There is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread of its fatiguing climb have a chance of gaining its luminuos summits.
-Karl Marx

Mar 2, 2010

Criticism: Three Idiots

Recently the movie “3 idiots” was released which broke all the past records of success! Really a good movie! It seemed after this movie that either both Raj Kumar Hirani and Aamir Khan had been meeting Kapil Sibbal or Mr. Kapil Sibbal took their class before making film. Film is good editing wise and story moves with pace and thus attaches. The movie starts with the effect of pressure on students in institutes running professional courses. We are shown that how pressure of family, peer pressure, pressure of earning money and a name in society does not allow a youth to be educated. To be educated means is to gain knowledge and to be able to apply that knowledge in practice. But the education methodology is such that it does not allow one to learn but rather in mugging up the subject in order to be successful or get good marks. It is more of a kind of training then education. Inventions, new thoughts and creativity has no relation whatsoever with this training. First a human should be educated and then trained. As far as modern scientific education methodology is concerned, this criticism seems correct. Even our Human Resource Development minister has been emphasizing on this for past one year publically. But the first question is this that is it the reality of our society and its education system? A nation where 77% of population lives on or under 20 Rs per day, a society where 46% of children suffer from malnutrition , a nation where only 7% of total eligible youth population reaches the higher education, can never have the primary question of the education methodology in engineering institutes. The primary question is that why only 7% of eligible youth reaches higher education and why only 1% of total eligible population reaches the institutes offering professional courses. The reason behind is this profit-based system which can never give opportunity to the deserving. The majority of population still lives in darkness of illiteracy. And in this regard film makes a very dangerous point. Aamir khan suggests a boy who sells eggs, milk and iron the clothes in hostel that you do not need money to study in school! But only uniform and a bag and if caught change the uniform and school, these "creative ideas" actually dodges the point that it is the responsibility of state to provide education to all and if it does not then it must be questioned. If the 50% children in India follow the "creative ideas" of film then what will happen? We leave this on the imagination of director. The film never criticizes the government and the system which is root to all problems. It only criticizes the education methodology of engineering colleges, that too without any definite aim and result. This criticism has nothing to do with the majority of youth population.
The second question is even more important. Such toothless criticism only helps in strengthening this profit based capitalist system. These criticisms only complete the hegemony of the capitalism. It happens self-spontaneously and do not always require intervention of state. Ministers do not take class of movie makers for this. The social levers of state do this job on their own. Reformism is one such ideology which does this job. Such films act as safety valve in society. After watching such movies viewer unconsciously looses his subversive (revolutionary and creatively violent) pressure. It creates a false illusion of sensitive nature of this system. Neither Kapil Sibbal nor Aamir Khan or Raj Kumar Hirani can do anything to keep cut throat competition away from education system. The society and the system we live have "social Darwinism" as its principle. That is, survival of the fittest. And here the class of the best is not genetic but is sold in market. The main question is of "purchasing capacity".
The character of Boman Irani, Viru Sahastrabuddhe, is actually the anti-message of the movie. For instance, he explains that life is like a race and if you will not run fast enough the person behind will crush and move ahead of you. Yes, this is the truth of capitalist system. The cuckoo's chick is born in crow's nest and throws the eggs of crow on its birth. Life starts with death. In the struggle of different species only the best survives. But capitalism applies this struggle of different species among humans with fitter and better on one side and less fitter and average on other side and organizes a cut throat competition between them. Darwin's law is for inter species analysis and not for intra species analysis. But capitalism can use it this way only; this is the law of capital. At one more place Viru Sahastrabuddhe tells one more right thing. He explains to Farhan Qureshi and Raju Rastogi that they belong to middle class and lower middle class. You cannot afford the "all is well" philosophy of Rancho. All is not well for you. But Rancho is the hero of film and how can his philosophy go wrong! In the end, Raju Rastogi despite being a below average student despite being expelled from college for some time, gets a job in multinational company! And the interview board is like angels! They are enthralled over the honesty and truthfulness of Raju Rastogi! Now those who have seen these greedy animals, they know quite well what would have been the behavior with him. Farhan Qureshi becomes what he wants to be, a photographer. All goes well. But we all know that in reality if that had been happening then the youth would not have been in such despair.
Movie also presents very insensitive view towards the questions of poverty and gender. Raju Rastogi belongs to a destroyed lower middle class. The picturization of his family is very insensitive. Movie changes to black and white whenever there is scene on his family. His paralyzed father, his poverty shattered mother, his sister -every member is being joked about. As if poverty is not at all an issue! But this is the biggest problem of this society. The only issue for director is the education methodology in engineering colleges. With this, it has also been shown that poor are dirty. Raju's mother uses the same belan to roll the chapatis which she uses to scratch the itch of Raju's father and then serve the same chapati to Raju's friends. What has been found in experience is that poor are great hosts and offer whatever they have with their heart. The way film picturizes the poor family one can easily be prejudiced. At one more place in the film a student, who has exceptional cramming abilities, has to read speech in Hindi for some ceremony in institute. He prepares it in roman script as he does not know Hindi. Our Rancho replaces the words "chamatkar"(miracle) with "balatkar"(rape) and "dhan"(money) with "istan"(breast of woman). After this the speech becomes funny. Although this was done to make the fun of "mugging up" trend in engineering college, but this "absurd humour" experiment shows insensitivity. Then in the whole movie words "balatkar" and "istan" are used to signify various things in the movie, which shows the lack of sensitivity towards women. But the Indian viewers have not that ability to grasp the form of humour so as to discuss the structure and form of humour. Indian cinema has not developed that ability of Indian viewers.
But this is not the main issue. The main thing is that this film on the whole does a reformative criticism of the education system and that too without any operative part. It in no way attaches itself to the 85 % population of this county. The reformative criticism is just what Kapil Sibbal has been speaking of. Its work (not aim) is to strengthen the hegemony of this system culturally and ideologically in mind of those youth who consider changing the structure of this society.

Copenhagen: Hopenhagen to Brokenhagen

Imagine that we are living in a logical world (it’s little hard to do, but do try once). Now think that we get to know that because of emission of CO2 and green house gases, the temperature of whole world is rising and if this is not stopped environment will be seriously damaged. But this can be avoided. Few scientists tell that we need to replace fossil fuel based technologies by alternative technologies which create no such problem. But to do this we would need organized human power. Various nations of world would have met, discuss and then have agreed on a common plan. Those who had technology they would have shared that and those with man power would have shared that. But, alas, the fundamental basis of this hypothetical construction is wrong, so clear all such imaginations from your mind. We are not living in a logical world. We live in an anarchic, inhuman, unorganized, profit blinded and insensitive world. We live in a capitalist world where the divinely given law of competition is crushing every human value and beauty under the wheels of profit. Both humanity and environment are crushed in the collision of profit of corporate houses and multinational companies and the national governments representing them. For example, Lord Oxburgh, the chairman of Shell UK, speaking at the Greenpeace Business Lecture in January 2005, accepted this with surprising honesty: “Whether you like it or not, we live in a capitalist society. If we at Shell ceased to find and extract and market fossil fuel products while there was a demand for them, we should fail as a company. Shell would disappear as any kind of economic force” (Independent, 26 January 2005). And now see this statement with the statement of global warming scientist James Hansen: “The fundamental problem is that fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy. As long as they are, they are going to be used” (Times, 3 December). It’s obvious that a system which is profit centered and has cut-throat competition as its fundamental can think only of immediate profit and, hence, it is tough for it to think over question of environment. The way Copenhagen summit ended could have ended only in that way. Despite being aware of the reasons and solutions of environmental problems the representatives there could not come to a decision. Because here the issue was just not environment. Environment conservation has its own political economy. In a capitalist world which is divided in categories of imperialist nations, smaller imperialist nations, non imperialist capitalist nations, developed nations, developing nations etc, how can the emission cut be on a common consensus be justly done? In the whole summit the main contradiction was - the contradiction between the various imperialist camps.
From the starting of the summit, contradictions between America-European Union and China-G77 started coming into light. Emerging economies, i.e. China, India, Brazil and South Africa, made a group (& called Basic Nations) and started making pressure on the developed nations (mainly on America & E.U.) to follow Kyoto protocol. But, winner of the Nobel prize for "peace", president of America, Barack Obama, made it very clear that they are not going to cut down their carbon emission by 40% to the level of 1990, as set by Kyoto protocol; at the max they can reduce only 17-19% & that is not even to the level of 1990 but to that of present level. But with the increasing share and strength of the capitalist class of emerging nations in the world market, the representatives of these countries were not in any mood of compromise and stooping before America and E.U., and they started mobilizing other G77 nations with them. After this America and Britain started showing their real character. President of the summit (i.e. prime minister of host nation Denmark), Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who was using the summit tactically in the favor of developed nations, presented the Copenhagen accord to other countries just before two days of the end of summit with the hope that in this short period of time these countries will not be able of thinking over it properly and thus, accept it easily. This accord is just a two and a half page document. Generally, the documents of environment summits of U.N. are not used to be so small but what else the imperialist countries can write when they have to just impose their orders fraudulently. As there is no need of explanation, Rasmussen received huge criticism from the emerging and other G77 nations and none of them accepted this accord. After this developed nations started threatening to third world countries by saying that they will stop giving grants and even offered bribe in the form of funds related to this accord, for which any nation who signs the accord would be eligible. But all these tactics failed in pressurizing emerging countries to accept this accord. And, thus, no consensus could be made to reduce carbon emission levels; summit just became a platform of groupism and display of power between the developed and emerging nations for control over world markets. Copenhagen turned from “Hopenhagen” to “Brokenhagen”. The curtain over the "worries" and "serious thinking" of the masters of capitalist world has been uncovered, and once again, the old mordant truth of capitalism has became clear that a system based on the blind market forces gives rise, and can give, only to a cut-throat competition for earning immediate profit, and these capitalist plunderers can never come to any consensus for the long term benefits of humanity and life on earth.
This is an illogical system which is destroying this whole planet along with human life. But, definitely, we do not support the pessimistic destructionist views of those environmentalists who are saying that the irreversible loss to environment is carrying on and very soon it will be too late and, earth's environment will become incompatible for the survival of human life. It is our strong belief that the millions of working masses, sensitive youths, students and intellectuals, who are fighting against this capitalism & imperialism in different countries, will not let the stage of this apocalypse arrive. Before that, this manic and delirious capitalism will be smashed and the process of building a humanity centered society will start taking place. We have full faith on the conscience of humanity.