Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Upper Class and the Green Ways

https://www.facebook.com/aparna.krishnan.902/posts/1384674464925187

We practice 'being green'.
- We buy 'non-CFC refrigarators'.
- We 'car pool' and cycle geared cycles.
- We avoid 'eating out' and splurgeing.
The vast majority in this country have no refrigarators, walk and rarely even own a cycle, and can never afford even 3 meals with dal-rice at home. Why is their simplicity not spoken of admiringly ? The 'carbon footprint' is the smallest. We sit and pat each other's back for our small gestures.
I cannot stand the words 'green' and 'minimalism' any more. With age my willingness to put up with idiocy has come down. Mine and others'.

Comments
Jibin Joy Varghese But don't you think that atleast a sizeable percentage of people inhabiting the concrete jungles are the ones who came there from a village at some point of time? It's not as if all these people in Malls and fancy restaurants are only the ones who were born and bought up in a city, it also include the village boy/gal from a remote village in Andhra/tamilnadu/anyother who works in an IT company in Chennai with a decent salary. So the consumerist urban population you blame basically hails from the same villages you idealize...My view about this is just that people will start being consumeristic once they can afford it... it is not necessarily because the village people are born good hearted and urban people are evil. Take the example of a village in Punjab, they are the same farmers who grow wheat and other crops like the ones in your village, but they have all the modern facilities like internet, tractors, SUV etc... it's just that they have good return from their agricultural products. Or would you argue that farmers in Punjab are not as good hearted compared to the farmers in our south side? Just my thoughts...
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Suraj Kumar Been to Punjab?
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Aparna Krishnan People all have the same potential for good and ill. Certian societal structures make for gentler and less destructive living. Those are what we need to understand and craft. Or in the case of villages, protect.
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Vidhya Subramaniyan Whole point is not a bout whether the urban or rural is good .
It's all about living a low impact life .
If you live in city n go jogging instead of gym 

If you live in city n buying less number of clothes 
If you don't waste food ,

If you reduce ,reuse, recycle
Then you are living a sustainable life.( On the whole then city became less populated ,lesspolluted
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Vidhya Subramaniyan If you ultimately wish and understand cleaner air is good for you than living in an air conditioned room, 
If you really don't fancy what a city offers , (as I mentioned earlier)obviously you move towards less fashioned ,towns n villages.
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Jibin Joy Varghese Vidhya Subramaniyan Though the thought is intriguing, how many of us can afford a laid back life in the village at this point of life? How many of us will ask our parents, wife and children to start getting used to a hard life and be able to convince them? The thought is just a romantic impractical thought for most of the urban middle class...
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Vidhya Subramaniyan Ya , the whole world became greedy consumers , including me.The future generations n us in near future will pay the price for living a non sustainable life ..We are buying bottled water.our kids will pay for cleaner air .At least we can educate the younger generation that the real joy is not in battery powered toys .We can slow down a bit that's all.
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Shyamala Sanyal A hut doesn't get a green rating
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Ayshwarya Vijayendran Aparna, their simplicity is not a choice, it is rather helplessness and systemic governmental failure. Those that have a choice, I am not talking about NRIs here, move to greener pastures and are contributing to the consumerist economy. There is nothing to be proud about my fellow country men not being able to afford basic necessities in life.
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Aparna Krishnan There is also a choice, come to a village. There is not the craze for variety one sees in cities. Entertainment is created, not consumed.
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Ayshwarya Vijayendran @shyamala sanyal, thank god the hut is left out of the green rating list! The farmer will be forced to keep paying for the certification process.
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Chintan Bakshi We are surviving and continuing our consumption habits by keeping the majority under poverty.
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Mamatha Balasubramanian They are both functionaries and victims of the system, Aparna. Unless we address the root cause, we'll keep pointing fingers at each other and cause more division. The system is what creates these 2 groups. We all are perpetrators as much as we are victims. I don't say this to assuage my guilt or justify my position. 

I see the changes happening in my own hometown. Agriculture is failing and people look for greener pastures because they cannot sustain themselves in their environment. Kids do an engineering degree or go to polytechnic and find jobs in the city. And that's what the parents want because they know how hopeless their situations have become in the villages and small towns. These kids don't go to cities and become city-dwellers out of lack of integrity but because their situation drives them to do so.

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Aparna Krishnan In our upper class, people moving to jobs in America are certianly not driven to that ma. Its a choice.
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Ayshwarya Vijayendran Brain drain is only an effect. The cause is the root of all social maladies.
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Aparna Krishnan Labour drain could be due to compulsions of survival. The so-called brain-drain is simply due to irresponsibility and selfishness. But as I said, maybe its a good thing !!
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Mamatha Balasubramanian Aparna: Our choices are determined by a sum totality of our life experiences. If you were in the same position of those you call irresponsible and selfish with exactly the same life experiences they've had, you would have made the same choice.
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Aparna Krishnan My observations and concerns are always societal. You do not matter to me. I do not matter to me.
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Aparna Krishnan If we can draw any direction from our collective thinkings we can, thats all.
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Mamatha Balasubramanian Sure. But we don't have to condemn groups. What do we achieve by that? If anything, we've only added to the divisiveness that already is so prevalent in our society.
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Aparna Krishnan btw, i was part of the same privileged set. i studied in a good college, i wentr abroad for two years. i kicked it all and returned, and moved to a village. it was a difficult and lonely period in my twenties as i groped in the dark then, but i had the optimism and (over)confidence of youth on my side. i am just saying this to say that our choices are ours ma.
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Mamatha Balasubramanian And I matter, just as much as you matter. Because you and I are as much a part of the society.
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Aparna Krishnan We need to face realities starkly. Ours and societies. However difficult and hard it may be to look into the mirror. It is then that change has a chance.
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Mamatha Balasubramanian We can look at the mirror without having to dismiss groups of people.

And if I were in your situation, had the life experiences you had, I probably would have made the same choice that you did.
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Aparna Krishnan you dont matter, i dont matter.
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Jataayu B'luru I agree that hypocrisy in condemnable. But, your comparison is not correct at all. Giving up something, in spite of being able to splurge is different from not having anything in the first place. That's why Buddha walking out of all his riches at one night is praised as great act of renunciation. If a beggar says I'm giving up everything, it is laughable and is not taken seriously. Of course I am not saying that those simple / small steps are acts of renunciation. But they are not to be dismissed worthless with the kind of arguments that you give here. Such small steps do have some effect, in the overall scheme of things
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Aparna Krishnan Compare your carbon footprint with that of your maid, if you have one. After that is you still feel superior, then god help you.
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దామోదర రెడ్డి Jataayu B'luru That's actual shallowness of understanding. 
you are claiming that " villagers living their lives like that , just because they cannot afford luxeries, and has no choice.. and if they can , they too will just think about luxeries."
..it 
is dangerous and common attack....

for a second shift thought to 
what one can give/share;
and with what feeling one can give/share;
and what is worst state, even at which one can give/share; 
upto what one can give/share; 
and what will make people happy; 

this will clearly answer that question of so called 'status quo'. In indian villages , villagers has their hearts and guts to be empty stomach to serve food to one who asked food, may he a bhikshuk or siddha.. no one will deny, even if they didn't have much to eat. and they didn't do that so called 'help' with this moral conciousness that they are helping, but they just feel responsibility to share as human, and found greater joy in seeing them happy. Here they has clear choice to enjoy food, or share.. but they will choose filling another's hunger, with out feel of 'helping'...

they may live in place full of trees.. but they didn't want to cut them and make money,place, from that.. as city people do.. instead they will work to protect them. these are just some minor periphericle things ..

to found true bharatiyata, is to understand villages, harmony with nature, seeking, and spirituality, and true eternal happiness beyond materialism... that's what unify india as nation. to deny that great indianness or bharatiyata as mere 'lack of choice' is nothing but no knowledge, and want of justifying materialistic pleasures one want to enjoy.. and their very own status quo. 

for you buddha may be single one, who has value jst bcz he has so called 'riches' before his renounciation(!), (how much westernised thought it is!)., but for all of true indians beyond this city mainstreem, there are many yogis, and siddhas, from vemana, kashinayana of telugus to so many else through out india.. they are spiritual heritage of true bharat... your thought finally leads towards thinking bharatiyata, and adhyatmikata, eternal happyness to lack of choice.. and it is materialistic ignorance.

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Jataayu B'luru No No. I did not intend to mean anything of that sort దామోదర రెడ్డి. I do admire the virtues and nobility of Indian villages. The discussion is not at all on that count. But, sacrifice and concern for society & nature are not just the preserve of village folk. City dwellers are also humans, they are not demons. I questioned the comparison of Aparna because it is both devoid of logic and does not take into account the practical ways in which human mind works. When it comes to basic materialistic goals - like buying a house, vehicle, enjoying food etc. there is no major difference between city/village folk. If a villager's son gets a job in a city and earns well, won't the villager buy a car? of course, he will. Perhaps, he would also use the car in the service of neighbors more than what a city dweller does, simply because the people's network is better in the village ambience. I gave the Buddha example to highlight the point that sacrifice amidst riches is also a good virtue, not just nobility in poverty. It was not the fault of rich people that they were born in a rich family, it is in the hands of the divine. But how they use the riches is in their hands, and when they do make some sacrifices, why should that be *insulted* by comparing it with deprivation? That is plain silly, according to me... Even in the Indian tradition and literature, the greedy and selfish rich were admonished by poets, but the generous and large hearted rich were praised. They were not abused simply because they were rich !
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దామోదర రెడ్డి Jataayu B'luru again you slowly claiming the 'they are like that as there is no choice.. if they has, they will choose wealth".. although indirectly. you claim "..like buying a house, vehicle, enjoying food etc. there is no major difference between city/village folk given both has wealth." but they are not . there is major differance. one can share their food at their worst.. other can still pass on with their materialistic greed. that's values of village people, even money got in, that will be there. they will choose those values only. 

just like a spiritual person's behaviour even if he got some wealth, is differant from that of materialist. you can't apply common psychology here, and can't assume common 'human nature'. one's rootedness, harmony with nature leads them towards another behaviour. 

city people's materialistic consumption with our heart, even when they can think, and know.. you are justifying that as just mere choice of god that they born there, and not their choice. but their lives are their own choices with their mind,thought,knowledge.. they stupidly, and intentionally buys,and waste food.. from glassed hotels, or from MNC food parks.. just to shocase their wealth. and they are doing it with their choice,and arrogance, not by god's bounding. and a village person doesn't do it even if he got wealth.. they know value of food. urbans uses cars even for small distances, but villages never, even they has wealth(If they got some).. city folks values other human, just like random idiots, never want to understand neighbours, nor know people of next street.. but villagers can never dare to live like that even they got wealth. there are many many differance between psycology of villagers and city people.. even when they both provided wealth(which they actuially do not want, but they want only minimum livlihoods which is again impossible, as city people kills environment as it is their own with their materialistic greed ,and never cared villagers or their rains to survive ). you cannot apply common psycological way with out even living there. 

and i didn't say bad about buddha, but you say no value for so called 'begger's renonciation' . i din't say rich are not fit, but you say begger's renounciation is laughable. actual renounciation is much beyond than renouncing one's riches.. there are many things on the way to renounce arishadvargas, and feelings, and self.

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Jataayu B'luru When you say 'city people' there is a generalization, as if everyone in a city is rich. There are all kinds of people in a city - ultra rich, rich. poor, middle class etc. City life builds up certain traits in people, some good some bad, just like village life. Village life makes it impossible for a person / family to live in isolation, whereas it is possible to certain extent in a city. But, we just can't wish away cities, as they have been existence from the very dawn of civilization, just like villages. Our ancient epics like Ramayana & Mahabharata have their major events happening in cities like Ayodhya and Hastinapura. So, let us not try to play a city vs village dichotomy here. I think we both have more in agreement than conflict.
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దామోదర రెడ్డి Jataayu B'luru it's not wishing away cities, but wishing away their consumption and materialism,greed. it's actually cities who are 'wishing away' villages, by destroying their livlihoods,and destroying their water resources, and want them too into t...See more
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Aparna Krishnan Villages structurally anchor a cerian non-materialism. Just as cities promote it. So the people in both are different.
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Rajesh Pandey It is the story of PLUs and PLTs - people like you and people like them.

When PLUs do something, or something happens to them, then only we are moved.

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Ramanan Jagannathan During my work for chennai flood relief , I was part of a team that did door to door survey of affected colonies around Sholinganallur . 
I have seen homes having LCD TV, fridge , grinder and even induction stoves . How do we categorize these poor peop
le ? 

While I get the fundamental point Aparna ji is trying to make , the dichotomy that is being brought in may not be right . 

Some are simple out of choice . Some people lead simple lives because they don't have a choice . For many who can't afford materialistic goods because of financial reasons, those gadgets are aspirational and people buy this as soon they get a chance . 

I agree with the simplicity point Aparna-ji is trying to make here , but not sure about how it is conveyed . 

The simplicity of some one who doesnt have a choice or who doesn't have 3 square meals is not something that all of us need to be proud of  (If you look at it the other way, a person who is in a city can create more damage to the environment and surroundings because of how cities are designed and whatever they consume less is only helpful.)

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Ramanan Jagannathan for US citizens,the average annual carbon dioxide emissions per person, was 20 metric tons, compared to a world average of four tons. And it has also been found that whatever be the choices a citizen makes, the lowest they can reach is 8.5 tons. This is precisely the problem with the lifestyle choices / design of cities and the trap that we need to guard ourselves against
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