WEEKEND LIGHTER: Change is possible
 (October 7/8, 2017)
Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to mgwarrier@gmail.com

Do not miss Section III
A Beethoven connection with
Rig Veda


Cover Story

Change is possible*

This refers to the report “I-T cracks down on black money stashed abroad” (September 30). Prime Minister Modi got ridiculed for his   assertion about black money. He had said in 2014 that he will make effort to bring back black money stashed abroad by Indians and make it available for resident Indians. It has to be said to Modi’s credit that his government created an awareness about corruption and unethical practices in which money played a prominent role. He somehow forgot one thing.
 World over, Government is, "Of the Rich, For the Rich and By the Rich". In some form or the other, legislative process, bureaucracy and judiciary as also electoral processes are owned and managed by the RICH and the POWERFUL. All discussions by the Media, Analysts and activists in the social sector including social media need to be seen in this perspective.
This is simple commonsense, but is usually blacked out by media. If there is a will, there is a way to handle black money, corruption and all the ills that go with these two major tools used by the rich and the powerful to accumulate wealth. There will be resistance from the rich and the powerful as is being experienced by the present government in India.
Just for a change, think of CSR(Corporate Social Responsibility) going up from the present 2 percent to 20 percent or 50 percent, India deciding to exploit the country's domestic assets for economic development, judiciary deciding to fast-track pending cases to decide them within a year of the first posting in any court and restrictions are imposed on the expenditure by government, PSUs and corporates for fighting cases, GOI and state governments agreeing to tax agricultural income on par with any other income and every holder of assets in India being required by law to account and declare the holdings in whatever form and follow procedures that every citizen is being asked to follow under law of the land. The list is illustrative.
Changes can happen any time and hereafter they can be for the better.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
*A slightly edited version was published in Business Standard as a letter on October 2, 2017

News round up


Raghuram Rajan among probables for Nobel Prize for economics: The Wall Street Journal

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan features in the list of probables for this year's Nobel Prize in Economics, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

He is one of the six economists on the list of probable winners compiled by 
Clarivate Analytics, a company that does academic and scientific research and maintains a list of dozens of possible Nobel Prize winners based on research citations.
The entry to the list does not guarantee that Rajan is a front-runner but he is a probable who stands a chance to win.

Rajan, whose three year term as Reserve Bank Governor ended on September 4, 2016, is considered a candidate for his "contributions illuminating the dimensions of decisions in corporate finance", Clarivate said.

The Nobel Prize in Economics will be announced on Monday.

According to Clarivate Analytics, the list of possible Nobel Prize winners based on research citations include Colin Camerer of the California Institute of Technology and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University (for pioneering research in  behavioural economics and in neuroeconomics); Robert Hall of Stanford University (for his analysis of worker productivity and studies of recessions and unemployment); and Michael Jensen of Harvard, Stewart Myers of MIT and Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago (for their contributions illuminating the dimensions of decisions in corporate finance). behavioural economics and in neuroeconomics); Robert Hall of Stanford University (for his analysis of worker productivity and studies of recessions and unemployment); and Michael Jensen of Harvard, Stewart Myers of MIT and Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago (for their contributions illuminating the dimensions of decisions in corporate finance).


Four important developments that did not attract much media attention during the last few days:
1. World Bank has appreciated our Prime Minister Narendra Modi's favourite Project 'CLEAN INDIA' and announced support of 1.5 Billion Dollars for the project. 

2.  The 'Nuclear Energy Agreement' between India Japan has been applauded by 'IEA- Inventions for Energy Alternatives' supporting Solar Energy Exploration and announced that with this collaboration India will achieve a GREAT MILESTONE in the use of solar energy that will be exemplary to the whole world. 

3. Within the next one year GOOGLE is going to provide Free Wifi Service in 100 Railway Stations and are going to train 20 Lakh Android Developers which means that 20 Lakh Youth will get the JOB OPPORTUNITY. 

4. Henceforth CBSC Books will be available online for FREE. Central Minister  had planned this special project. 

*Source: Group emails. Excerpted from a mail received from my friend Rangasayee 



A Beethoven connection with Rig Veda*

Agniva Banerjee

Few things are perhaps as essentially Western as the name Beethoven. A mention of him conjures some of the most elegant images the West conveys: posh people chauffeured to lush concert halls, where they hear natty musicians in tailored suits play on neat arrays of burnished instruments. Hence it is astonishing to know that in some of his most enduring works, he drew inspiration from, among other sources, the Orient.

One of the world's finest string ensembles is in India with a piece by Beethoven, the fulcrum of which is believed to be inspired from a synthesis of various scriptural sources, among them the Rig Veda and the Gita.

Maynard Solomon, considered to be Beethoven's most authoritative biographer, and other scholars have shown that the great composer was familiar with ancient Indian philosophy, and indeed made several references to such ideas in his diary, quoting from translations and interpretations of Hindu holy books.

"Beethoven's late oeuvre greatly expands the variety of topics... expressive or symbolic of religious experience," Solomon writes. "...the sphere of the sacred in late Beethoven... includes invocations of religious feeling and explicit allusions to the deity in the Missa solemnis, the finale of the Ninth Symphony, and the (third movement of the 15th string quartet, the work to be performed in India)."

Solomon writes in the book Late Beethoven, "...it is instructive to consider the aphorism, 'For God, Time absolutely does not exist' that Beethoven took from a writing on Indian religious practices... And it is worth considering the potential connection between Eastern ideas about time or motionlessness and Beethoven's emotional calls for the suppression of his personal passions except those directed toward art and the deity."

It must be mentioned, though, that the era Beethoven (1770-1827) lived in was one when the Orient was all the rage in the West, with the likes of William Jones (1746-94) and Max Mueller (1823-1900) among a long line of orientalists and Indologists.

Befittingly, the vehicle for expressing Beethoven's ideas will be the acclaimed Cremona Quartet, or Quartetto di Cremona, which is on an India-Nepal tour, visiting Mumbai (October 5), Pune (7), Kolkata (9), Delhi (10) and Kathmandu.

"Beethoven writes about (his spirituality) in his letters. He was really passionate," says the quartet's first violinist Cristiano Gualco. "It's great that there's this connection of the piece to India," remarks violist Simone Gramaglia.

"If you talk of the third movement of Op. 132 (short for opus, which usually denotes the chronological order of a work's publication; refers to the 15th), there is music at every level. We can find a philosophical approach... When you rehearse such music, you cannot just talk about intonation... about purely technical aspects. You have to talk about what the meaning of the music is," explains Gualco.

Also on their programme is astring quartet by Haydn, who developed the form (see graphic), and one by Verdi, which is the opera great's only string quartet, in fact, his only known piece of chamber music and his only purely instrumental work.

The programme is not the same for all the cities the ensemble will visit, with a late quartet by Schubert replacing any one of the other three. Beethoven's 15th string quartet is one of the most exhaustively analysed and written-about works of music.

It is part of a group of five (not counting a path-breaking work called the Great Fugue, which was initially a movement in another piece) called his late quartets, which are said to be among the greatest pieces of music ever written.

Upon listening to the 14th, Schubert is said to have remarked, "After this, what is left for us to write?" TS Eliot had a special connection with the 15th, which Beethoven finished in 1825, just two years before his death, while recovering from a serious illness.

Over a century later, the great English poet, in light of his own suffering, albeit of a different nature, wrote to a friend, "I have the A minor quartet (the 15th) on the gramophone, and find it quite inexhaustible to study.

There is a sort of heavenly or at least more than human gaiety about some of his later things which one imagines might come to oneself as the fruit of reconciliation and relief after imm ji I'mense suffering; I should like to get something of that into verse once
Before I die.”

*Source: Speaking Tree, TOI.


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