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Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Experience Attending A Public Lecture (Organised by MONJANALA) In Balurghat

Last week,I had mentioned in this post that I had been invited by local activists in Balurghat from Monjanala,which is both of a real and virtual community consisting of political activists and intellectuals from West Bengal.I must admit that I was truly excited to attend this and had a very hard day on 26th July (I already have a Statistics class,a Maths class and an Economics class to attend on Sundays and the lecture being timed from 01:00 p.m to about 04:00 p.m was supposed to add to the tiredness but it did exactly the opposite.I was feeling refreshed and intellectually re-motivated,somewhat like a feeling when a cool breeze blows in the evening of a harshly warm day.)
MONJANALA literally translates to 'Window of The Mind'.'Mon' meaning mind and 'Janala' meaning window,MONJANALA etymologically means the window of the mind.How you would approach to it depends on choice but I take it to be the part of the mind that is capable of substantial freethinking.I think this was 'a one of a kind' experience in the sense that in such a suburban area,programmes are not usually organised by organisations that are involved with intense online activism.
Intellectual motivation is something I adore and am always ready to go for.The guests of honour included Santwan Chattopadhyay (Professor at Jadavpur University in the Department of Adult, Continuing Education & Extension),Russel Aziz (Research Scholar at Geoinformatics at IIT Kharagpur) and renowned journalist Ajoy Dasgupta.(Yes,yes I know you find an essence of ideological similarity.)
The lecture was supposed to be on Social Media In Context With The Modern World and was hosted both in English and Bengali,though most of the spoken part was narrated in Bengali (General approach that Public Intellectuals often adopt to.That is why this is called a Public Lecture,not an Aristocratic Seminar on paintings exhibited at The Louvre.) The MS Power Point Presentation demonstrated by IIT Research Scholar Russel Aziz was written entirely in English,though.
All the attendants were served a note typed in Bengali and as we went through the four pages,the set-ups were made ready for the lecture to begin.We were introduced to the special guests by the anchor (who has a day job as a Maths teacher!) and the "conference" began with journalist Ajoy Dasgupta's gracefully intellectual approach on contemporary issues connected with Tahrir Square,Egypt,Arab Spring and subsequently by drawing attention to the birth of the Internet and how it came up with the help of the corporate world that began to gain power after the Cold War,in the early to mid 1990s. I was unaware of The Special 301 Report that India was threatened to with,which WTO claimed would be imposed on India if they did not allow free flow of foreign commodities.The conference laid emphasis on how media acts on people and how it tends to erase the demarcating lines between truth and untruth.Moreover,most of us tend to think we get to find new friends and as such,we often alter the definition of what a friend means to either enjoy the rhythm of the generation or to feed our psychology with a truth that is mostly virtual.Quite frankly speaking,I myself have had a terrible experience about this before and I still suffer some of the harsh impacts owing to people's differing sensitivity but I can assure that even logical minds often loose conscious and indulge themselves in something that doesn't even exist!
Again,industrially operating institutions ranging from big multi-national companies to small,emerging brands are utilising social media to the fullest to achieve commercial success.This according to many scholars,is indulging the young generation,especially adolescents and a lot of men and women are falling prey to the terrible ill effects of globalisation.People are showing increased individualist and consumerist ideologies and this is anything but positive! A very,very large number of women (I myself am a declared feminist.I am just trying to be logical here.) are wasting their knowledge and career to take up to trends such as 'beauty blogging'.Well,of course there is very less to do about beauty in beauty blogging,people are foolishly clicking selfies and scholars in Economics,Biology and even MBA graduates are taking up to wearing poisonous products on their faces and encouraging people to do the same while slowly spoiling a part of the workable human resource base of a country by wasting their own educational qualification,taking up to their so called passion and encouraging a generation to do something as idiotically trivial.

Facebook was emphasised a lot in the conference since common people generally opt for this form of media,i.e social media to connect to each other (and do a lot of useless things as well) but the point was that we were exactly trying to figure out ways that would subsequently help in relieving the civilisation from such tendencies.Since MONJANALA itself is a 
Facebook-based community,we discussed a little on communities and their functions and how in turn they can be operated for promoting public welfare.

Journalist Ajoy Dasgupta speaking on social media covering topics like Arab Spring,Imperialism and the birth and usage of the Internet.Professor Santawn Chattopadhyay and IIT Kharagpur Research Scholar Russel Aziz (From Middle to Right in the front row)
(Photograph Source)

Another important aspect was narcotisation caused by addiction to the Internet.This addiction affects the same part of the brain as does getting addicted to regular consumption of 
alcohol-based drinks.True that this is surprising but this is true and should be taken into immediate consideration.Also,imperialistic governments,like that of The United States of America,tend to motivate the public,like that in the case of the Middle East and other Muslim countries like Egypt to achieve their own imperialistic interests while having absolutely no interest in the welfare of the people.

Professor Santwan Chattopadhyay speaking on social media (The speech was the eye-opener in the conference)

Most of the important aspects were presented to us by Professor Santawn Chattopadhyay and I must say that this was the truly eye-opening part of the entire conference.I was so pleased about his way of approaching and explaining and emphasising that I kept wishing for quite a while if our classes at places were they are not so nice would have been so nice.No student would even remember the word boring if we had a teacher like this among us.Besides narcotisation effect,he also explained us how heinous crimes like rape cases can become trivial if someone posts about their cat's birthday and that very post appears next to the post mentioned in that particular context.It totally spoils the seriousness of the issue.
He quoted Sitaram Yechury to explain how philosophy tends to align the definition of theology in the era of fascists or parties clandestinely or openly following similar principles 'inspired' from fascism,fundamentalism or most forms of autocracy.
He explained us how social media is slowly captivating people in the web and sowing the seeds of human beings opting for being unsocial beings instead of social beings.Most of the time,people are indulged in their own electronic gadgets and so well fascinated with the fantasies of the virtual world,they are forgetting to interact with real,live people in their lives.
The corporate world is making good use of social media and are using this and spending a lot of money behind such prospects to ensure they have a 'steady fan-following' and people are substantially fooled.While people remain virtually involved,their individual as well as social and democratic rights are getting endangered everyday.
Most of the ignorant population (or population that is being brainwashed to be ignorant) do not care about farmer suicides or if someone is making as idiotic and assaulting comments such as 'love affairs' being a reason of farmer suicides.(We knew that Smriti Rani Irani,who is our beloved Human Resource Minister is a Class XII passout,gratefulness to our democratic system that she has legal rights to handle that position,we did not quite know the so called educated agricultural minister Radha Mohan Singh would come out with such a ridiculous opinion or whatever you call it.I myself call it idiocy in the highest civilised manner possible.)
Also,as I already wrote and as a matter of fact,BJP pays Facebook and other forms of social media (handled by the corporate world) to maintain their steady (and huge) number of fans.This is a way of fooling people and doing it on one of the most clandestine and convincing ways.This list also includes Indian National Congress and Trinomool Congress.No Leftist Party was ever found to do so in India.

The conference ended with IIT Geo-Informatics scholar Russel Aziz explaining us how to use social media and how not to use it based on statistical analysis.,which was quite impressive.
There was an emphasise on how to do proper content development in order to reach the public.
Summing it up,this conference was intellectually motivating,interesting and as a matter of fact,the first,actual invitation I received from activists. (16 is actually often too young to be noticed but I am glad I was.) I will be attending such conferences or seminars every single chance I get.They not only impart skills like public speaking,group discussion and linguistic skills in you but help you increase your knowledge while gicing you the opportunity to interact with highly respected and honoured intellectuals.

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