is larger than humanity. 

 

It’s normal human nature to stay away from people who oppose our views, I too turn off the volume when politicians I don’t like come on television, I’ve had several heated arguments with people with whom  I didn’t agree with, I have unfriended these people and I was certain that my truth was the only truth. While my truth may be the best truth, I needed to realize that my truth is the best truth for me, other people may think otherwise- this is perfectly normal. Unless I start having conversations with people who may not like my truth, I will never understand how the world works, I will never understand human relationships and I certainly never understand humanity. The more I become deaf to other views, the more I isolate myself from society, the more I become radical in my opinion and if history is a lesson, radical views have never worked.

 

When I look back and read history, I can point out several instances where disastrous things have occurred simply because people have refused to hear the other side, a good example would be Napoleon, he was quite confident that he could annex Russia , he brushed aside all dissent and refused to listen to anyone who was against his view  and went on to invade Russia- unfortunately he picked the wrong month to invade Russia and the famous harsh Russian winter crushed his army. Hitler too would go on to do the same several years later and fail. Other examples would include Mussolini, Idi Amin and hitting closer to home- Mohammed Bin Tuglaq, the great Delhi Sultan who is now synonymous with failure, indecisiveness and stupidity. All these people failed or are viewed in a bad light because they refused to follow the famous Latin Maxim- Audi Alteram Partem, they constantly told themselves that their stories, views and opinions were the only ones that existed, they didn’t allow any room for dissent and this in turn blinded them from viewing the correct point of view. 

 

 We need to remember that the other side may say uncomfortable things, they will irritate you, anger you and make you feel like punching a wall but remember it’s always better to hear them out than to assume what they may say, don’t allow assumptions to become the basis of your argument, you will lose. Let me make it clear that by hearing the other side out, it does not mean you are compromising on your principles. Your ideology or your position won’t blur simply because you heard the other person’s view, it only means that you are a human being who’s tolerant to other views. 

 

So I ask all of you to hear other people out, hear out people who don’t have the same ideology as you, hear out people who don’t talk like you, hear out people who sound silly, who sound smart, who wear clothes you would never buy, hear out marginalised groups, hear out your fiercest critic, your best friend, your neighbour and anyone else who speaks to you because only then will you start understanding humans, you will appreciate the beauty of democracy, you’ll grow as a human being and above all, you’ll shake the world in your own way. In the midst of division, hatred and polarization, may we all build bridges of understanding, inclusion and reason. Audi Alteram Partem. Always.

Let’s make this world a better place

Last Christmas I wrote a small passage of what I’d like from Santa-

Dear Santa
This year I hope you’re kind to those without homes, to those without food and to those stuck in war zones, I hope you give peace to the kids stuck in wars, I hope you help those in the periphery of our society, I hope you help the marginalized and the weak. I hope you give medicines to the poor and warm blankets to the men on the road. I hope you bring love to those with hatred towards other groups
In turn I promise you I’ll do my bit and stand up for these people whenever and wherever I can

 

This year I’ve decided to do a small fundraiser for an organization called U&I. I’ve been teaching at a school aided by U&I and they mainly work with providing quality education to underprivileged children across India

 

I’m sharing the details of the same below, hope you will take some time off to read it and spread the word and if you can chip in a bit!

Details here-

Hi,  Thanks for stopping by to read about how I’m changing lives – and how you can help! I’ve been volunteering with U&I’s Learning Center, Nirmala Vidyalaya, in Bangalore for the past year. The Learning Center caters to the academic needs of 39 underprivileged children. Volunteers like me spend 2.5 hours twice a week teaching the children English and other subjects. We focus on their wholesome development and conduct library se…https://heroup2019.ketto.org/fundraiser/shreyas-wh91v?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=whatsappShare&utm_campaign=shreyas-wh91v&utm_content=d4f4f9628b61cdede2274cd6612f54bf&shby=1

*Donate Now to help Shreyas Isaac* –

https://heroup2019.ketto.org/contribute/contribute.php?fmd_id=139490&fmd_sc_id=&utm_source=internal&utm_medium=whatsappShare&utm_campaign=shreyas-wh91v&utm_content=d4f4f9628b61cdede2274cd6612f54bf

 

Merry Christmas 🙂

An open letter to Indian Politicians from the young!

Dear politicians

 

Elections are just around the corner, the news waves are filled with election news, the newspapers carry huge advertisements issued by political parties, huge banners can be found across cities and towns asking people to vote for development , progress, peace and strong leadership, pollsters are publishing numerous opinion polls every day, but will all of  this excitement lead to anything concrete for my people? Will the roads be fixed? Will toilets be built? Will education get proper funding? Will crime reduce? I’ll leave these questions for you to answer.

 

Let me however spell out certain ground rules, I trust you will follow these in the days to come-

First off don’t try to divide us, we are one people and we live in one country, for your petty political gains don’t give out hate-filled and radical statements, do not divide us based on religion, language or caste, you’re supposed to unite us, not divide us. Does an united India scare you?

 

Secondly, don’t give us fake promises which you can never keep up to, it’s easy to promise us the moon, but sometimes you forget the fact that we aren’t four-year-old kids who you can fool, we can see through your lies. Talking about promises, please read your election manifesto before you release them, manifestos aren’t documents you release just to get votes, these are documents you need to follow once you’re in power, you’re supposed to fulfill the schemes you promise, you can’t just announce them with a lot of fanfare and then forget about them.

 

Thirdly don’t use cheap means to win elections. It may be easy to win a couple of thousand votes by distributing free alcohol and food, but in the long run these things destroy our country, these unfair and sick moves will only lead to my country becoming more corrupt. Instead try to win votes through fair means, use your work, your voice, your volunteers, your elocution skills and your manifesto to convince people to vote for you, work hard and campaign well, always remember, the youth of this country are watching- we may not talk a lot, but trust me we are watching every single move of yours.

 

Fourthly, don’t bother knocking on my door once in five years if I haven’t seen you do any work in the previous five years, I want you to be visible, I want to see you on the ground, I want to see you working hard, I want you to be efficient and caring, don’t ask me for my vote if you have spent the last five years sitting in your palatial bungalows, eating my money and using government privileges, if you’ve hit the snooze button for five years and you’ve suddenly woken up during the elections, you’re a part of the problem and we won’t waste our precious votes on you.

 

Next up, don’t you dare use violence, threats and muscle power to win elections, India is a country which admires peace and non-violence. Why should innocent people be killed and hurt simply for you to win an election? India doesn’t deserve violent and crude politicians, we deserve more compassionate leaders who will guide us and inspire us. Let me also add that if you have a criminal record or if you’ve been involved in a crime, it’s actually shameful that you even have to courage to come out and ask for our votes. How can we have strong laws and regulations when our own lawmakers are lawbreakers?

 

I also want you to remember that this country is governed by a Constitution, you are morally and legally responsible to the Constitution of this country, don’t give out careless and harmful remarks which tarnish our Constitution. We need leaders who will follow the Constitution, not leaders who will put the Constitution on an elephant and sing praises to it, but not actually follow it or even read it.

 

Always remember to shed your elitist and privileged attitude, no matter who you are or how much power you have, the Indian people will always have more power than you, don’t do silly things like hurting a toll booth attendant simply because he asked you to pay for using the road which was built with public funds, don’t skip security lines at airports and use extravagant VIP privileges, don’t demand to be treated specially, you aren’t deities to which we need to come with offerings!

Remember the greatest and most powerful leaders of the world have always been the ones with the most humility and grace.

 

I could keep listing out more things I want to change, but I will  stop with a few more small ones- don’t hinder our day-to-day movement for your political road shows and rallies, why should ambulances be stopped or why should school buses be made to wait simply so that you can parade your supporters around and chest thump about yourselves?

Be environmentally conscious, don’t overdo the tacky banners and posters, don’t litter our cities with party leaflets and hand slips, clean up after your rallies and don’t use loudspeakers at 11 in the night, trust me- hell hath no fury like a sleepy 19-year-old woken up by political jingles.

 

Like always, I send my best wishes to you all, I will responsibly go and vote for the best candidate  (I will stand in the line at the polling booth unlike many of you who will barge into it)

Remember the fact that we are many and you are few, the Constitution begins with ‘We the people of India’ it doesn’t begin with ‘I, the great, chest thumping, super awesome Politician’

My loyalty to my country has urged me to write this letter to all of you, I hope this election will see some changes in your behaviour, I hope you all have a great time campaigning, remember we are watching- every single and small move of yours.

 

With regards

The youth of India

 

Do share this and comment your opinions below!

I’m a human

IN MY OPINION.

I’m a Hindu, I celebrate Holi, Diwali and I visit almost every temple I get a chance to go to, I’m always curious to learn more of the Vedas and one of my favorite quotes is from the Rigveda-” May all be happy, May all be free of Illness, May all see what is auspicious, May no one suffer”
I’m a Muslim, I’ve gone to Sufi shrines and given a “Chadar”, I’ve visited both Sunni and Shia mosques where I’ve been welcomed with open arms, I’ve eaten lovely food during Eid and I’ve always admired the quality of Charity which all Muslims have inbuilt in their culture.
I’m a Christian, I go to church and I’ve read the Bible, I believe Jesus Christ was an ideal man and we all should be a little more like him. I celebrate Easter and Christmas and I’ve studied at Christan Institutions where people…

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