Harvesting Habits Holistically: A Viewpoint

habits wordle

By Parambir Kaur, Souradeep Roy, Amritbir Kaur

Editor’s Note: We are all tied down due to some of our habits. We might be the slave of a few of them while we tend to avoid getting drawn into this quicksand.                   

 

THE EVER-REFLECTIVE HABITS                                              

By Parambir Kaur             

          “Oh! I really cannot stop taking tea even if my doctor has strictly advised me against doing so,” exclaimed a friend at a get-together. Now one would say that the speaker has become a slave of his\her habit. Basically someone’s personality is nothing but only a sum total of a handful of habits, some of which one might have inherited and the rest may have been developed intentionally or according to need. And on account of these very habits each human being is different from the other. One can say that these habits determine the quality of one’s life to a great extent. They also ensure the kind of image a person will have in society. The way one talks, one’s choice of words ; the manner in which one conducts oneself on different occasions; the kind of food one eats and the way one eats it; the colours and  style of dress are all, an expression of one’s habits and reflect one’s personality. Even our thought process is influenced by our habits. A deliberate effort has to be made on regular basis, to train one’s mind to concentrate only on the positive beliefs.

Then there are good and bad habits. As a human being is the topmost among the living beings on this earth, it is quite expected that instead of becoming a slave to one’s habits, one should rather govern them. Even otherwise acquiring too many habits tends to make life dull, mechanical and monotonous. Only such a practice deserves to be turned into a habit, the results of which are bound to be positive. When one finds that some habit is doing more harm than good to one’s disposition, there is no reason why one cannot get rid of it gradually, with consistent and conscious effort. And such a being ends up becoming a motivation source for one’s fellow beings, therefore improving the standard of society unknowingly. Taking out some time on daily basis to praise and confer with God is one of the most rewarding habits.

There also comes a time when some practices, instead of remaining merely habits, turn into principles and come to be known as the hallmark of someone’s temperament. Being flexible and able to change one’s behaviour, according to the need of the hour, is a sign of wisdom and maturity. This makes life interesting, boosts morale and eventually paves way for success. The American social writer and philosopher, Eric Hoffer has averred, “Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.”

THE OTHER SIDE   

By Souradeep Roy

          Another school of thought would contend that habits cannot be placed in the category of good or bad. Waking up every day is a habit we all possess. These can be called involuntary habits, that is, habits we all adhere to every day such as the basic act of waking up or sleeping. These habits are essential in the way they regulate the proper functioning of the metabolism of the body. However, in a larger sense, almost everything that we do every day in our lives is involuntary as we are all fashioned to live in a certain way. Modern society in Albert Camus’ opinion is “Rising, tram, four hours in the office or factory, meal, tram, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to the same rhythm – this path is easily followed most of the time.” Thus this routine is but another substitute for habit – the habit of living. This kind of a habit of living in the same dull repetitive existence is neither good nor bad. It is a condition of living, and worse, it cannot be altered. It is a common phenomenon to experience the need of a ‘break’, which sometimes comes in the form of a holiday or sometimes just in the form of a good get-together. What we try to achieve through this is an escape from the habit of living the same kind of life. But such attempts offer only a temporary solution to the larger question of escaping the clutches of a routine. For most, the repetition of everyday events is the bane of living. The first step towards finding a solution to such a situation is the realization that we are after all in a habit of living in a ‘chain of daily gestures’ (Camus). The only solution is in the realization itself because we cannot but feel that no matter how much we would like to, we cannot completely alter the monotony of our lives. The only respite, in such a situation, is in realizing that living life itself is a habit. (This opinion of our everyday life becoming a habit is drawn from Camus’ view of existentialism, a view that finds its complete expression in The Myth of Sisyphus.)

 

SELF-DISCIPLINE

By Amritbir Kaur

Harry S. Truman, the former American President, once remarked: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves…self-discipline with all of them came first.”

With a view to inculcate a sense of self-discipline the authority must be in some or the other way invested in the students. This will help to serve many purposes – it makes the child more responsible towards his duties, makes the process of administration a bit more democratic and also inculcates a sense of pride among the students in their being able to contribute towards the management of the institution. Self discipline is something we all need because it is a vital characteristic of successful people. Why? Because nothing is as easy as it seems. There are always unforeseen challenges and problems on the path to success and achievement. To beat these you must persevere and be strong. Likewise, eating disorders or other problems associated with excess (such as smoking or alcoholism) require will power.

Excessive habits foster low self esteem and lack of self confidence. If you suffer from an obsession and cannot control it, you may blame or punish yourself. Likewise the reverse is also true. Low self esteem may cause some of these problems (eating too much, too little, binging or other damaging disorders), this is a vicious circle.

Self discipline helps you control your actions and make sure you stay on track. It is helpful if you suffer disorders like those mentioned above and need to break out and cure yourself. Please make use of help from friends or counsellors as this will support you in your efforts. Going it alone is very difficult!

 

A DOORBELL

By Souradeep Roy

Tell me, tell me, what is this ordinary?

Where can I find it?

Is it there in my fixed fingers

holding a toothbrush

which sweeps my teeth everyday?

Is it there in my gait

when I walk directionless

towards my college?

Is it there in my pen

which fills white sheets

with utter gibberish?

 

Tell me, tell me, where is this ordinary?

Is it there in the makeshift bus-stop

where I stretch my hand daily?

Is it there in the concern

of a million

over how I became so tall?

Is it there in the hot vapour

of the morning tea

which mixes into the air suddenly?

 

Tell me; tell me more about the ordinary.

Teach me to be concerned

about how I look,

how I dress,

how I speak,

or rather,

how well I look,

how well I dress,

how well I speak.

 

Better still,

create a map of my footsteps

I should tread

from home to school,

from school to college,

from college to office,

from office to the market

and finally back home.

 

Just keep this one request:

don’t stare at me,surprised

after you hear the doorbell.

Human Rights? What’s that?

human-rights-day

Introduction

Our society has gone from bad to worse. The social scenario has been changing rapidly with no certainty about the direction that the existing value system and morality will adopt. We often use the term ‘erosion of values’. This erosion of values is not only to be observed among the students, as is often lamented. We, as adults, are equally responsible for that. This ‘erosion of values’ has led to deterioration of respect for human rights of others. The need for being aware of what our rights as human beings are, was always there but it has become all the more important in the current social scenario. At present we are being invaded by excesses from all sides – be it the excess of information, the ‘atrocities’ against childhood or the illicit advances of the teacher community or the violation of the sanctity of relationship between a teacher and a student. We have had a glorious past of the ‘guru-shishya’ tradition.

In the words of Amartya Sen, “there is need to pay attention to the narrowing of horizons, especially of children, that illiberal and intolerant education can produce….Indeed, the nature of education is quite central to peace in the world….every human being’s identities have many different components, related to nationality, language, location, class, occupation, history, religion, political beliefs, and so on.” Therefore, we can say that the biggest challenge for a teacher is to promote respect and tolerance in the classroom. In 1985, the UGC prepared a blueprint for promotion of Human Rights teaching and research at all levels of education. This blueprint contained proposals for restructuring of existing syllabi, and introduction of new courses and/ or foundation courses in Human Rights. Having declared 1995-2004 as the United Nations decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), it is now in the process of initiating as a follow-up, the World Programme for Human Rights Education.

 

Human Rights Education

Human Rights Education (HRE)has been defined by the UN Assembly as ‘a lifelong process by which people at all levels of development & in all strata of society learn respect for the dignity of other s & the means & methods of ensuring that respect in all societies’.

If we try to analyse the concept of Human Rights and Education (HRE), we can shortlist a few main objectives of HRE. First, to develop an interaction between the society and the educational institutions for a smooth and efficient functioning; secondly, to create a sense of awareness among the citizens so that it helps in realization of the norms and values of human rights and duties inculcated in the educational programme; thirdly, to give boost to research activities.

 

Challenges before the Teacher

According to a survey conducted by Saroj Pandey (2007), a majority (70%) of the sampled teachers lacked awareness about the existence of Human Rights Protection Act in India. Pandey (2007) also concluded from the responses given by the teachers that they have only a vague idea of human rights; they lack the conceptual clarity, which would help them to clearly and unambiguously explain the human rights; some teachers equated human rights with the fundamental rights provided in the Indian Constitution, while others took it as being one and same thing as peaceful co-existence; there were still others, who felt that it meant following the social norms. This survey is just a hint towards the widespread ignorance that prevails among the members of teaching community. So before we talk of the other challenges being faced by the Human Rights Education and how to inculcate them through education, we must be aware of the fact that the biggest and the greatest challenge is modern context is having a clear-cut knowledge what human rights are first of all.

The Child Labour (Prohibition & regulation) Act, 1986 prohibits the employment of children below the age of fourteen years in certain occupations and regulates the conditions of work of children in shops, commercial establishments, workshops, farms, residential hotels, restaurants, eating-houses, theatres or other places of public amusement or entertainment . However, this act does not provide anything for those children whose parents are engaged in low paid, unskilled jobs and are unable to send them to school. The chances of being exposed to child labour at some point of time are very high for such children. We now have the Right to Education vested duly in our Constitution. What remains to be done is encouraging the children to continue to pursue their education for the requisite time period. This is just one instance, there are many such problems that the teacher has to tackle with his own personal abilities.

 

Role of Teachers in Human Rights Education

It is very important for the teachers as ‘diagnostician and prognostician of student behaviour’ to be aware of what the rights of a child as a student are. National Council for Teacher Education has been making efforts in this direction. Since the year 1995, the council has implemented a project called Human Rights and National Values for Teacher Educators. This project has come up keeping in mind the important role that a teacher can play in spreading the message of awareness about human rights.

At the primary stage, the languages and the subject of Environmental Studies is said to be very appropriate for the inculcating awareness in the students about the human rights. But merely inclusion of a subject is not sufficient. A lot more needs to be done beyond that. This is where the teacher enters an arena of utmost importance. It needs to be kept in mind that the efforts towards generating this kind of awareness are not just a poor attempt at completing the course of the aforesaid subjects. The practical actions of the teacher should match accordingly with a view to an effective implementation of human rights awareness.

According to the National Curricular Framework (2005), the objective of the subject of environmental studies is to generate among the students the ability ‘to critically address gender concerns and issues of marginalization & oppression with values of equality and justice, and respect for human dignity and rights’. At the primary stage, a student will not be able to fully comprehend the concept of ‘rights’, let alone having the above mentioned abilities. The magician that a teacher can be, he can very smoothly and spontaneously, without any conscious effort on the part of the students, imbibe these values through activity method. As the old English saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Giving the students the opportunity of creative expression, will help to make concepts more concrete and understandable; facilitate the concretization of abstractions; and will also help to bring in an attitudinal change by affecting the responses both emotionally and intellectually. All this can be done through the medium of e stories and poetry, drama, song, dance, graphic arts and sculpture. Questions might be raised that every teacher is not an artist. But then even every student is not. Teacher can be an inspiring facilitator for helping the students to give a vent to their creative expression, irrespective of the quality of output.

As the students progress in grades, the complexity of the content may be increased likewise. For instance, in the upper primary stage, some topics that give the students knowledge about the basic democratic values can be included. Students can be told about diversity, inequality and about the democratic principles of a government. Gradually till the time students reach the secondary level, the topics can be broad, that is, in context of the whole world. Students should be familiarized with the evolution of human rights all over the world. While imparting all this knowledge the practical aspect should not be ignored at any cost. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the agency of United Nations for Human Rights has given an elaborately enlisted the various activities and approaches that need to be adopted for promotion of human rights among school students at various levels of education.

Table 1: A step-by-approach as given by OHCHR, United Nation Human Rights agency

Remember, be it primary or secondary or senior secondary stage, a teacher can inspire more than the textbooks can and practical teaching is much more effective than just theoretical preaching. For this various activities can be organized. Story and poetry can prove to be a viable media. Among other techniques are drama, dance, song, graphic arts and sculpture. Discussions can prove to be good stimulants if conducted meaningfully. Students can benefit a lot from the field and community trips. This would help to extend school to community.

Teacher’s inspiration can be endless in helping the child to move ahead in life and be an enlightened citizen. Just be there for the child so that you can guide him in being aware of his human rights as well as taking care of the rights of others. Teacher can easily bring home the point that rights come with duties. These values when inculcated among the students would be of tremendous help in rightfully making the world a better place. On a lighter note, don’t be a teacher who says, “Students today we will be knowing what freedom of speech is….hey you sitting on the last bench, just shut up!”

AMRITBIR KAUR

amritbir80[email protected]

 

Feature: ‘Death as an Inception’

???????

The hemlock, bewildered at the transgressive duality, or to be exact – bipolarity of human nature exploits its own attributes. The evergreen, key to tissue erosion , end of a fleshly life as we know of it. Sounds as oxymoronic as it is! But is there a brighter side to it? Can there be a brighter side to death? Can a globally accepted insipid notion metamorphose to anything close to ‘intrepid’? Can our ectoplasm hover its way to a certain pilgrimage? Will the process really set us free? …yes, death can be considered a transcendence to a frenzied state of divine contemplation subverting or mortifying the age old notions regarding death as the terminator.

The profundity of death springs over defying limitations. It is the darkest illumination that surrounds the manifold dimensions and peripheries of life. Death is a threshold that lets u pass on to the other side, a supernatural purgatory endorsing peace. It transports u to the land of divinity and fulfillment girded by the ‘heaven’s rampart’ (that’s how D.G ROSSETTI puts it). Wouldn’t it b nice to glance the Elysian freedom or sense st.peter’s knell?

Life can be an ostentation whereas death purports a sense of realism tainted by reverie. Lord Byron signifies this temperament of unreciprocated realization in the line “Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep, And yet a third of life is passed in sleep “ Can the venture of the deceased be perceived in the other way round inverting the proverbially accepted reckoning? Well, absolutely in my opinion it can, I have my way with words though . Death will be like cheering your way through a dream where you never wake up, you get to live your dream, now that is something you can never establish while you are still breathing. All you need to do is dream a better dream, die a better death.

Depluming the shroud of fear and accepting death as an inevitable consequence to life is the best way to embrace the truth that follows because “Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion” says D.H Lawrence.  Death is only the loss of the enclosure that keeps you bounded. Moulding the aboriginal surmises is the real quest in progress. This piece of work on demise focuses solely on the alternative perception that we can decipher if we put our zeal to it. Death does set you on a brighter but unknown path surprising us in everyway possible. Let us be in awe of this whole new dimension.

The biological vessel is just a slough which we get rid of, when it is time. It’s nothing but a necessary transformation leading to a spiritual probation. Even the hemlock can turn out to be a lucrative sycamore if not approached in a derogative manner. All we need is a twist in perspective and voila!

Finally, a proper illation to death depends on how it invades or pervades our introspective insight that will actually unveil the possibilities of death as a negation or a divine manifestation.

SOUMYA CHATTERJEE

 

The Concept Of Death In Literature

death in literature

The Concept Of Death In Literature

By Atri Majumder

The concept of death is an interesting topic for analysis in literature as it is the foundation stone of the philosophy of almost all litterateurs. One may however argue that there is no logic as to why a vague and incomprehensible subject should play such a dominant role in literature? But isn’t it next to impossible to elude death from our thoughts, let alone speculating about it? To some it is a perpetual, impending probability while to others it is an accepted and immediate, absolute reality.

History teaches us that whatever is beyond the realms of understanding of man is important to him and he loves to brood over it and extract a logical or satisfactory meaning out of it. In the light of this indomitable curiosity of the human race, death gives a perfect space for giving birth to ideas and hypothetical realities. For example the concept of eternity may be found to have its origins in death. Though we are dealing with a singular concept we can’t generalize or place it in a uniform pattern as it is individualistic to the core and variable in nature.
While science has failed to provide us with any valid explanations yet, the concepts provided to us by religion governs our lives to some extent(concepts of Heaven, Hell, reincarnation, salvation, etc).Fear of the unknown gives rise to supernatural ideas and our imagination stretches out to another world-the world of the dead. Another aspect of death is sorrow, the indelible pain it inflicts on life and it can thus be interpreted as the most significant emotion of life. All these ideas are reflected in literary creations and they form different ideas in the readers’ mind.
A serene acceptance of death is found in these lines of Emily Dickinson:”Because I could not stop for death/He kindly stopped for me”, while John Donne wants to metaphysically earn a victory over death:”Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so…..One short sleep past, we wake eternally, /And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!”.
The Romantic poets, Keats and Shelley saw death as a means of escape from ‘the weariness, the fever, the fret’ of life. While Keats writes “I have been half in love with easeful death”, Shelley’s personal despondency is best reflected through “I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!”
The pointless massacre of life fed as cannon fodder, and the vainglorious heroism associated with martyrdom are echoed in the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and many others. Albert Camus, the French novelist and philosopher, made a witty observation in his journal on March, 1936:”It is death which gives gambling and heroism its true meaning.”
Thousands of elegies, dirges and requiems have been composed which constitute some of the best literary creations of all times. Tennyson universalized his personal grief in his famous poem ‘In Memoriam’, a requiem to his friend Arthur Henry Hallam; while Walt Whitman laments the death of Abraham Lincoln in “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”.
Suicide is another debatable and interesting topic related to death that emerges in many literary works. While to some it is an act of cowardice, to others it is just the product of sheer hopelessness or that evanescent situation where one loses the meaning of existence. The preoccupation with suicidal thoughts has been expressed vividly in the confessional poems of Sylvia Plath:”And I/Am the arrow,/The dew that flies/Suicidal…”(Ariel).On another note,Julian Barnes justifies suicide in a somewhat crude manner-“…life is a gift bestowed without anyone asking for it;that the thinking person has a philosophical duty to examine both the nature of life and the conditions it comes with;and that if this person decides to renounce the gift no one asks for,it is a moral and human duty to act on the consequences of that decision.”(The Sense Of An Ending)
Thus death is a subject for deep contemplation to most litterateurs as is self-evident from their works.But the question that arises is what kind of an impression does it create in the reader’s mind?Does it change change the philosophy of a person and does the haunting thoughts of death govern our lives to some extent?Or is it just a momentary flight of poignant emotions, a means of escapism from thestaggering burden of life?How do we comprehend this ultimatum-do we accept it as a stoical renconciliation with an inevitable denouement?Do we lead our lives in fear of plunging into the abyss of infinity,of being deprived of time,of leaving many desires unattained?Are we living inside a perepetual cycle of life and death?

Paper on Chetan Bhagat: Tribhuwan Kumar

Research Culture

2 States: The Story of My Marriage : A Tale of Young India

chetan_bhagat_151110

Dr. Tribhuwan Kumar
Assistant Professor of English
Dept of English & Foreign Languages
SRM University, NCR Campus
Modinagar, Ghaziabad, U.P. – 201204
&
Joint Editor,
Ars Artium: A Peer Reviewed-cum-Refereed International Journal of Humanities and
Social Sciences

 

Chetan Bhagat is an Indian author, columnist, and motivational speaker. He is the author of five bestselling novels novels – Five Point Someone (2004), One Night @ the Call Center (2005), The 3 Mistakes of My Life (2008), 2 States (2009) and Revolution 2020 (2011). All five books have remained bestsellers since their release and two have inspired Bollywood films. Bhagat’s debut novel Five Point Someone which has been adapted into the 2008 blockbuster bollywood movie Three Idiots has established his fame as an author of international repute. He got the Indo-American Society’s the Society Young Achiever’s Award in 2004 and the Publisher’s Recognition Award in 2005. The New York Times called Bhagat ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’ (http: //www. nytimes.com /2008/03/26/books/ 26 bhagat.html?_r=1). The famous Time Magazine has counted him in the ‘100 Most Influential People in the world (http://www.time. com/time/ specials/packages/complete list/0,29569,1984685,00. html) and Fast Company, USA has listed him as one of the world’s ‘100 most creative people in business’(http://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative –people /2011/chetan- bhagat-writer).
2 States: The Story of My Marriage is the fourth novel of Chetan Bhagat. The novel is about an IIMA couple’s struggle to marry over the cultural differences. It’s a story of an inter-state marriage in India; a Love story of a Punjabi boy Krish, and a Tamil Brahmin girl Ananya and marriage of paranthas and idlis, paneer and coconut. Krish and Ananya, the main protagonists, are lovers but contrary to the usual practice they do not elope. They, instead, choose to convince their parents to approve of their tying the nuptial knot. This book also dwells upon an age-old North India versus South India conflict.
2 States: The Story of My Marriage is an autographical novel. It is considered to be inspired from the real story of the author and his wife Anusha who belong to Delhi and Tamil Nadu respectively. The novel presents a vivid picture of the IIM Ahmedabad life. It is basically moves around two IIMA students Krish and Ananya. This couple cue from two different states in India and thus they face hardships in convincing their parents for the acceptance of their marriage. Generation gap, communication gap and cultural gap – all are thus amalgamated brilliantly. The story begins in the IIM Ahmedabad mess, where Krish, a Punjabi boy from Delhi sights Ananya, a Tamilian girl from Chennai, quarreling with the mess staff about the food. They become friends in a few days and decide to study together every night. In time they become romantically involved with each other. After finishing their course both of them get good jobs, and have serious plans for their wedding. The story is based on how they struggle to convince their parents for the marriage, and eventually succeed in doing so. It is narrated in a first person point of view in a humorous tone, often taking digs at Tamilian and Punjabi culture. The novel ends with Ananya giving birth to twin boys. They say that the babies belong to a state called ‘India’. Inter-caste marriages are still a taboo in India and let alone an inter-state marriage of a Punjabi and a Tam Brahmin.
This novel is excellent because it conveys how youngistan fights oldistan to get the approval for marriage. The boy tries to get acceptance from the girl’s family and the girl tires to get acceptance from the boy’s family while both of them are trying to get acceptance from their respective families. The story closes with Krish’s marriage with Ananya, where he is able to unite the two cultures of the two states together. The Punjabis and the Tamils dance around the couple and according to Krish it is the attainment of the greater purpose for which he decided to convert his love into an arranged marriage: “Only for the sake of uniting the nation” (Bhagat, 2 States 267). It is the voice of the millions if youths who fall in love with somebody and want to marry but fail mostly due to this socio-cultural disparity.
In the author’s view, the next issue that attracts the attention of the reader is the exploitation of students and teacher relationship, students and parents relationship and youth life in colleges and universities. Chetan Bhagat’s campus novel 2 States represents the voices the youth of emerging India. Through this medium he tries to bridge the gap between the young generation and the old generation. It begins with the academic life of the main characters of the novel, Krish and Ananya, in IIM Ahmedabad. It represents the voices of the youth pursuing education in the Indian Institute of Management. It mentions how intelligence outwits beauty in the IIM common admission test – CAT. Bhagat writes about the selected students of the institute in general and the girl students in particular that the students in IIM get admission because they can solve mathematics faster than 99.9% of India’s population:
…girls don’t get selected to IIM for their looks. They get in because they can solve mathematical problems faster than 99.9% of India’s population and crack the CAT (Bhagat, 2 States 3).
Bhagat is not a critic. He only sees things in the way they appear. And this gives his writing a natural touch. In the recent times when the entire country is uniting India against corruption Ananya represents the voices of the youth who dare to speak what is right and what is not. . She finds the food served to the students unfit and unwell. She supports the idea of complaint against the mess worker. She hopes if it is complained against him the quality may improve. She dares say, “And that is why you don’t improve. Maybe they should complain” (Bhagat, 2 States 4). But Krish is the one who accepts things blindly and knowingly. Krish knows that the food is tasteless but he does not complain against it. He fears the glare of the mess worker. He does not want to be called a freak by complaining the food. He simply follows: ‘Live and let live’.
Ananya represents the voices of the modern youth who believe in the complete freedom of the fair-sex. She believes in the equality of men and women. She knows her rights and does what she wants. She likes to wear shorts and smoke cigarettes. She does not care the criticism of others and their feelings. She only cares for what she likes. She does not like people patronizing her. She thinks modern women are intelligent people and intelligent people do not like to be instructed unnecessarily. Ananya shares her opinion with Krish in a conversation with him. Krish reads a topic from the marketing case, ‘Nirdosh – nicotine-free cigarettes’. And the very name of cigarette makes Ananya feel like a real smoke. She responds, “Who the fuck wants that? I feel like a real smoke (Bhagat, 2 States 19).” Krish gives Ananya a dirty look which makes the latter react, “What? Am I not allowed to use F words? Or is it that I expressed a desire to smoke?” (Bhagat, 2 States 20) Krish wants to know what she wants to prove by showing her over-smartness. And this makes Ananya consider him that male should know that women are intelligent people and they know what they should do and what they should not:
Nothing. I want you to consider the possibility that women are intelligent human beings. And intelligent people don’t like to be told what to wear or do, especially when they are adults. Does that make sense to you? (Bhagat, 2 States 20)
Bhagat does not forget to reiterate his most common theme of his stories i.e. premarital sex between friends. Besides focusing on the campus activities and relations among the students, he points his finger very tenderly and affectionately on the topic of sex. And in his this favorite topic he prefers his heroine to take the initiative. Like other lady characters of his novels Ananya dares to kiss her lover Krish in his room. And thereafter they make a premarital love in the girls’ dormitory. However Bhagat makes the situations and the boring books responsible for that, it is true without doubt that he wants to give voice to the needs of the modern youth who do not believe in the traditional beliefs about virginity and chastity but only know their physical needs for love and affections. Krish explains:
Needless to say, one thing led to another and within two weeks we had sex. You put a boy and a girl in a room for a week and add lots of boring books, and sparks are sure to fly (Bhagat, 2 States 26).
Bhagat has exposed the lacking security system of the IIMA dormitory disciplines. The freedom of students to visit each other’s dormitories that Bhagat has expressed in the book might raise a question whether it is safe to put one’s ward in the IIMA hostel. Whatever maturity the youth have attained but the Indian parents are still much concerned with the virginity of their children mostly girls. But according to Bhagat, girls and boys in the IIMA hostel are free to visit each other’s dormitories even at night and there is no objection spending nights together in each other’s rooms – particularly girls’ rooms.
Bhagat has a very keen mind to criticize the common follies of the country. In this novel Bhagat has very beautifully presented the Indian folly called Dowry. He means to state that dowry is “a resident evil” in the North India (http://www.residentevil-movie.com/site/). Krish’s mother wants to cash him in gold and other gifts coming with the bride. It is this reason, perhaps, that she does not approve love marriage and the love of her son Krish and his beloved Ananya.
Bhagat in his novels does not only point his fingers at the social issues but also he does not spare the common problems the country is facing. In 2 States he reveals a fact about the Indian Police that everything is possible in India only if the wrong-doer has money in his hands. Krish kisses Ananya at the famous Marina Beach and is caught by the police but he is able to handle him only in fifty rupees. It is a kind of ‘money solves all the problems’ in India. The constable shouts at Krish and grabs his arm with anger but when Krish pays him off everything gets over. Krish remembers,
I took out a fifty. He looked at me and Ananya. ‘Warning,’ the cop said as he took the note (Bhagat, 2 States 98).
In another instance Bhagat is amazed to see that money relaxes almost all the rules in the country. Krish goes to a government-approved liquor shop to buy wine where the rule is not to sell the wine to person who is less than twenty-five. But Krish manages it by paying merely ten rupees extra per bottle. People say that people of the South are very fair dealers. They obey rules and regulations very strictly but the way Krish finds it, it seems they observe the regulations strictly only to get extra bucks from the users. After ten rupees extra per bottle when Krish gets the wine bottles he observes:
It is amazing how money relaxes rules around the country (Bhagat, 2 States 99).
Krish is a patriotic youth. He thinks through an Indians eye and believes in the unity and integrity of the country. He disapproves Indians feeling different and discriminating each other on account of culture, region and language. He wants to marry an intra-state and intra-culture girl from Tamilnadu with a great purpose – to unite the country. He calls the various types of diversities and discriminations of the country stupid and wants his countrymen to end them to be Indians first:
…these stupid biases and discrimination are the reason our country is so screwed up. it’s Tamil first, Indian later. Punjabi first, Indian later. It has to end…. National anthem, national currency, national team – still, we won’t marry our children outside our state. How can this intolerance be good for our country? (Bhagat, 2 States 102)
Krish has a unique way to unite India. He suggests the youth of the country to marry outside their state because, he thinks, it is the only way India can be made one. He wants his children not to belong to any particular state but the whole country. About his kids he says that they will neither be Punjabis nor Tamils but they will be only Indians:
– they won’t be Tamil or Punjabi. They will be Indian. They will be above all this nonsense. If all young people marry outside their community, it is good for the country (Bhagat, 2 States 103).
Bhagat’s fourth novel 2 States is more anecdotal than fictional. In this novel he recollects his falling in love with his then beloved and now wife Anuskha. Through his personal story he wants to generalise the issues concerning social and economic barriers in the way of marriage. Marriage is a very pious ceremony in India. It is treated and organized with preferred priority in all the states of the country. Through Krish, Bhagat represents the voices of the youth who do not believe in social or economic disparities. India is one. It should not be divided by more than political boundaries. All the people of the country should be free to settle a business, do a job or marry in any part of the country and there should not be any restriction in this regard. But due to social customs and caste discriminations marriage outside the boundary is a far cry. People in the same country feel like foreigners. In this novel Bhagat beautifully deprecates the social and linguistic differences in the people belonging to different states and also their discrimination on the basis of their colour, face, language and styles.
Works Cited
• Bhagat, Chetan. 2 States – the Story of My Marriage. Rupa & Co. New Delhi. 2009.
• http: //www. nytimes.com /2008/03/26/books/ 26 bhagat.html?_r=1
• http://www.time. com/time/ specials/packages/complete list/0,29569,1984685,00. Html
• http://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative –people /2011/chetan- bhagat-writer