Mantras, Mantris, Malls
Editorial

Mantras, Mantris, Malls

An insight into the life of this ancient land’s people, as it has changed from the age of mantras dating back to the times when the four Vedas emerged to the present era witnessing the ubiquitous presence of mantris as well as urban spaces, including Mysuru, hosting multi-storeyed malls cannot but be a fascinating exercise. A reference to the 138-page book authored by a scholar and published in 1982 by Asian Educational Services serves to get aware of the rich source of the works of chroniclers in many languages tracing the factors and circumstances that lie behind the phenomenal change of which the land’s people are themselves the agents of that change as well as its beneficiaries or victims as the case may be. In a certain sense, the scholars who scripted ancient texts and historians have played the role of journalists in their times spanning several centuries and journalists of our times are eminently playing the role of historians of the unknown future. We owe it in no small measure to both to get the insight into people’s life, with mantris playing the role of spoil-sport.

Customs, traditions and beliefs that have ruled the daily chores of different sections of society to varying degrees, and many of these being still observed have got morphed into a mist inviting the wrath of non- believers and intervention by the government, particularly the Government of Karnataka. The various beliefs are currently in vanishing mode, thanks to the urban ambience of favouring glitz and glamour such as seen in the malls, Mysuru hosting four of them already.

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Preparations for various events such as wedding, house warming, foundation laying, naming of the new-born, 60th anniversary of birth and so on, not to forget the rituals during last rites of the departed souls still mark chanting of mantras by the priestly class, even as the kith and kin are pre-occupied with their chatter, biding time for the lunch that is assured on all such occasions. Many scholars have lamented on the mechanical chanting of the ritual-related verses without making any effort to get enlightened about their message of spirituality. The mantris of the Cabinets in both the Union Government and their counterparts in the governments of the States and Union Territories are the cynosure of all eyes given their ubiquitous presence as chief guests and other kinds of special invitees at functions of all hues. They are more suffered by their audiences than listened to.

In short, mantras may be taken to enrich the ambience at locations and on occasions of their sonorous chanting. Malls provide avenue for the affluent to splurge their surplus cash. Of mantris of all hues, less said the better.

January 10, 2018

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