2024 is going to be the year of MAYA.
It is the year of elections in India, US, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the first two considered to be the biggest democracies of the planet earth. An election is the time when fact and fiction, truth, half-truth and falsehood coalesce. Every participant out to impress the voters about their suitability try to create a maya. 2024 will see more of it.
It is also the year AI (Artificial Intelligence) is poised to make rapid progress in ways far beyond our comprehension. Those who still think AI to be just machines- have not yet understood the power of generative AI. At some point Gen AI will create things and processes of its own. In the hands of people with brains and deep pockets- it has the power to create a maya-jaal (net of magic), common people are too naive to even realise its existence - let alone understand it.
So brace yourself for a ride through the maze of maya.
Swami Vivekananda, the monk extraordinary, was born on 12 January 1863. His birthday has been celebrated as National Youth Day since 1985 in India. Swami Vivekananda not only played a key role in introducing Indian philosophies of Vedanta to the Western world, he ignited the spirit of nationalism and modernity in a country still under foreign rule and steeped into dogma and superstition. He brought in the freshness of freedom and modernity.
Known in his pre-monastic life as Narendranath Datta, he was born into an affluent Bengali family in Calcutta. From an early age, he showed a keen interest in spirituality and meditation. In his quest for spiritual knowledge, Narendranath came across the saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886). This meeting had a profound impact on him, and he became one of Ramakrishna's most devoted disciples. Under Ramakrishna's guidance, he experienced deep spiritual awakening. After Sri Ramkrishna’s passing in 1886, Vivekananda renounced the world and crisscrossed India as a wandering monk, deliberating on Vedanta philosophy and preaching oneness of all religions.
Swami Vivekananda gained international recognition when he represented Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893. This marked the first time that ancient Indian philosophy was introduced to a Western audience on such a large scale and had a deep impact. In fact most of the Vedanta societies, which were founded in America and Europe up through the 1930s can trace their origins directly to Swami Vivekananda.
After the Parliament of Religions, Swami Vivekananda spent several years traveling in the United States and Europe, delivering lectures on Vedanta and Yoga. He aimed to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western philosophies and promote the idea of universal religion.
He returned to India in 1897 and founded the Ramakrishna Mission in 1898. The mission aimed to combine spiritual ideals with social service- helping people during calamities, spreading education and providing health care.
Swami Vivekananda passed away on July 4, 1902, at an early age of 39.
In just 16 years of public life (he formally accepted monastic vows in 1886), he had remarkable contributions in the field of philosophy and social service. However, it was his capacity to blend oriental with occidental, tradition with modernity, individualism with collectivism; and his holistic vision and world view- that made him an exceptional thought leader.
The United Nations declared 2024 the International Year of Camelids (camel like animals) (IYC 2024).
2024 will celebrate the birth centenary of two legendary Indian cartoonists: Sri Gopulu (18 June 1924- April 2015), illustrator and cartoonist and Abu Abraham (11 June 1924 – 1 December 2002), the legendary cartoonist who fearlessly questioned those who were in power.
It will also celebrate the birth bi-centenary of Dayanand Saraswati, the saint philosopher and one of the makers of modern India, Harish Chandra Mukherjee, the legendary editor of Hindoo Patriot, who were among the first intellectuals of India to raise the issue of self-rule and Michael Madhusudan Dutta, poet and playwright.
2024 is the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese zodiac. My friend Sudhansu Deo, who has keen interest in astrology tells me- it is also the year of Shani the god of karma, justice, and retribution, who delivers results depending upon one's thoughts, speech, and deeds. He advises me to feed black dogs to please Him. As I started looking for a black dog, I was told the price of a pure black dog has gone up manifolds in the canine market.
15 Years of YouTube in India
YouTube just completed 15 years of its existence in India. In just one and a half decades it has occupied a significant space in the media ecosphere of India. From computers and mobiles it is now taking over the drawing room television- through what is called connected TV (watching content off YouTube on television. This segment is going through the same phenomenon that made internet usage grow …falling prices of smart TVs and the rising penetration of fixed-line broadband.
Another area which is growing is called ‘shorts’ - small videos usually created by the users of YouTube. More and more people are creating and consuming shorts. The rate accelerated as YouTube announced monetising Shorts in February 2023.
Content in regional languages in YouTube is also growing at a phenomenal rate- drawing in more viewers and creators.
YouTube at 15 - is having a bullish time.
2023 Person of the Year
Times of India 2023 Person of the Year is no person. Matlab- no human being or even animal- lion or rat, or bird- crow or parrot, or mosquito. The TOI Person of the Year is no living being. It is CHATBOT.
Welcome to the new world - the metaverse, where real and virtual not only co-exist, but coalesce.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.