Vision of Oneness
Swami Vivekananda’s Vision and Indian Womanhood: The Road Ahead, Nivedita Raghunath Bhide, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, Pp 120, Rs 60.00
The status of women is the index of the thinking, progress and objective of a society, be it in any country. In today’s world, we find women usually at either ends of the spectrum – either living behind the purdah or burkha (veil), not allowed to go out alone or attend an educational institution, while at the other end is the woman who goes anywhere, wears what she likes and does what she wants.
According to the Vedas, the purushasukta says that the world came into existence with self-sacrifice of purusha. It gave birth to the whole of existence or the universe in which all the constituents are “interconnected, interrelated and interdependent like our body parts.” The Vedas also said that for overall evolution of the human being, we need to respect diversity as well as “oneness” of existence. Based on this premise, the author, of this book under review, says, “Just as the cells, tissues and organs in a human body are interconnected, interrelated and interdependent, similarly individuals, families, communities and nations are connected.” With this vision of oneness, each man and woman has “a role to play, a duty to fulfil, a mission to accomplish. Here life is not only for enjoyment, but for reaching the oneness, the atman, the expansion of one’s self-consciousness.” A significant aspect of Indian culture is the belief that the innate divinity of man and woman and “the goal of life is realisation of this divinity within. Man’s total life is woven around the central theme of realisation of the self.” Thus “Indian thought views a woman exactly as it views a man – as a person with a destiny,” says Nivedita, the author.
She then expounds on the karma theory and how one’s soul goes through many births for realising its divine nature. The real nature of a man or a woman is the atman, ‘the selfless soul’ and the jivatman in each man or woman resides “in a specific body in a specific mental makeup, experience, functions and actions for further evolution.” Adding further, Nivedita says that in the vision of oneness, an individual is more defined by its relationship with “the other, which is only the extension of one’s own self. Thus the purpose of life is to realise one’s divine nature and employ the body-mind complex to spread harmony and nurture connections within family, community, society, nation and the whole of creation.”
To corroborate her observations, Nivedita discusses the role played by different women since the ancient times, highlighting the role of Sita in the Ramayana, of Gandhari in Mahabharata, the role of Satyawati, a fisherwoman, the role of Kunti, daughter of a chieftain, the role of Draupadi, etc.
What is more, talking of the road ahead, she quotes what Swami Vivekananda said years ago as it is as much relevant today as it was in his time. Vivekananda said the woman was the beacon of light “for the good of all and the welfare of humanity.”
(Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, No. 5 Singarachari Street, Triplicane, Chennai-600005; [email protected])
Mass Media and Communication in Global Scenario, Ratnesh Dwivedi, Kalpaz Publications, Pp 280, Rs 790
The role that media has played till now is apparent to everyone. From making the high Court reconsider its decision in Jessica murder case to the upliftment of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the effect of Indian media is undeniable. In recent days media is seen contributing greatly to the public good but the motive often collides with the commercial interests of media owners. Media as the term suggests being it a medium between the citizens of the country and the Government of India but yellow journalism has made the media lost his way of the betterment of society. The role of today’s media is to play an unbiased role in reporting a matter without giving unnecessary hype to attract the attention of the gullible public with the object of making money only. But on the other side, with the help of global modernisation, the news reach has increased 100 times and can be reached to any part of the country whether it’s through internet or by electionic Media. In such situation learning in detail what all about mass media is, is very important. The book by Ratnesh Dwivedi consists of different research paper to help us greatly in this context.
The subject of journalism and mass communication is so wide that for studying it thoroughly one stop being ending in the piles of books. The new book by Ratnesh Dwivedi “Mass media and communication in global scenario” is a one stop destination for all the passengers of that train. It is a comprehensive research on various different divisions of mass media and communication by taking global references. These articles and paper were either presented or published in international conferences or journals and are presented in written formats to get the area explored by the readers in the particular area.
The book contains compiled research papers and research articles to give various aspects of communication to the readers. The thirteen chapters of the book discusses about analytical study of ‘Sanskrit’ and ‘Panini’; public accountability and media; radio in India; the politics-media equation-exposing two faces of the old nexus through study of general elections; the harmony between ‘right to publish’ and ‘ethical code of conduct’; the two faces of media while covering human right activities in India; social media in governance, political reform and building public perceptions; challenges before traditional media in the age of digital media; changing mutual perception of TV news viewers and programme makers in India; community radio; media and disaster management; history of communication in social system in India across ages and last but not the least international terrorism and operation of media channels.
The book’s first chapter is a paper on Sanskrit and Panini discusses about importance of the ancient sacred language of Hinduism and the great grammarian, Panini, who structured this language with his grammar in the 7th century BC which was later on referred to samskritam. Important issues in today’s scenario like media accountability and that it has to be accountable in the public interest and many others have been discussed by the writer. The papers are referred to the world’s top institutes.
However in my opinion every chapter is worth reading for. The collaboration of different yet important topics in one book is difficult to find. The book is good for providing a glance to different aspects of mass communication and journalism but is not meant for detailed research. Last but not the least, if the price could be more pocket friendly it would have added more points to the book.
Ratnesh Dwivedi is a charter member of George WBush presidential center, one of the most prestigious centres of the US Government and also a member of institute of English studies, university of London. He is also a core member of Amity University. This enables him to provide a global academic and journalistic perspective towards the role of media.