Thursday, January 26, 2012

Proud to be Indian!

I am sitting at home and thinking to myself.... It's kinda appropriate to be posting a column about Yoko Ono on India's 62nd Republic Day. 'Give peace a chance' , the immortal anthem written by Yoko's husband John Lennon so many moons ago, remains frighteningly relevant today. And there's Yoko, energetically carrying on in her own unique way... raising the bar with each cause she backs.
I shall attend the Governor's 'At Home' this evening, held on the manicured lawns of the magnificent Raj Bhavan, and then rush to watch 'Agneepath'. More on the movie tomorrow.
Meanwhile... here's saluting India. A great nation. Proud to be Indian.

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“Give peace… and women…. a chance!”

Yoko Ono is one hell of a woman. She has guts. And tenacity. She also has tremendous self-belief. As the loathed and reviled wife (and now, widow) of the legendary John Lennon, Yoko has been accused of many ‘crimes’. But I think, her biggest one (according to critics) is that she has refused to buckle under, and disappear quietly into the woodwork. The feisty ‘protest artist’ as she describes herself, is in India to woo and perhaps celebrate the women of this country with a show aptly titled, “Our Beautiful Daughters”. In a free wheeling interview to a daily, Yoko Ono spoke engagingly and passionately about her concerns, making several references to her late husband’s immortal anthem which featured the inspiring lyrics that urged each and every one of us to ‘make the world a better place.’ Yoko insists she has been doing her best to take that theme forward. But the most telling quote in the interview stated, “ The whole world is starting to realize that it was the most unwise thing to have ignored woman-power, to run societies with male priorities.” Yoko articulated what millions of women across the globe deeply believe in, but cannot articulate as lucidly. Yoko also clarified she was never a flag waving activist for women’s rights. She said she had spent her entire life merely being herself, which automatically meant ‘promoting women’. As an avant- garde conceptual and performance artist, Yoko has invariably and inventively tested the limits, challenged stereotypes and broken rules. Unfortunately, the international art world has stubbornly refused to take her seriously.Ditto for the music world. If anything, Yoko has been consistently snubbed by the art elite, most of who happen to be men, as she herself dryly pointed out. But instead of retreating hurt and spewing bile, Yoko has soldiered on, undertaking high risk projects that have generated controversy and comment, but rarely any appreciation.
Women like Yoko Ono almost always generate hostile responses since they cannot be placed inside a neatly labeled box. When she married the man who was acknowledged as ‘the most talented Beatle’, she got savaged in print by John Lennon’s besotted fans that saw her as a weird outsider, a control freak, a gold digger. The fact her husband respected and trusted her, did not count for much. After his brutal murder, she was expected to lie low or preferably, disappear altogether.But she wisely refused to walk away from her husband’s mighty legacy. Against tremendous odds, she hung in there and faced the barrage of anti-feelings that confronted her each time she was seen in public. Her ‘protests’ were viewed as stunts and gimmicks. Her public rebellion was dubbed suspect. And her appropriating John’s persona was called cold blooded and opportunistic. Yoko became the official ‘Evil Witch from the East.’ And even today, so many years later, she remains a persona non-grata in snooty circles.
Women in India are far more open minded and accepting of people like Yoko Ono. She says she has been welcomed and greeted by so many intelligent and beautiful women from the Indian art world. This is an accurate and reassuring observation. Yoko Ono is not perceived as a ‘threat’ by anybody in this part of the world. In America, her Japanese identity may have been held against her. Fans of the Beatles continue to blame Yoko for the split, and she is still made to answer for that high profile break up of the group. Had she conformed to the assigned role and behaved like a groupie (which is what most wives of famous musicians turn into), maybe she wouldn’t have generated so much heat. But Yoko Ono it was who persuaded her husband to pose naked with her for the jacket of their album. And it was Yoko again who defiantly sat next to her husband, holding hands, during their first trip to India. This was at a spiritual retreat in Rishikesh where men and women were segregated and made to sit separately. Expecting Yoko to be a good girl and behave herself was never a part of the plan! Thank God she didn’t disappoint anyone. Let’s wait and see what Yoko does on her second trip to India! Let’s hope she manages to generate shock and awe this time round as well.

16 comments:

Subhorup Dasgupta said...

Disclaimer: The comment is from a male and should be filtered in line with the approach of the post.

With all due respect to the creative talent of Yoko, I still believe that much of her success can be attributed to the presence of John and of course The Beatles in her life. It is pointless debating whether she was responsible for the breakup of the band, since it might have happened anyway, and given the human revolution that all the band members were going through at that time, it is unlikely her absence could have prevented it. What she has been able to achieve in her own life and by her own right is commendable, but whether she would have been able to do it were it not for the fact that she still is Mrs. Lennon is highly debatable.

PS: I thought it was the 63rd Republic Day.

Pooja Rathore said...

Proud to be an Indian .Happy Republic day!

MOHAN MANOHAR MEKAP said...

very nice article very practical

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

Read the article in The Week. How about writing of the evening with Guv. than on Agneepath:)

NAT said...

A nice day to start reading one of your books, though it was published in 2008.

"Superstar INDIA" From Incredible To Unstoppable.

Am half way through....
Really interesting and thought provoking.

Most people would not agree with me but we should never protest and get perturbed with people like Rushdie, Hussain and others, like the recent issue about Rehaman using Hosanna in one of his songs.
Other than giving them importance and creating problems between communities we should leave it to the one above who will be the best judge and strike when required.
I believe the Beatles broke up after the same John Lennon said that they were more popular than Jesus.
Their popularity went to their head. There are many other examples similar in nature, but have stated the above as the topic is on the Beatles.
Cheers!

Anil Kumar said...

I feel proud to be an Indian when I am among Indians who practice Indian values, descency and treat other not so fortunate people as human.

I feel ashamed to be an Indian when I see people aping NANAGA NAACH from west, aping dirty talk from uncivilized people and then broadcasting it so that even kids can learn at young age all the ills of east and west right in his/her drawing room.

I feel even more ashamed to be an Indian when I see educated class of this country try to kill those who show some courage to repair this damaged country by finding technical fault or giving STUPID reasons which can only please muslim minority of this country.

Time has come when even a Thappad will not work...What this country needs is to identify all corrupt people and also identify people who protect these corrupt people and then beat their ass with a oil rich bamboo stick until their ass turns RED LIKE A MONKEY's ASS. This will definitely make many of those who are in parliament to hide in some dustbin.

Janak said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M97P3zoUIos

talaash teaser - half a million hits in just 2 days - forget oooopprah shobha - we are happy with our real entertainer - aamir khan

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goodluck said...

I would like to be a proud human being. That will take care of the rest.

ahmedabadonnet said...

Really proud...
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anshul said...

i am indian n made u to love india,..................
cute wallpapers

NAT said...

@Goodluck and anshul

That's the spirit.

Jai Hind!

Farah Beal said...

How wonderful to think of Oprah and Shobhaa meeting and chatting warmly face to face!
Back in the late 1980's Oprah was still very needy and concstantly mentioned her live-in boufriend Steadman on her shows.
When she became super thin on a liquid diet she invited Steadman on the show to celebrate her success.
She may have hoped that he would publicly propose to her then.
After that show she mentioned him less and less and then not at all.
I think she finally realized that her happiness does not depend on having a man in her life,and that awareness is hard-won indeed.
Farah Beal

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Dr Rakesh Bhargava said...

Most people still know Yoko Ono as John Lennon's wife responsible for the Beatles split.Some even hold her responsible for John Lennon's murder,and as you rightly point out all these people expected or rather wanted her to fade out and disappear after his death.Their logic was that she was after his legacy nd now that she had it, she should have just eclipsed herself. Not many, and I am one of them, knew anything about her extraordinary work in international art or her thrust for women rights and power.I think a fuller writeup on her by someone who can dwell at some length on her various activities,as non-conforming as they are, may atleast open some male eyes and erase or atleast mitigate their bias, however ingrained it may be.
Dr Rakesh Bhargava
rbmusings.blogspot.com

Farah Beal said...

Can't wait to buy me copy of "Sethji"!
Congratulations, Shobhaa!