D. P. Dash

गहना कर्मणो गतिः (gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ) | କର୍ମର ଗତି ବଡ଼ ଗହନ ଅଟେ | complex are the ways of action (Gītā, chap. 4, ver. 17)

Professor D. P. Dash
research educator, academic editor, slow professor ...
professor.dpdash[at]gmail.com

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Encounter With My Faded Past

Concrete road through paddy fields, Satyabadi, PuriIn November 2017, I spent a few days in our ancestral village, Dasbidyadharpur (Satyabadi, Puri, Odisha), where we still own some land. It must be a few decades since I spent more than a day at a time there. It is a deeply rural place, both in terms of infrastructure and cultural setting. Most of the villagers recognised me as the grandson of so-and-so and the son of so-and-so. It was an encounter with my faded past. People there uphold a form of life that is rooted in centuries of tradition, which seemed to have been undermined variously by the new developments in post-independence India. In the few days I lived there, everyone was eager to share with me their personal stories of triumph and tragedy. These stories gave me a feel for the complications of being a paddy farmer in India today. But the village air was clean and the nights were starry. Around the village, vast paddy fields laden with paddy kernels rolled out far into the horizon. The experience led me to imagine some kind of a retreat there, where people from different contexts could come to engage in activities and conversations with the villagers, to enhance mutual understanding and envision new futures.

2 comments:

  1. very nicely expressed! the winding road, the verdant greenery, makes the bucolic setting even more romantic!!

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  2. DP, thanks for these lines of reflection. I think I can appreciate what they express. With your 50 years and current major changes in life, you are trying to make sense of it all (the past, including that of your forefathers) and at the same time are looking out for some new signposts (towards the future). Some such signposts, as you realise, may be hidden, though not entirely lost, in your fading past.

    It occurs to me that this process of the past's fading away must have a biological function. It relieves us from the full burden of the past and allows us to gain some healthy distance from many of the not so good memories (the destructive ones) in favour of a clearer perception of the positive and constructive ones, among them perhaps also some hard but meaningful lessons of the past.

    Allowing the past to fade away may help us in being more conscious and selective in this constructive sense, so as to pick up and appreciate the really important signals of the past in all the noise surrounding them.

    Wishing you that some clear and meaningful messages come out of these signals! With my best wishes & regards, Werner

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