OMG=Om Ganeshaiya!

 OMG=Om Ganeshaiya!

Happiness Class or Curriculum. What an idea, Sir ji. Whose? HH the Dalai Lama, no less. Where? Delhi govt. schools, as models. And thanks to the most sauve Delhi culture-scene broadcaster Rajiv Mehrotra – he of the PBS fame – a documentary got made on the subject, recently screened at the IIC, Delhi. Dr Binay Panda – he of crack- the-neem-DNA-team, now teaching at JNU, told me “come, let’s see a bacho ka film!”. I thought we will go to Sapru House, like we used to go to as kids growing up in the Delhi of the 60s and the 70s. Sapru House with Children’s Film Society, showed a film every Sunday morning. Pity children grew up and both the venue and society decayed then maybe died.

sachchidanand joshi    sachchidanand joshi

IIC seems the wrongest setting to discuss poverty! All well-heeled come there, including the organisers, who looked at odds with the subject of poor govt school children of Delhi but the filmmaker did justice to the subject. Samina Mishra, did a very good job of putting together this film. Three govt. schools, one each in Rouse Avenue, Lajpat Nagar (With Afghan refugees nearby) and the third school I couldn’t catch end credits, (as too many words roll too quickly), were good sampling of what happiness can mean to some. The film is about the PROCESS not a product. It is about the very idea that in lives of teachers and students there’s little happiness in regular curriculum. By rote we learn to earn notes! That’s our education system, which only recently has become Indianised. The worst part of the evening was a typical academician trying to intellectualise happiness! He missed the total point the film made. Just be. Don’t pontificate. Most social scientists also must earn their salary and keep their jobs, so they create division in society: then it was not like this – an innocent comment in the film – was magnified and made to sound like NOW there’s a huge divide! Wow, seems this fellow in post-film discussion had neither heard of nor suffered the Partition of India, of which I’m a grandchild or direct descendant.

Descending on Delhi for a second tenure at the only cultural institution that’s truly operational and functional – the IGNCA – is Dr Sachchidanand Joshi, who got a second term, finally, after months of being given six months extensions. He has, in the last six years:

  1. Revived a comatose institution
  2. Activated it with programming
  3. Helped outreach virtually
  4. Provided leadership in C19 times
  5. Shifted a massive 24-acre institution in Central Vista, with 300 plus staff et al, to 200 renovated rooms of old hotel Janpath
  6. Given artistes a platform and some earnings
  7. Motivated staff, trusted them
  8. Helped many other programmes of the Ministry of Culture, like managing content and deliveries for Amrit Mahotsav in Tanjore, Baroda and more to come
  9. Trustees trust him and he takes them along
  10. He came, he saw, he conquered. From Raipur to Rajpath that’s Delhi, the seat of govt. power and patronage

sachchidanand joshi
IGNCA Member Secretary Dr Sachchidanand Joshi

Dashavtar! That’s Sachchidanand Joshi for you. Sabhya, Suljhe, Samajhdar. In his second tenure as Member Secretary, he hopes to do lots more nationally and internationally. More power to him. Culture begins at home. His mother is a renowned Hindi litterateur, a Padma Shri no less, Dr Malati Joshi. His wife, Malavika Joshi, is a theatre artiste and educationist. The Joshi family is a complete package! They represent the heart and soul of India. By their cultured behaviour. True culture is inborn. Cannot be bought in a mall.

The idea of Indian culture is being abused of late. There’s inverse pleasure in putting down anything Indian. Western models and lifestyle we want to copy but their work ethics or discipline? Everyone loves to criticise the government, especially a democratically-elected PM. Elected twice. I just ask them: do you have a better choice? No answer. They can’t even come up with a name but they must put a good (mass) leader down. True, there are fissures in society but weren’t these there before? Give the man credit for simple things, if not big. 700 million – read- my- lips – 700 plus million double dose vaccinated! No country has achieved that. That’s whole Europe and America put together. I was driving from Baroda to Shirdi recently. Superb six-lane roads coming up where there were dirt tracks. I went Banglore to Tanjore by road two months ago, wow, what roads. Gadkari works quietly, too. Sitting in Delhi, or sipping champagne in farmhouses of Chandigarh or summer houses of Mussoorie, it is easy to criticise but wake up India. It is happening, right under your nose. Join in to build the India model, don’t just find fault. There’s a national resurgence of things Indian or spirit of India. Let’s celebrate the wonder that is India.

This column will profile one event that made a difference; one person and one idea. In case, you didn’t notice, that’s what I’ve just done above!

Ashish Mohan Khokar is a reputed authority on Indian arts and culture, with 40 years
of exemplary work in the field. He is also hailed as the gold standard of art journalism.
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  • Well said Ashish bhai!We need to be proud of our achievements and start contributing! Only complaining will lead us nowhere! Keep writing!!!!

  • Always a pleasure to read Ashish’s articles. His views have a refreshing frankness and when he praises – Shri. Joshi in this case – or pillories, he does not mince words.
    This article brought back so many memories of childhood, films, books, friends and a certain simplicity in how one viewed the world minus the cynicism and the posturing.
    Hope to get those days back.

  • Very timely and well articulated!👏

  • Great read Ashish ji , enjoyed reading it ,always a pleasure to see you conduct so many promotions & helping encouraging artists .

  • By rote we learn to earn notes!
    Well said

  • Well said, Ashish Ji.
    Talking about visionary leaders, they make the difference. We need to clone them.
    Having met our PM in Ahmadabad, a year before he became PM, I was in total admiration. When I saw him walk around the arena in Houston, Texas, holding up his hands with that of Trump my esteem crashed. Beaming with pride at the Swatch Bharath program while driving down the streets in Bengaluru, my heart sinks at the senseless violence on the butchers. There is plenty of that all around me in Texas. The divides are endless and senseless.
    Rajam Ramamurthy.
    Arathi School of Indian Dance. San Antonio

  • Ashish,
    I totally enjoy your tongue in cheek reviews of events,people.
    Do keep writing on.

  • Ashish, Your articles always come as a fresh breeze of air!!
    Your comments on educational scenario very pertinent.. Further, let me admit that teachers,like the intellectual commenting on the film here, are one community ,who are always way off the tangent, when it comes to discussions in a seminar, or any public fora..(I Am no different either!) . Least productive, sorry to say….
    Thanks again for an absorbing article…

  • Well articulated article.
    Pleasure is all mine to read your articles which have new information.

  • Well written Ashish …as usual

    1/tongue in cheek on the happiness film… Inimitable Ashish style
    2/ kudos to Dr Sachchidanand Joshi on his awesome work
    3/ leadership of India… working.. Showing up in experience… In the Day to day travel

    Keep writing and make that difference in altering thoughts and conversations…. Truly required in this time and age

  • Well written Ashish as usual…

    1/tongue in cheek on the happiness film… Inimitable Ashish style
    2/ kudos to Dr Sachchidanand Joshi on his awesome work
    3/ leadership of India… working.. Showing up in experience… In the Day to day travel

    Continue your writing and make that difference to the thoughts and conversations…. Especially in this time and age

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