When God Created Man

When God Created Man

This is a Guest Post by Tathagata Dey. He may be reached at tatha.blog@gmail.com

From the early days when god created man he sent him alone to this earth. But to contemplate this fact , he gave man the power to reproduce and produce one of its own kind. This phenomenon underlines the fact that man is a social being.

As per Wikipedia, A human society is a group of people involved in persistent interpersonal relationships, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members. In the social sciences, a larger society often evinces stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

When God Created Man Explained

This occurrence in my view resembles an analogy with radicals in the science of chemicals (chemistry). Just like free radicals are unstable in nature by themselves and always search for stability in another radical of heterogeneous nature, in the same way a single man is like a free radical and always searches for stability in another individual of its kind.

The concept of Set Theory in Mathematics can also be beheld as an analogical situation here. If a single man is considered as an element then a set of similar men form a set. Just like a group of men with similar culture and linguistics form a state or a country. Now, the single man is an element of the set state, which in turn is a subset of the superset country and which in turn is a superset of the globe.

When God Created Man - Set Theory Venn Diagram

In a similar way we can find several instances in the art of science which beholds the social nature of men. There are several reasons why the above examples are given. Before that we have to understand the words ‘Art of science’. Now this is so because I am of the opinion that science in itself is an art and art in itself follows a science. As we are aware that everything in science is either a theory or a hypothesis. The above two examples in this context are both theories, i.e. they are proven with experimentation.

To go one step further in the same line, since we are a composition of some elements of chemistry (i.e. our body constitutes of several chemical elements) which when alone are dead (or unstable) but when integrated are alive (or stable). In the same way if we extend the concept of set theory, then every man is a subset and the society is the superset. This proves the fact that man is actually a social being.

Now if we switch our context to sociology, we get the statement that ‘I am the society and every man is the society’. This statement, if considered in the above light does actually have an analogous nature in my view, although we sometimes cannot find a direct analogy but application of our logical reasoning leads to a somewhat similar conclusion. One thing to be kept in mind here is that the above derivation is a hypothesis and critics may differ, which they will (No entity is perfectly stable), contributes further to the fact that the analogy pictured here is only humane.

Illustration

Another fact that fascinates me is that although man is a social being in each and every action he/she commits, but still he/she sometimes is totally unaware of this fact. A modern day person when consuming food at home is served by his wife, now this food in turn is cooked either by his wife or by the maid. The maid in turn is paid by the man. So here (although a very small example) we find a concept of a micro society being formed wherein three individuals knowingly or unknowingly are contributing to their social cause. One more thing to notice here is that each of the three entities here are equally important in their own way. If the maid does not cook then there is no food to eat, if the wife does not serve then there is no satisfaction with the man, if the man does not eat then he is left hungry and dissatisfied and finally if the man does not pay the maid then the maid is left as financially weak.

The above example may sound very compact and satisfying, but one question that indefinitely arises from this, is the fact that who among the three is more important? The answer is relative. As we know everything is relative (remember the theory of relativity). The man has money with which he can buy many valuable things, he has respect in the society and this serves to satisfy his ego. The wife is the befitting counterpart of the man and she is considered the better half of the man. The wife also has social respect and is socially very affluent. The maid on the other hand has less finance and respect but she can interact with the society in a more liberal and free manner, in the sense that she can enjoy the goods of nature without drawing much of unwanted attention , which the man and the wife cannot. So in essence all three of them are left equally satisfied as well as equally unsatisfied at the end of the day.

When God Created Man - Globalization

Another concept of paramount importance here is that our unity lies in our diversity. This fact is eulogized in many spheres of life and in multiple instances. Let us take the most impending and strong point of all. It is inevitably ‘Globalization’. The boon of globalization has in essence improved the global economy in a rapid and mammoth stature. Here we see that people from varied cultures and backgrounds contribute towards a common cause thus making the whole system open source. The advantage being that the whole system is easily customizable and thus subject to rapid improvement and development.

Conclusion

To conclude with, we will go back to the beginning. God created man but did not give a single man every boon. He gave a group of similar and dissimilar men, a group of similar and dissimilar good. This in itself highlights the fact that God created man as a social being.

Every man aspires to be perfect, but somehow or the other he / she cannot (ample real life examples we find in the newspaper every day). The only respite is the Society. We end with the paramount and inevitable conclusion that ‘When left single – I will try, and when together – we definitely can’. On the lines of Probability (Mathematics), 1 man attempting a single task and 100 men attempting the same task collectively , increases the probability of achieving the goal by 100 times. This in itself is the long and short of ‘society’ and we hope for your contemplative thoughts on the same.

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Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar 2015

Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar

Today I will talk about festivities and celebrations of Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar in 2015.

Jagaddhatri also spelled as Jagadhatri (Devnagri: जगद्धात्री, Bengali: জগদ্ধাত্রী) literally means She Who Holds the World or the Protector of the World. She is a form of Devi Durga. She is highly revered in West Bengal, especially in Chandernagore (my ancestral place, a former French colony in Hooghly District, 30 km North off Kolkata) which has the biggest celebration of Jagaddhatri Puja in India.

The epicentre of the festival is in Chandannagar, where it is celebrated for four days with much greater grandeur and fanfare.

Chandernagore also known as Chandannagar
Beautiful Chanannagar (also called Chandernagore)

Image Courtesy: flickr

People come from different parts of India to Chandannagar to enjoy the superb light works. There is also a lot of excitement in my ancestral house in Boro Champa Tola.

Mukherjee House Chandernagore Boro Champa Tola
Thakur Dalan of Mukherjee House, Boro Champa Tola, Chandannagar

Image Courtesy: flickr

Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar

The origins of Jagaddhatri Puja in Chandannagar date back to as early as 1750. It is believed that Indranarayan Choudhury, a local zamindar in Chandannagar started performing Jagadhatri Puja at his home. He was closely associated with Raja Krishnachandrachandra of Krishnanagar who later introduced the Puja in Krishnanagar.

To know more about Jagadhatri Puja read my detailed article in The Advaitist called Jagaddhatri Stotram and Jagadhatri Puja.

Jagadhatri Images

  • Jagadhatri is a popular form of Durga.
  • Jagadhatri Debi rides a lion.
  • She has 4 arms each holding a conch, discus, shaft and bow.
  • Her face is longish with large eyes that spread upto the ears.
  • The snake is her sacred thread.

Below I present some images of Devi Jagadhatri from different places in Chandannagar as taken by my relatives.

Jagadhatri Puja Chandernagore 2015 Murti Pratima 1 1
Notice the different types of chaal (background). They all differ in texture, color as well as design.

Jagadhatri Puja Chandernagore 2015 Murti Pratima 2 1
Jagadhatri Puja Chandernagore 2015 Murti Pratima 3 2a

Traditionally, Jagadhatri is depicted as having the colour of the morning sun. She stands on a dead elephant-demon called Karindrasura.
Jagadhatri Puja Chandernagore 2015 Murti Pratima 4 1

However Jagadhatri is also a symbol of sattva, hence she is also depicted as white. Durga and Kali, symbolising respectively Rajas and Tamas are her counterpart in terms of guna (quality).

Jagadhatri Puja Chandernagore 2015 Murti Pratima 5 1

Story of Goddess Jagadhatri

After Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura, the Gods started believing that since they had given their powers to the Goddess She was able to vanquish the demon. This made them arrogant.

To destroy this arrogance, Brahma appeared before them in form of a Yaksha. He put a blade of grass in front of the Gods and asked them to destroy it.

The Fire God, Agni could not burn it.

The God of Air, Vayu could not move it.

And so on.

So they finally realized that their powers are derived from the ultimate source of power, Shakti who is the supreme Goddess. She upholds the universe with Her powers and hence called Jagaddhatri. Source.

Jagadhatri Puja Light Show in Chandannagar

Chandannagar is world famous for lighting during Jagadhatri Puja, and people from different parts of the world come to Chandannagar to see the amazing lighting.

Jagadhatri Puja Chandannagar 2015 Lighting 1 1

Jagadhatri Puja Chandannagar Lighting in a typical Lane

Jagadhatri Puja Chandernagore 2015 Lighting 2 1
Buddhist Theme

Jagadhatri Puja Chandannagar 2015 Lighting 4 1
Lane Entrance

Jagadhatri Puja Chandernagore 2015 Lighting 5 1
Colorful Lights looking Wonderful against the dark backdrop

Jagadhatri Puja Chandannagar Hooghly District 2015 Lighting 6 1

Light Reflections

— END —

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed reading about Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar.

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Thank you for reading “Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar 2015”. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

Cakes Cookies Muffins Recipes

Cakes Cookies Muffins Recipes

In this post I will talk about some of the best cakes cookies muffins recipes that I have come across in recent times.

Generally when I get a cookie / cake urge, my wife and I head to a great joint called Ofen in Road No 10 Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. I particularly love their blueberry cheese cake.

When we are in Saltlake, Kolkata, obviously no one can beat Kookie Jar at City Centre or Cakes near Digantika.

Long back when I was in Zurich, cookies, muffins, pastries, strudels formed a daily part of my day. I am no longer in Zurich and I am no longer young. Sigh!

Anyway, after joining Indibloggger and Kolkatablogger, I have come across quite a few delightful cakes cookies muffins recipes. I may not eat them, but I can certainly appreciate them from afar.

In this post, I will share some of these delightful cakes cookies and muffins recipes with you.

Cakes Cookies Muffins recipes # 1

Almond Cookies with Coconut and Chocolate Chips

Almond cookies are one of my all time favorites. When I was younger I used to literally devour them. I appreciated the flavor and the melting taste more than the presentation. Now with age, I have a greater appreciation for the aesthetics also, and have also had to cut down on the intake because of expanding middle line. I digress.

I came across Hema’s blog “Mixed Bag” a few weeks back and since then I have been following it regularly. You will find some delicious recipes and quirky food travels (The world’s smelliest festival), apart from other musings.

Cakes Cookies Muffins Recipes Almond Cookies with Coconut and Chocolate Chips

In one of her recent posts she has blogged about Almond Cookies with Coconut and Chocolate Chips. The cookies look ridiculously delicious. And that almond combo is simply too much.

Go ahead and read more here.

Cakes Cookies Muffins recipes # 2

Plum & Cardamom Streusel Muffins

Can anything beat a really good muffin? Yes, probably a better muffin.

Feeling hungry-ish at 11 am? A muffin might help. Glucose-starved after a 30 minutes brisk walk?  Why don’t you try plum & Cardamom Streusel Muffins?

This is courtesy Tasha’s Artisan Foods. Read more about Natasha here.

Cakes Cookies Muffins Recipes Plum & Cardamom Streusel Muffins

The muffins look awesomely yummy and I am sure they are. The presentation is superbly colorful. And they are healthy, made out of whole grain flours.

The recipe and the steps are detailed and thorough. Read more here.

Cakes Cookies Muffins recipes # 3

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

This recipe is courtesy Chandrima. You can know more about her here

In her own words, “flavor of Coffee+Chocolate, who doesn’t love it!” I full agree and second, third and fourth that.

Cakes Cookies Muffins Recipes Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

The cake looks absolutely gorgeous and I am sure it tastes awesome too. The snaps are superb.

The author has given a detailed recipe and step by step guide to make this eggless cake recipe.

Read on here.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading.

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Thank you for reading “Cakes Cookies Muffins Recipes”. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

Should the US be spying on its friends?

Should the US be spying on its friends

United States is the world’s oldest democracy and is supposed to be a “shinning example” to the rest of the world. Yet US has an official policy of spying on everyone whether friend or foe. So should the US be spying on its friends? Please note that this article is a blog response to an NY Times article with the same name.

For over 200 years US has been at the forefront of science and technology. A free and fair society has fostered an environment of entrepreneurship that has propelled US to great heights. But freedom always comes at a price.

US has enemies who are always intent on undermining the just and free way of life. While US has many friends worldwide, it is also the case that there are many enemies who masquerade as friends and try to destroy the great nation. Freedom and homeland security therefore go hand in hand.

But the question still remains, should the US be spying on its friends?

Thus keeping an eye on friends and foes alike should be the underpinning of US foreign policy. Today’s friend might be tomorrow’s enemy and today’s enemy might be tomorrow’s friend. The US government should, for that reason, monitor even allies to understand what is happening in these nations.

When a nation is an US ally, it means that US will defend the nation with all its resources when required, putting at stake US lives (Colby, 2013). Hence gathering foreign intelligence or spying is vital to protect the liberty and security of Americans. Spying on other countries, including allies, is thus  a pragmatic foreign policy.

On moral grounds, should the US be spying on its friends?

All nations spy. Most of them may not have the resources of the US, but they still do the same nonetheless. Spying is vital to protect American interests from the dangers of terrorism, drug trafficking and climate change etc.

If tomorrow one of US’s allies is found to be involved in dumping toxic waste, US is also to blame indirectly. Had US monitored them and intervened early on, a global environmental disaster could have been prevented.

As a superpower, should the US be spying on its friends?

US therefore has a duty and obligation to spy on and monitor the activities of its friendly allies. As a world superpower, US has many enemies some of whom are openly hostile while some pretend to be friends. Spying will help identify the fake allies and hidden enemies, help prevent real enemies from becoming more powerful and help in forging strong bonds with true allies and bring about global peace and prosperity.

References
Colby, E. (2013, Dec 4). Why We Must Spy on Our Allies.

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Thank you for reading “Should the US be spying on its friends?”. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

Blog Migration Woes

Migration Woes from Blogger to Wordpress

Folks!

I am migrating my blog from Blogger to WordPress. There might be some downtime/ technical issues/ broken link for next couple of days, as I fix all the issues one by one.

From Monday, things will be back to normal.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

– Subhodeep

An Analysis of the Batman Franchise

What many seem to have missed is that “The Dark Knight Rises” has very little to with Batman per se. “Batman Begins” was predominantly about Bruce Wayne’s ascent and evolution as a human being, and how he conquers some of his innermost fears – about how he uses his fear as a tool for changing his very perspective of existence. The “villain” had no significant role, certainly not as much as Joker had in the “The Dark Kinght”.

Ras-al-Gul was both a bad guy and a good guy – bad guy when he wanted to destroy Gotham and see it burn, but the good guy when he trained Bruce Wayne, when he taught him how to conquer fear and deal with it. And these are some of the very important and recurring themes in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchisee – the dubious distinction between “good” and “evil”, the thin line between a “hero” and “villain”. As is said,”You either die a hero. Or you live long enough to be a villain”. And this I believe is a really profound statement. Heroes have to evolve and constantly move to the next level or  disappear – a stagnating hero is no hero rather he is a villain. He has instilled in the mind of his followers the expectation of constant betterment. And if he fails to outdo himself, he instantly becomes a villain, even if his standards are way higher than his nearest rivals.

Another theme is how “good” seems to emerge out of “evil” – the seed of “Batman-ism” was sown in the lair of Ras-al-Gul. And this is an important theme in all Nolan’s work – what is “good” and what is “bad”, what is “right” and what is “wrong”, what is a “system” and what would the world be without a “system” and more importantly what is “justice” and who how to determine the framework to decide what is “right and what is “wrong” – and this is sometimes where (I think) his neo-Conservative world view is revealed.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is an exploration of what happens when the “System” starts cracking and finally breaks down at its most fundamental level, when the so-called “99% underbelly” of the society rises from the underground and takes control of the system by getting rid of the “1%” who apparently control everything. In Nolan’s world when the “System” is over-run by the underbelly, anarchy prevails, chaos prevails, mayhem prevails, blood is spilled and ruthless “street justice” is dispensed to 1% “bourgeois” with extreme efficiency – either “Exile” (walking to the other side of a frozen river by walking on it with the risk that one may sink any moment) or “Death by Exile”. The overtones of the French revolution and the “communist/socialist” dictator kind of costume of Bane is all too visible. In this world view there are only two choices – a good “capitalistic” society and a “system” on the one hand, or “anarchy, chaos and mayhem” and “communism”-type-statelessness on the other hand. And all this is beautifully summed up when detective Gordon says after the takeover of Gotham by Bane “this is not the next level of evolution .. some thugs have taken over”.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is thus where Nolan explores this idea using Batman, Catwoman and Robin as tools – the idea is more important than all the characters put together. 

“The Dark Knight” on the other hand was an exploration of ideas of “good” and “evil” – Joker represented all that is against the “System” and hence he was “evil” and Batman was the epitome of the “System” and thus he was “good”. But the boat experiment towards the end, shows how thin the line is between “good ” and “evil”. As Khan (Nawazuddin Siddique) says in the Hindi film Kahaani (2011), the only difference between police and terrorists is that the police happens to be on the side of the “System” and thus good. The same idea is also re-iterated in the movie Hitman when the hitman asks Interpol officer, “How does a good man decide when to kill?”. And this is a recurring theme in “The Dark Knight” with the final conclusion that the only thing that sets apart “good” and “evil” is humanity, reason, reasonable-ness and empathy (also an important theme in the Brit series Luther where Alice the killer, displays extreme efficiency in killing because of her self-confessed lack of empathy).

At a larger level this is an important (and justified) issue among many “white” Brits – they can see the “System” that they had built over the last 200 years slowly collapsing under the weight of immigrants especially from Asia (many of them illegal) who not only not follow the system, but in fact have no respect for the “System” and follow their own faiths and systems. In fact some declare that their “Faith” is the most important thing – concepts like country, nation-hood, state-hood, patriotism are the foolish rantings of non-believers and anything done for the faith is legal as per them as long as a certain percentage is set aside for the “Central Command”. This is somewhat similar to what Bane does – he takes control of Gotham by first taking control of Wayne Enterprises – as long as he gets to have Wayne Enterprise he does not mind what others have. Thus the Conservative Brit justifiably asks “Is it not foolishness to use our System to willingly allow those to enter our System, whom we know will destroy the very System as we know it?”

These are some of the important themes which really made me think. As a series Batman has been extremely satisfying and as usual the Brits (as compared to Americans) have shown that when it comes to ideas and characterization, the Brits always win hands down.