Thursday, March 02, 2006

Idealism meets Pragmatism!

Wanderer : hey are you there?
A Pragmatist: yes I am
A Pragmatist: 
A Pragmatist: hello
A Pragmatist: how r u?
Wanderer : I’m good.. wassup with you?
Wanderer : I was wondering.. how much of the research u guys do.. actually are put to any use..
Wanderer : other than being stacked in the dept/insti libraries
Wanderer : I’m sure there are tons of them over the past several years...
Wanderer : how busy are you these days?? (I know you're usually quite busy.. but still..?)
A Pragmatist: yeah true....but then the process of research has to go on
A Pragmatist: coz after months and years of painstaking research, a breakthrough is made
Wanderer : I’m not stopping research from happening
Wanderer : I’m only saying.. make your toil a little more meaningful
Wanderer : share your publications..
A Pragmatist: which may lead to the development of a new product, new theory or new drug
Wanderer : wait
A Pragmatist: yah u r right
Wanderer : let’s restrict to the humanities dept right now
A Pragmatist: the toil must be made meaningful
A Pragmatist: and the publications are usually shared
Wanderer : there are so many social problems that we face today as a society.. and as a nation..
A Pragmatist: and yet profs work on theoretical aspects
A Pragmatist: so what about HSS
Wanderer : can there be empirical study.. which would help a layman understand the nature and severity of the problems..
A Pragmatist: with no relevance to ground realities?
Wanderer : theories.. well.. of course the academic nature has to stay.. but one is the theory Vs practical aspect..
A Pragmatist: well surveys are conducted periodically over different problems
Wanderer: another one is the American theory.. and it's Indian relevance..
Wanderer : as in.. do you have any major Indian theorists??
A Pragmatist: you are right we need to be more practical and application oriented in our approach
Wanderer : who can be safely applied to India.. generating actually meaningful understanding of the Indian society?
A Pragmatist: well true again.....theory building in most branches of knowledge is still in its infancy in India
Wanderer : how would it happen.. if you keep reading American scholars.. and teach the same when you become a prof..
Wanderer : you know..
A Pragmatist: yeah holds good for social sciences, including psychology and also management
A Pragmatist: yeah I do get your point
Wanderer : physics/chemistry/electronics.. and to an extent... economics too..
Wanderer : can be universal.
Wanderer : but humanities can't be!!
A Pragmatist: what’s the way out?
Wanderer : no over night way out
Wanderer : but are we willing to really keenly look for a way out?
A Pragmatist: yeah by its very nature, the study of the human being and human nature is culture sensitive
Wanderer : we have a normal tendency to be inertial change
Wanderer : inertial to change I mean
Wanderer : we as individuals.. and the whole system itself
A Pragmatist: I guess not....coz profs want to stick to the old order of doing things
A Pragmatist: exactly
Wanderer : culture plays too big a role in human personality..
A Pragmatist: so howz your project work coming along?
Wanderer : so do we go on reading American authors.. and try finding connections that do not exit
Wanderer : my project is alright..
Wanderer : how much of your life at IITB is left?
A Pragmatist: no we should study Indian conditions and then build theories which are relevant to this country
A Pragmatist: maybe one year
Wanderer : it's good to talk over messages.. but how do we go about it?
Wanderer : as I said..
Wanderer : our own inertia..
Wanderer : and then that of the system
Wanderer : they're formidable
Wanderer : but unless someone starts... nothing changes!
A Pragmatist: yes and our complete a course, to get a degree, a job etc
Wanderer : that'll get me into a different dimension of philosophy
A Pragmatist: so do you want me to make a start? Or do you plan to make a difference?
Wanderer : I wish to make a difference..
Wanderer : to bring about a change
A Pragmatist: coz this is a fertile ground of study and future research
Wanderer : but obviously.
A Pragmatist: that’s Great!
Wanderer : I’m only one motivated boy
A Pragmatist: you must want something first in order to accomplish it!
Wanderer : need loads and loads of help!!
Wanderer : I’m in talks with a couple of profs. from HSS dept..
Wanderer : and the ppl who're doing the poster competition..
A Pragmatist: Believe in yourself, take the lead, and loads and loads of help shall follow!
Wanderer : alright..
Wanderer : so do I make sense to you?
A Pragmatist: regarding what?
Wanderer : the same issues as I am talking to you about
Wanderer : it's a complex web of issues though..
A Pragmatist: poster competition you mean the one they are planning for the event on Mumbai?
Wanderer : yeah
Wanderer : I was told they were enthu ppl.. wanting to make a difference
A Pragmatist: okay...didn’t know this idea has percolated thru the walls of the dept so soon
Wanderer : Rang de Basanti!
A Pragmatist: yeah I happened to attend one of their meetings yesterday!
A Pragmatist: apt phrase!
Wanderer : 4 pm.. terrace??
A Pragmatist:
A Pragmatist:'ve got all the info!!
A Pragmatist: I’m impressed!
Wanderer : yes I do.. only I checked the mail too late.. else would've been there for the meeting
A Pragmatist: but it goes to all@hss.....
A Pragmatist: how come you get the mails?
Wanderer : I am not on that
A Pragmatist: then?
Wanderer : prof. kd sent it to me..
Wanderer : anyway
Wanderer : now on.. you could do that for me
Wanderer : and next up..
Wanderer : how do you suggest we go about this?
A Pragmatist: so what can I do for you?
Wanderer : coz we gotta work it out step by step
Wanderer : one. it's not you doing something for me..
Wanderer : it's 'we' working together to bring a change!!
A Pragmatist: yeah I know
Wanderer : and yes.. now you can go about expanding the army!!
Wanderer : and marching ahead
Wanderer : I was told.. as for the copyright issues.. we only need the permissions of the authors.. to avail of the theses.. and publish it elsewhere..
Wanderer : I was wondering how useful they might be.. for a layman's understanding..?
A Pragmatist: well, after listening to the whole concept I was quite excited about it, and surely happy that some beginning is being made in HSS dept which has mostly been very dormant
Wanderer : and to actually make some recommendations
A Pragmatist: well however useful or useless they might be, I have made my mind very clear to concentrate my energies to my work for the next one year!
Wanderer : I don't know the exact details of the poster thing.. only want to get more people involved in the mission. which we want to be the next Indian revolution
Wanderer : hey.. am not questioning any of your works here.
A Pragmatist: howsoever much I may be interested in extra curricular activities, I think I’ve had my share of organizing things.
Wanderer : I am only asking you.. since I’ve never really been through one of those PhD theses
A Pragmatist: yeah I know.....I in fact sent a congratulatory mail yesterday to students@hss.
Wanderer : whatever!
Wanderer : the point here is.. I’m not holding an event or two...
Wanderer : for which you'll need to 'organize' things per se
A Pragmatist: appreciating their endeavors and one of the active members, Ganesh asked me to attend
Wanderer : that's fine.
Wanderer : your level of involvement doesn't matter all that much
A Pragmatist: but mobilizing people takes a lot of time and energy and I think there are enough enthu people in the group who will do this
A Pragmatist: yeah I know
Wanderer : but your ideas and references can surely be useful
A Pragmatist: I did give some good ideas yesterday
Wanderer : point me to the enthu ppl..
Wanderer : I’ve already mailed Ganesh
A Pragmatist: and frankly speaking, this is an event on Mumbai and different aspects of it.......I am yet to know how this can be the harbinger of a positive, meaningful change in society?
Wanderer : look.. I don't know much about the poster competition..
Wanderer : I’m only keen on capitalizing on the energies and enthu of these guys wanting to make a difference
A Pragmatist: coz I believe in and work for something only when I am convinced of its intrinsic worth......
A Pragmatist: ok I understand.....
Wanderer : and then figure out.. what are the ways in which they can actually make a positive contribution
Wanderer : which.. for the HSS ppl.. is their research itself
Wanderer : I completely accept that as students
Wanderer : we live in our own limitations.. and have a lot of constraints
A Pragmatist: so since you've already mailed Ganesh, I think he'll let you know all the details.
Wanderer : so anything that demands too much.. is impractical
A Pragmatist: yes sensible stuff.
Wanderer : I only want ppl to do what they can.. staying within their constraints
A Pragmatist:
Wanderer : it's already too late for you probably
A Pragmatist: well, I was drawn to the meeting yesterday
Wanderer : but if only ppl can actually choose relevant topics for their theses..
Wanderer : and make it available to all the relevant ppl... they're doing their share too well
Wanderer : and if the research is empirical.. it adds on!
A Pragmatist: very true
Wanderer : now tell me.. am I asking too much of anyone?
Wanderer : and be straight
Wanderer : I’d like to deal with it professionally..
A Pragmatist: tell me, do you plan to do an empirical psychological/ sociological research now or in future?
Wanderer : coz I believe in it
Wanderer : yes.. I will in future
Wanderer : that'll be more of organizational.. achievement of human potential
A Pragmatist: you are very correct that research must be done on topics and problems relevant to society
Wanderer : maybe on Indian organizational behavior.. motivation..
A Pragmatist: wow that will be so interesting
A Pragmatist: All the very best!
Wanderer : thanks
Wanderer : but talking it over on a chat doesn't get me anywhere
Wanderer : I can't be a complete maverick in an unfavorable system..
Wanderer : where we're obsessed with defunct antique American theories..
Wanderer : which don't even apply to us anyway
A Pragmatist: tell me do you plan to apply an Indian theory in your project?
Wanderer : not in this BTP..
A Pragmatist: yes we need theories and models which are Indian in nature and scope
Wanderer : it's too small in scope to do anything of that kind..
Wanderer : moreover.. I am not applying any theories
Wanderer : as such
A Pragmatist: okay.....but this is a good area to pursue in future
Wanderer : look..
Wanderer : both of us know..
A Pragmatist: ok then we can meet sometime
Wanderer : what we as ppl really need
Wanderer : question is..
Wanderer : how do we go about it..
Wanderer : of course
Wanderer : with due respect to your commitments
A Pragmatist: to discuss your ideas in greater detail
Wanderer : I don't want to discuss my future plans here
Wanderer : that's not the crux of the matter
Wanderer : the crux is about us as ppl.. working together to make a positive difference
Wanderer : and attempting to bring about a systematic change
A Pragmatist: Hey.. .....I myself have been fired with such a passion all my life
Wanderer : and what did you do about it?
Wanderer : are you done doing your bit?
A Pragmatist: and by the grace of the Lord, I received tiny opportunities right here in IIT to make some small significant difference to my environment!
Wanderer : This is admirable indeed!
A Pragmatist: well no.....I’m not yet done coz there's still a long way to go
Wanderer : ........
A Pragmatist: this is only a beginning.....a good one....which surely has boosted my confidence!
Wanderer : good for you
A Pragmatist: thanks
Wanderer : so where do you go next?
A Pragmatist: but I also realize that I have a duty and commitment to my work.....when I would be selflessly working for a cause I held dear, I had a hundred people who opposed me....who sat back selfishly.
A Pragmatist: I don’t intend to fall into that category
Wanderer : ........?
A Pragmatist: but since you've asked for my frank opinion, I do want to take a pragmatic view of things at this point of time.
Wanderer : and that asks you to postpone things for a while
Wanderer : as in.. everything other than your work
Wanderer : work*
A Pragmatist: we may work or in future.....if your ideas interest me, we may even do some research even in future
Wanderer : future's too far my dear
A Pragmatist: when I would be a bespectacled professor and you the head of R&D of some company!!
Wanderer : I am not worried about what'll happen then
Wanderer : excuse me. am not doing R n D..
Wanderer : per se
A Pragmatist: but then we dream about the keep ourselves going in the present
A Pragmatist:
Wanderer : coz that gets into the conventional limitations
Wanderer : anyway
Wanderer : the idea is the league has to break somewhere
A Pragmatist: alright so you want to break all conventional limitations!
Wanderer : coz I see you as a professor.. once again teaching American theories to your students
Wanderer : I’ll do my share of it
Wanderer : and probably one of two of them.. also hating the idea of having to study that
Wanderer : but once again.. being pragmatic enough to want to pass your course and get away with it
Wanderer : and the cycle being repeated forever.. as it's happened for the past two generations
A Pragmatist: listen.......this debate is endless.....
Wanderer : excuse me.. I didn't know we were debating
Wanderer : but anyway
A Pragmatist: well....since we are talking after long....
Wanderer : I wouldn't want to debate.. and waste time..
Wanderer : yours and mine
Wanderer : so let’s exchange pleasantries..
Wanderer : and be done with it
A Pragmatist: you don’t know what I’ve forsaken so I could restrict myself to work
Wanderer : Hi! I’m fine. what's up with you??
A Pragmatist: of course not
A Pragmatist: if that were the case, I wouldn’t have been chatting with you for so long!!!
A Pragmatist: don’t make me angry anymore than what I already am!
Wanderer : don’t' blame me for blowing the top.. when someone's already increased the pressure..
A Pragmatist: alright.....I’ve seen examples of people, some very close to me, who devoted their youth, their entire lives for a cause, only to find the old system back in place!
Wanderer : alright leave it
A Pragmatist: hey I was kidding......the heat takes a lot of time to build up
Wanderer : at least they dared to attempt it
A Pragmatist: in fact I thought of sending a smiling
Wanderer : and moreover... if I don't have the faith to do anything
A Pragmatist: yes I was coming to that
A Pragmatist: If our forefathers did not have the faith to make India free, and to present to future generations a free land devoid of the Englishmen, we would not have achieved our Independence when we did!
A Pragmatist: My own Grandma had been an intrinsic part of this movement, even served terms in jail, lived in harsh conditions in the Sabarmati Ashram when she had been brought up in a cocooned environ full of comforts!
A Pragmatist: We would never have had an uprising in the Independent India
Wanderer : one min
A Pragmatist: of the magnitude and scope of the JP movement
A Pragmatist: which dared to even challenge State Power!
A Pragmatist: yes you wanna add something?
Wanderer : one min
Wanderer : had a friend
Wanderer : anyway
Wanderer : my inspiration doesn't come from the past
A Pragmatist: coz as I said, we may meet sometime soon, coz I have to compose n send a mail tonite
Wanderer : it comes from the future
Wanderer : let me not keep you
Wanderer : good nite..
Wanderer : and go ahead with you work
A Pragmatist: well.....forward looking sons of the Motherland!!
Wanderer : whatever you might like to call!
A Pragmatist: ok thanks.....we shall resume our conversation some other time.......
Wanderer : here's where pragmatism and idealism need to find a balance
A Pragmatist: as in?
Wanderer : the thought the so called motivating past of revolutionary freedom fighters
A Pragmatist: I know I have both idealistic and pragmatic traits in my nature
Wanderer : and the current systematic constraints
Wanderer : anyway
Wanderer : you go ahead.. do your work
A Pragmatist: just that at different points of time, different aspects of our nature becomes predominant
Wanderer : the things shall take care of themselves
A Pragmatist: yeah remember a quote
Wanderer : ?
A Pragmatist: shall share it with you
Wanderer : go ahead
A Pragmatist: "He who made this world, when I was born, shall take care of it likewise, when I am dead.
A Pragmatist: "My part is to improve the present!"
A Pragmatist: I liked it when I first read cannot change the past
A Pragmatist: you don’t yet know the future
Wanderer : but you can impact the future
A Pragmatist: but yes one can certainly make a difference in the present!
A Pragmatist: yeah right
A Pragmatist: the future is changed forever through what we do today!
Wanderer : right!
Wanderer : so either choose to let it be..
Wanderer : or choose what it'll be!
A Pragmatist: or change it
Wanderer : it's upto you!
A Pragmatist: yes My choice!!!
Wanderer : Good night!
A Pragmatist: My will, my choice, my destiny!!!
Wanderer : It was a pleasure talking to you
A Pragmatist: good night dude!
A Pragmatist: yeah same talk serious stuff and I like it.
A Pragmatist: hope our paths cross soon, if God so wills!
Wanderer : you made me realize some shortcomings.. and that'll be helpful
A Pragmatist: And whatever may be His will, I wish you all the very best for your endeavors!
Wanderer : chill!
Wanderer : I’m a little less fatalistic
A Pragmatist: bye and take care of yourself!
A Pragmatist: what? after talking to me?
Wanderer : I usually choose my paths.. and wills..
A Pragmatist: That’s amazing!
Wanderer : as in.. He powers me.. but he doesn't take all decisions on my behalf
Wanderer : he leaves them to me!
A Pragmatist: maybe one day you can enlighten other souls in their path
Wanderer : If He wants me to
Wanderer : chill
A Pragmatist: ok shall wait to hear more next time......
A Pragmatist: good night