Africa- A land of Enigma

Uncategorized 30 October, 2020

Charles Darwin speculated and rightly that it was Africa and not a Garden of Eden in the near or far east – where evolution of race should be traced. Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore also hailed and saluted Africa, the enigmatic dark continent as the cradle of all civilizations!

However, the lingering effects of Western Slavery for hundreds of years, pervading colonialism, brutal American Imperialism, an exploitative International Economic System to defective and incompetent political leadership, economic mismanagement to wide spread and appalling corruption – the effect of everything on Africa today is very deep rooted and frightening! Surprisingly, nothing of these could really inhibit or kill the African spirit of hospitality!

Our experience is not otherwise. During our recent visit to Nigeria, starting from the Bellboy at Hotel Welcome Centre, Lagos, to the little cute school children in Idumota, to the unknown smiling and welcoming passersby on our way to Ilorin, 250 kilometers away from Lagos and lastly our very courteous customers – everybody and everything overwhelmed us. Visiting Nigeria after such a long time was indeed revealing and refreshing.

The people of Africa have been brutally traumatized. European Colonizers denigrated them for centuries as ‘sub-humans’ and denied them recognition of any meaningful intellectual, cultural or historical accomplishments. Called ‘savages’, millions of Africans were carted off in bondage to Americas as slaves for decades.

At the end of the day, Africa still remains an enigma! George B. N. Ayittey in his book ‘Africa betrayed’ – thus lamented, “Africa is still a foreboding enigma – a land of mystery full of melancholy, contrasts and paradoxes. For centuries, it was a baffling entity that held an irresistible appeal to outsiders”.

Despite everything happened so cruel and inhumane, Africa never lost hope in outsiders. We salute Africa for its everlasting endurance, tolerance, hospitality and the wonderful people with their indomitable spirit of living life in harmony

Women: Not a Goodness , She a Human!

Uncategorized 30 October, 2020

Broken promises on unrealized potentials for generations from the bygone era – this is how perhaps we can explain how women economic empowerment and emancipation worked on our otherwise friendly (!) planet. The price of denying economic emancipation to half of our population is enormous and created the most overwhelming hurdle in the progress of our civilization.

Nothing new, we all know how we treated the womenfolk. They have always been treated either as Goddess or slaves and never a fellow human being with recognition of equal rights and their own aspirations as individuals. Situations might have varied slightly in communities of different race, culture, place and religion, however, the approach towards them surprisingly remained uniform all over the globe.

It took hundreds of years to coin a somewhat honorable euphemism ‘homemaker’ for our mothers, however, in our sleep, dream and breathing, we still find them no more worth than ‘housewives’ – taking care of sexual needs, bearing and rearing the children, cooking and of course, keeping the house clean. All the extraordinary and legendary women heroes of all time failed to douse our enthusiasm towards them.

The price of exclusion and lack of progress is heavy and costly. A study of The United Nations has said “Constricting women’s opportunities in Asian and Pacific nations is costing those regions more than US $ 40 billion annually”. Besides, the exclusion is depriving our community of cleaner administration. On a brighter note, to achieve greater economic advancement, nations like UAE and Bangladesh are today focused on helping women who control more than 80% of household spending decisions. These nations have started reaping the benefits.

If not so much out of our emotions and love for them, in pure economic and investment sense, we will be wiser and better off, if we decide to include them in our lives!

Can a woman be the Decision-Maker?

Uncategorized 30 October, 2020

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen called it the mystery of “missing women” so notoriously predominant in northwestern India. The American Feminist Mary Anne Warren called it ‘gendercide’, also rampant in most populous and progressing China! In our Planet where there are far more men than women – what would be the cost of exclusion? How much do we lose for excluding women in taking more dominant roles in decision making? For generations, we failed to shift our paradigms, fooled ourselves and destroyed our own daughters? In this process, we must have also deprived our planet of possibilities of having a few more Mother Teresas or Mahatma Gandhis!

Early marriage, selective abortions, prostitution, girl-child slavery, human trafficking, minimal birth control, exposure to multiple pregnancies and our social taboo about our girl children ended up to this alarming situation. How many Kalpana Chawla we must have lost because of our mindset about our own daughters.

According to German Scholar Gunnar Heinsohn, the European imperial expansion after 1500 was the result of male ‘youth bulge’. Japan’s imperial expansion after 1914 was the result of a similar youth bulge. He further argues that it was youth-bulge countries, Algeria, El Salvador and Lebanon that saw the worst civil wars and revolutions. According to him the recent rise of Islamist extremism in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan can again very well be linked with Islamist male bulge in these countries. The author further cautions us about the writing on the wall! And the writing is that India and China with their manipulated and skewed gender position, may end up with similar chaotic situations in the near future.

As the precious little time trickles down, the reality becomes more and more ominous and the most important issue becomes clearer. Who bells the cat and who takes charge? Are the women themselves going to decide to gain control of their own destiny or are they expecting the freedom and interdependence as gifts on a platter? We must decide soon!