The Uses of Love

Being Tamil Nadu chief minister, M. Karunanidhi recently (Jan. 17, 2010) could not resist the temptation to play high priest of love, surrounded as he was by his family members, ministers and party leaders. They had of course no alternative to hearing him out.

Presiding over the marriage of the son of a close relative of deputy chief minister Stalin, he commanded his partymen to love, ”so that caste is banished for all time to come”.

Love, obviously is not the first priority of the man known more for his political stratagems than for being a Majnu. Ridding society of caste is.

This obviously means that same caste lovers don’t have his nod of approval, even if the boy is a crorepati many times over and the girl a Neelmetal Fanalca conservancy worker! Even if they were in love. In the face of caste, such HImalayan social differences don’t mean a thing to him.

One wonders why, if the CM is so hell-bent on showing caste the door, he does not practice it during elections….giving constituencies with one dominant caste a clean and honest candidate from some other caste! Obviously that would be a nice method to show how the member of a particular caste is a fine person. But most of the time he plays along with the caste card.

One knows that party rivalries badly deface public life in Tamil Nadu. Will Karunanidhi encourage love between scions of top party functionaries of his DMK with those of the AIADMK or MDMK? Or will that affect power structures too badly? Caste discrimination is practised only in villages deeper south, but party politics is practised right here in the heart of Chennai. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to foster love marriages among squabbling parties so that Cupid gambols all over around Fort St George and the new complex being built near Anna statue?

More questions raise their heads. Because in his reckoning caste is such a bad word, will the chief minister encourage those who marry inter-caste more than once? In that case, will the law against bigamy be amended? Only to quell the villain of caste, you know.

What about trans religious marriages? Sometimes communal considerations do come in the way of love marriages. Will his government encourage those forsaking their religions to marry in secular bliss. (Of course he will do this in case both lovers are Hindus…but what about the other religions?)

From the party he runs, from the government he presides over, and from the films he writes, one can see that Mr. Karunanidhi is first and last a politician.

If there is any love in our politicians, it is love of power and position, and all the good things they bring. Love of family of course runs along with this first love.

Love is indeed a rare commodity in this world. This is a world of calculations and mis-calculations. This is a world of power and pelf. This is a world of selfishness and self-seeking.

Love is what took Damayanti with Nala when he lost his kingdom….love is what made Nala run away from her so that she was saved from the suffering that was his lot. Love is what took Moses from Egyptian royalty to the slaves. Love is what made the wealthy father wait for his prodigal son. Love is what made Buddha seek the door of deliverance, not for himself, but for all creatures.

As Jesus said, it is as easy for a wealthy and powerful man to enter the heaven of love, as it is for a camel to enter the eye of a needle.

Not only age-old caste, but all the grand structures of wealth and power will be reduced to dust in the face of real love….By that I don’t mean the infatuation and passion that grip young adults. I mean the magnificent obsession that takes man and woman beyond self into a nameless transcendence.

Meanwhile, the pair whose marriage occasioned the CM’s homilies, are perhaps laughing it all out.
Karthikeyan and Revathi know that an SMS sent as part of a prank brought them together.
Ultimately it is perhaps ‘Spectrum’ Raja who has to be thanked after all.

Breaking news

As a continent hopping musician, Amjad Ali Khan has perhaps flown most aircraft carriers in the world.

Yet, his 34-year-old sarod has travelled with him unscathed all these years.

Till he boarded an Air India flight from Ahmedabad to Bombay for a performance in the city.

In Bombay, when he opened his instrument box he had the shock of his life. He found the front of the wooden belly of the instrument that is covered with goatskin riven in two.

Only a few days back, Amjad Ali Khan’s sarod maker in Calcutta, the eighty-year-old Hemendra Chandra Sen of Hemen and sons had passed away. Even that had rattled Amjad.

When he saw his shattered instrument in Bombay, the effect was therefore more poignant.

Though Amjad did not want to sue the national carrier of India, he did greater damage. He went to the channels with the story of his shattered sarod! Feeling needs to be channelised, you see!

Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel sang a sad raga of apology in lieu of the eroded sarod.

Amjad Ali meanwhile had his wife Subhalakshmi fly in with another sarod from Delhi…..and performed for the C.R. Vyas memorial concert a day later.

The auditorium was full…but the maestro’s heart overflowed with nostalgia for his broken instrument. He is said to have stopped four times in the midst of his raga essay to tune the instrument or because of unhappiness at its tone.

How much anguish the inept AI porters had caused a great artiste!

Imagine the plight of lesser musicians and artistes in the wide wide world.

I know of a talented musician who was almost run over by a rash auto.

A trucker, many decades ago, did not give the phenomenal Jon Higgins occasion to complain. The first non-Indian to perform Carnatic music like a born-to-it Bhagavathar was run over before anybody could say Higgins.

So much for unfeeling fellow humans.

Softly, please tread softly, there may be angels amidst us!

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