Monday, January 30, 2017

FAKE NEWS DAMAGES GROWTH OF KNOWLEDGE




By Promod Puri
Education does not stop after school, college, or university studies. Rather it continues. Pursuing knowledge in the fields already studied along with new interests of learning are part of lifelong schooling.
As the formal education ends in early part of life, the journey to explore and gain knowledge goes on. At the same time, knowledge itself keeps expanding.  Once the learning drive starts there is no stop on the knowledge track.
However, knowledge has to be followed intelligently and with open mind.
Its credibility and perception are based on truth and rationales. As our continuing education advances, it generates new studies, thoughts, theories, meanings, and interpretations. With that growth, knowledge gets enriched.
We are the seekers of knowledge as well as its creator, developer, and distributor.
It is at this helm that we can discern its traditional outlets, like books and libraries, newspapers and magazines, radio, and television, etc., are being outpaced and outdated by the surge in the internet and social media.
And this is where we alert ourselves to establish the authenticity and credibility of knowledge attained from online sources. It can prove itself to be wrong and deceptive when produced and shared thru various internet channels.
The buzz word lately is the generation of fake news or information and its circulation.
Google, Emails, Twitter, Facebook, and myriad of websites, etc. are the vehicles moved by our fingertips for mass distribution of news, views, and learnings along with fake stories and misinformation. In the latter case production of such material is so professionally done that unreal casts into real. Believability is established, and its mass circulation starts rolling.
The production of fake news, besides posing a serious threat to bona fide information and knowledge, is a lucrative business as well. A Washington Post story last November during the height of the US presidential election reveals that crooked online entrepreneurs can make about $5000 per month by generating fake news.
When a fabricated story gets viral on search engines like Google and social media like Facebook, it generates money like pouring down from a slot machine. Fake news headlines such as “FBI agent suspected in Hillary email leaks found dead…”, and “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for President”, generated hundreds of thousand of clicks and shares, reveal the potential of this illicit business.
Since the blight of fake news is going to be part of knowledge gathering, the acceptance or rejection of pseudo or genuine information depends on our sensitivity and perception, empathy or apathy. Our personal preferences also play determining role to keep us informed or misinformed while we seek knowledge.
Usually, we select only that information which fits well within our interests, mindset biases, and beliefs.
The production of fake or false news or information, or creation of a thought, an ideology or a campaign, and its spread covers most topics and issues from politics to religion and culture, sciences to medicines, and economics to statistics, etc.
Fabricated information supporting a concept, cult, crusade of morally-revolting motives not only contaminate true knowledge but it is misleading and sinister as well. As of consequence, information literacy is corrupted.
When a fake story or picture on the internet and its various outlets is released, its authenticity is seldom doubted especially by those readers who share its viewpoint.
Professional “gatekeepers” like editors of newspapers or magazines, who reject, allow, or edit an incoming news story or some viewpoints in the traditional institutions, are not the norms in the receiving and delivery systems of the information technology.
Our temperaments, beliefs and even our personal motives are now the “gatekeepers” in the selection and sharing of information. When these attitudes are constantly and willingly being exposed to fake information or stories, fanaticism is created, consolidated, and validated. Convictions and extreme beliefs keep the doors of truth and rationality close.
DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM
Despite this inevitable abuse of the system, the internet provides us a democratic platform which was till now monopolized by the traditional print and electronic media. Social media are open, free, and readily available along with profusion of websites for the dissemination of information, true or false, and viewpoint, rational or irrational.
The phenomenon has led to the explosion of knowledge in its creation, presentation, and sharing. This is not anymore the domain of only professional writers, intellectuals, publishers, or editors.
The Internet and online social media offer the space to express oneself in few words or in lengthy essays without editing or cuts and censorship. A submission, rejected by conventional book publishers, newspapers, or magazines editors, finds easy alternative outlets through various internet channels and online self-publishing with much wider exposure.
Unlike the traditional sources of knowledge, the net in its brief history has spread itself into a vast field covered with mounds of information and knowledge. Personally speaking, I wrote “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions” by just going thru the medium of the internet carrying wealth of relevant articles, research papers, manuscripts, scriptures, and stories.
Numerous reputed and credible websites like Wikipedia are loaded with extensive knowledge to do research, study or write on any subject of interest.
The internet has liberated knowledge for its easy reach and attainment. But in this endeavor, Nobel laureate George Bernard Shaw advises: “beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”.
(Promod Puri is Vancouver, Canada-based writer, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions. Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, promodpuri.blogspot.com).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Life is a Dangal too





dangal

Life is a Dangal too


Film Review: by Promod Puri
Life is a Dangal too.
It is tense play of strategies, techniques and actions, excitement, and madness, defense, and offense, frustrations, and rewards. It is fight against societal wrongs. It is a game of emotions, tears, and joys.
This is the package Amir Khan has delivered on the silver screen in a two and half hour thrill titled Dangal. Life’s dynamics are well portrayed in this masterpiece based on a true story.
In the lead role, Amir Khan plays an odd patriarch who defies, protests, struggles and achieves what he wanted in life. He has a dream. He endeavors to see his daughters as world-class wrestlers. Yes, the real wrestlers, born and growing up in an orthodox and traditionally-rooted rural society, and where only boys and men enter the arena. Himself being a wrestling guru, Amir Khan wants to create space for girls in a field traditionally reserved only for men. Dangal stirs up a storm in the village wrapped in traditions, faiths, and fakes; and where a girl’s childhood is brief and abrupt.
Dangal is a message for the contemporary Indian society to recognize and seek the role of women beyond home and kitchen.
promodpuri.com
promodpuri.blogspot.com

Friday, January 13, 2017

My Companions In Solitude!




My Companions In Solitude!



Yes, I have company in my lonely abode
Just walking in, who are these folks
Arriving and departing
The door is open and revolving
Let the guests come, as they wish
Some offer bloom, others gloom
Joining the pool of
Memories, family, and friends
Karmas’ notes and reports
Complaints, compliances, and compliments
Angst, anxiety, and environments
Weapons, wars, and fights
Politics, poverty, religions and rights
Debates, discussions, and resolutions
Cherishing hopes, jokes, and anecdotes
Along with lively, spirited, and zestful rays
Consciousness also joins the meet
As an in-house voice of Supreme
And the party goes on, with
My Companions in Solitude.

 

-Promod Puri
promodpuri.com
progressivehindudialogue.com
promodpuri.blogspot.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

Meryl Streep Slams Trump At Golden Globes

merilyn-streep“….who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island; Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids in Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy. And Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in London — no, in Ireland I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a girl in small-town Virginia.
Ryan Gosling, like all of the nicest people, is Canadian, and Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts”. NY Times
promodpuri.blogspot.com
promodpuri.com

Friday, January 6, 2017

Versatile Actor Om Puri


om-puriOm Puri, who died January 5, was among the most talented and versatile actors in the Indian film world. Starting his film career in 1972, he belonged to the parallel cinema movement in the 80s which produced some of the most outstanding films exploring various aspects of the Indian society. Om Puri along with Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Raj Babbar were part of the new wave who revolutionized the Indian film industry by setting higher standards with their superb performances and dialogue delivery. Together they smashed the cult worshiping of heroes and heroines of ‘70s and ‘80s who dominated the Indian film scene not necessarily by their acting talents but more by their looks.

promodpuri.com


Thursday, January 5, 2017

A BRIEF UNDERSTANDING OF HINDUISM

By Promod Puri

Why are there so many gods and goddesses in Hinduism? Why worship an idol? Is going to temple mandatory in the faith? What impact does the caste system have on Hindu society? Why do some rituals make perfect sense while others are so vague? What are the secular and diverse characters in Hinduism? What physics principles constitute the sound of Om? What is karma and its role in our day to day lives?

These are some of the many questions which intrigue the non-Hindu mind as well as even among the Hindus especially those belonging to the younger generation.


Wrapped in mystique and antiquity the identity of Hinduism lies in its wide-open structure which allows and let develop diverse and distinct ideologies and practices without any governing body or binding scriptures.

“Hinduism has no traditional ecclesiastical order, no centralized religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet(s) nor any binding holy book; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monistic, or atheistic. Within this diffuse and open structure, spirituality in Hindu philosophy is an individual experience”.
Julius Lipner, author: Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Source: Wikipedia.

Hinduism is not merely a religion or as it is often referred “a way of life”. It is a multi-disciplinary academy as well. It is a democracy of conflicting, contradicting and controversial thoughts and ideologies.

Beyond its practicing rituals, customs, and traditions Hinduism thru its various schools offers comprehensive studies in philosophies, metaphysics, and sciences which cover every aspect of human endeavors.

As such it recognizes diversity of thought. The rational and liberal thought in Hinduism is the very basis of Sankhya School which is one of the several ancient Hindu faculties infusing diversity in the theological philosophies of the religion. Sankhya in Hindi or Sanskrit means number. In this empirical meaning, Sankhya seeks rationality as demonstrated by numeric equation 2+2=4. It rejects 2+2=5. In other words, a concept must go thru rational examination before being accepted or rejected.

An example of its rational and liberal acceptance of thoughts is revealed in Hindu theism in the following statement from the Rig Veda Chapter X, Para 129 which says:
Who knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,
Who knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?
Did He, do it? Or did He not?
Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He.

(Promod Puri is the author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions) 
Book edition

For more reading on Hinduism and other religious, social and human interest topics please visit:
Progressivehindudialogue.com
Promodpuri.com
Promodpuri.blogspot.com