Hidden Persuaders!?

Sometime back I read about the book “Hidden Persuaders” written by Vance Packard in 1956. It is interesting to note that the observations made almost a century ago seem more relevant today! At least in India….May be I am wrong Hidden persuaders are keeping their “iron grip” on the masses, almost everywhere like a curse! May be their ‘kind’ varies! Somewhere it is glamour, at others it is power, still others are followers of a religion…some others are simply salesmen!

The author of the book believes that the right of privacy of our minds and of our existence as dictated by our inner self is a basic and important human right. But the Persuaders have “invaded this privacy of our minds”. The author asserts that ‘it is this right to privacy of our minds – privacy to be rational or irrational – that I believe we must strive to protect”. Unfortunately, that striving is visible nowhere. We seem to be simply being led as the kids followed the mythical ‘pied-piper’.
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And unfortunately today, in the age of consumerism and electronic media, in the age of IT based instant communication, this right is being violated with impunity. Marketing is the new name for such hidden persuasion. Consumers and citizens all over the world have been reduced to hopeless and hapless victims of the alluring charm of the hidden persuader, who cheerfully lends his services to anyone, REPEAT, ANYONE, FOR A PRICE!
Film and sports celebrities are the worst culprits in this regard. They take upon themselves the responsibility of ‘persuading’ people from all walks of life, specially the youth and kids, to buy/use and project the items as crucial to one’s image/pride/beauty/macho-ism, including presenting oneself as progressive! So Amitabh Bachan sells himself to sell an oil of dubious credentials and Hema Malini swears by the purity of the water cleaned by the purifier of a particular brand! The list is long!
I  wonder as to why these charming persuaders sell their conscience to be-fool their unsuspecting fans? The fans because of whom they stand where they are? Only for a few ‘more’ bucks? Also, the moot question is – why are the people so gullible?
In the political arena, Hitler was one of the pioneer persuader who sold the idea of German superiority to the gullible (or too nationalistic) Germans. So much so that they were convinced that the Jews ought to be wiped out from this earth! Political leaders of South Asia, many African and other countries have sold the idea of their National superiority to be at war with the neighbours perpetually! India and Pakistan wre included in that list. So is USA under Trump! The danger to a religion is the most saleable argument to these persuaders.

It also defies logic as to Why intelligent people consider their pride and self image so fragile? Why do they get trapped by the sweet talk, knowing fully well that the celebrities are doing it only for money which is included in the pricing of the product? And politicians are doing for snatching power from their opponents?  People often ignore their own rationality for dubious claims of the charmers! But why?

 
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Mama’s boy

He was always a ‘mama’s’ boy. I hope you know what I mean. I believe in Indian situation, every boy is a mama’s boy. The degree may differ. But he was a mama’s boy by choice. Like most Indian mothers his mother had sacrificed her lot of comfort for his happiness. Seeing her slog (not in the usual sense of the term) he had decided early in life that he would never let her down, come what may. Probably he had written the script for his life quite early!happiness vs unhappiness

As usual, the situation had to change after his marriage. But, although he supported his wife duly, whenever there was a conflict between the two ladies, he stood by his mother, even inviting the wrath of his wife. He did realize that sometimes his wife was more correct than his mother but he stood by his resolution steadfastly. He always thought his mother would not be alive forever…so he could make amends after she departs for her heavenly abode.

Obviously, life and death are not a wishful thinking. As luck would have their youthful time passed more quickly than it should have! When the old lady said final goodbye, they were in their fifties. Was it too late? He made another resolution ….not to let down his wife any more. But the young lady (no more so young) viewed everything suspiciously. Sometimes shocked, at others simply surprised! He would stand by her when she faced the children (now quite grown up), her parents and siblings, even his own relatives! Gradually she understood and started enjoying the new relationship! Jointly they would rue for the lost youthful time but they decided not to waste the time on the past.

Human selfishness knows no ends

Recently read the story “A Family” by Guy de Maupassant and liked it…theme as well as presentation.It is a story about the plight of an old paralytic man who is denied food by his benefactors in the name of his health. The denial seems cruel to the narrator who feels that the entire family is actually enjoying the misery of the old man; and the denial is, actually, not to save the old man but to protect their own source of entertainment. ……A good peep into human psychology which also demonstrates that selfishness and cruelty is not the monopoly of any society and period.

SOCIAL NORMS AND LEGAL PROVISIONS-AT CROSSROADS

Man is a social animal. Probably, the relations between the individual and the society are defined on the basis of this premise. But this assumption does not seem to have been put to test till date. However, frequently occurring cracks in the social relationships and intentional and sometimes seemingly willful violation of social norms tend to put a question mark on this basic premise of social existence. If man is indeed a social animal, why he has started enjoying breaking the social norms/relations? Why the society is persistently failing to keep the individual members committed to the social norms, laws and customs? Can it be explained away by dubbing it as ‘generation gap’ only? Is the individual for the society or vice versa? Is it justified to break the social norms just for individual gratification? Simple yes/ no answers may not satisfactorily answer these questions! Keeping in mind the ever-increasing demand for individual freedom, it has become imperative to evaluate and redefine some of these norms. But most stakeholders have opted to overlook the problem. Educated and so called enlightened people often turn to legal solutions for every problem. Of late, it has been felt that even the governments are keen to impose law only, overlooking the social aspects. But is it logical and justified? Mostly this approach has created additional problems

Standing up and be counted!

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When human rights and human dignity is at stake, it is the duty of every right thinking person to oppose the perpetrators of injustice. When the powers that be are vindictive believe in suppressing dissent with brute power, it becomes necessary to stand up and be counted even at the risk to your limb and life! Some young people have  shown exemplary courage in this regard. But most secure and highly placed/affluent persons in India have miserably failed in standing by the truth and humanity. They have been too scared to risk their cozy habitats!
I am amazed at the capability of Bollywood celebrities to steer clear of all controversial, but still important, issues – particularly if the issue involves powerful people or can offend them. One such recent issue is the stand taken by a young student named Gurmehar Kaur against the state sponsored terror oriented censorship by ABVP. Recently, Divya Dutta, an actress and columnist (and now an author) visited Government College for Women in our city Ludhiana. As expected, she was asked to comment on the issue raging in the minds of all right thinking people. But she refused to comment saying “I don’t want to discuss politics here, neither do I want to comment on the issue. No comments at all”
Readers of her column in the Tribune would know that she regularly comments on the ‘achievements’ of every Bollywood celebrity, talks of love, compassion, courage and character! She always speaks from the high platform of virtuosity but when it comes to real life issues she asserts  NO COMMENTS! Strange! isn’t it? Indian celebrities only want to make “please all” comments!This was me on election morning. Wearing white, wearing a pantsuit, and full of hope.
Compare it with the attitude and behavior of Hollywood celebrities who came forward in hordes to condemn the racial and parochial approach of  President Trump to the American values. Latest to join the ‘fighters’ is JK Rowling, the Harry Potter sensation, who called the bluff of Trump on Women’s day. To Trump’s tweet about his ‘tremendous respect for women’, Rowling re-quoted his earlier comment on women “Just kiss, I don’t ever wait …grab them by the p****y …you can do anything”. Bravo Rowling!
It is shameful that Indian celebrities who survive on the goodwill and money of ordinary people, don’t want to come out in the open to call a spade a spade! Humanity and human rights/justice dont seem to them topics worthy enough to demand their time and reaction. How can justice to poor band have-nots be ensured?

Love at first sight

Can we really have love at first sight ?ramona-crisstea-1The phrase has always been there or almost always. Somehow, I am not convinced. What is love anyway? Is it sitting together, holding hands, kissing and embracing at public places, having sex and/or abandoning each other? I don’t think anyone (except the possessed lover) will agree to this definition of love.

What one gets at first sight is gaining attention and getting/seeking attraction. And that attraction has different degrees—a simple liking to passion, leading to desire for possession! And, possession for what?  As, at first sight, we do not know the person, love cannot simply take roots! What emerges is the desire to come closer, touch, embrace, kiss and do what follows such intimacy! It is simply a physical attraction pushed by carnal desires! This may be a part of the love syndrome but this, per-se,  is NOT LOVE!

Most people professing Love at first sight want the ‘object’ (read man/woman) of their love at any cost! Even if that person does not want to be loved! And these lovers can go any distance to take possession of that object- threaten, throw acid and kill, if need be! They cannot tolerate that ‘object’ to dissent. How can love dictate death?  I have often wondered! LOVE GIVES LIFE AND DOES NOT TAKE IT.

No. Love, as it has been known and understood since ages, in all cultures and societies, has always professed to GIVE and not take! Deliver and NOT possess! One in love is always willing to suffer rather than enjoy at the cost of the beloved. He/she willingly makes sacrifices for, and not kills the beloved.

The principles of modern management seem to have overtaken modern life in every field where success is measured in terms of achievements and possessions, where success is measured by the indices of profit and loss. So in love also success stories in media only report the possessive lovers…and not the ones who worship their beloved silently!

But, throughout history success of love has always been measured by the suffering and sacrifices made by the beloved…the pangs of love have always been the desire of the lovers. There cannot be any love at first sight. Love needs time to develop, mature and take roots. This can happen only when the lovers know each other. And final results of all “love at first sight” cases have mostly been tragic, which goes on to show that the society needs to discover itself afresh-at least in the matters of heart!

AFTER DEATH

What happens when a person dies?
The body remains and the soul flies.
Flies to where?
Nobody knows……
Guesses, surmises everyone throws!
Beliefs galore that it goes to God,
Where Almighty spares not the rod!
To hell he sends the corrupted ones
Heaven’s reserved for those chosen.
“Wicked” souls abound in hell
Scream, cry, in pain they yell.
Some are hung upside down
Roasted, till they turn brown.
Some are lynched with eyes blown
Others are boiled in oil cauldron!
Heaven bound souls enjoy the bounty
Liquor and fruits and milk plenty.
“Hoors”* shower with never ending love
Massage and bathe in perfumed tubs.

Scare of hell and hope for heaven
Provides the people with enough motivation.
To curb their selfish lustful desires
And be good Samaritans till they reach pyres.

Futile rituals with body remain
Out of which the souls nothing gain.
Elaborate procedures we have designed
Dead are buried or to flames consigned.
Some embalm the mortal remains
Others create a watery grave;
Oblivious to the truth that’s all in vain
Whatever we do the truth remains;
Dust we are and to dust return
Whether we burry or whether we burn.

*Hoors—beautiful girls.