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We live in an age where ‘innocence is bliss’ no more and the call for being discreet but decisive guides every step of the way. Discretion is a positive trait as it is meant to safeguard one’s interest without hurting someone else’s. It can be usefully exercised only by a person who was well informed, who had the ability to see things in a larger perspective, who could judge the relative importance of a thing or happening in a context, who understood the significance of a lawful silence and who tilted in favor of a humane course.
Let us examine these five traits. First, we are in the age of information whose mandate is that one had to be a well-informed person to make progress in any field. Being well-informed means having the right information in time, having the information that made a difference between a ‘decision’ and a ‘guess’, and having complete-looking information of relevance since ‘knowledge comes in integral packages’. A teacher of children, for instance, has to have knowledge of child psychology and parental stress, besides the content of the curriculum, to do well. He or she will then be able to discreetly handle a child — discretion here will be a vital part of the judgemental call made by the teacher. Again, a person, more so a woman, who was aware of the law and order situation in an area would be able to exercise discretion about the mode and timing of movement. Discretion is the better part of valor in this setting.
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Secondly, it is not uncommon to see people not being able to ‘rise above the details and look at a situation objectively ‘from above’ to appreciate what the given facts were leading to. Life is so much about whatever is happening in the immediate and the proximal that thoughts on its repercussions for the future were pushed back. Living life easy takes precedence over living it meaningfully and that puts discretion on a discount because the latter required nursing relationships with some sensitivity as a presage to discreet conduct. Further, working for material advancement has to be a major endeavor of human beings but tempering it with a spiritual understanding of life yielded an inner satisfaction that could only be felt not expressed in words so much — the classical Hindu thought describing an honest effort to raise wealth as a ‘dharma’ of man says it all. Discretion gets built into the conduct and responses of a person of material success when the ‘big picture’ orientation of thought stays with him. The Bible’s ‘Man shall not live by bread alone’ as opposed to Mary Antoniette famously saying, ‘Let them eat cake if they have no bread’ suggests, more than anything else, a complete spiritual disconnect of the French queen. Discretion is wisdom and wisdom comes from the awareness of the broader perspective of life.
Third, discretion is basically an outcome of the capacity of a person to judge the contextual importance of a happening or a piece of information — and that too in an ongoing fashion because life does not stop at one event or a one-time revelation. The point is about grasping the relative significance of what was there in front of you. In my younger days in Intelligence Bureau, my senior who taught me what the profession was all about, would often counsel me ‘to distinguish essentials from non-essentials’ — he was defining the basic meaning of Intelligence assessment and perhaps unknowingly rediscovering what Vilfredo Pareto, the Nineteenth-century Italian social scientist had laid down by way of Pareto’s law. That law simply states that ‘there are a significant few amongst the insignificant many’ — the ability to pick up the former from a mass of information is what was being emphasized by that senior. This, in turn, comes from the ‘effectiveness of differentiation’ that is achieved on the strength of work experience, knowledge of the world, and familiarity with human psyche and behavior — all of this, in fact, becoming the hallmark of how discretion was built into a sound judgment. It is common to find people who can’t distinguish a macro from the micro, long-range from the short term, and at a finer level between the ‘journey’ and the ‘destination’.
Fourthly, ‘discreet silence’ has generally been regarded a virtue so long as it was not meant to give somebody an advantage over the other, was used as a legitimate course to keep you out of the trouble spot of others, and was not in violation of a legal obligation. Being discreet does not mean one would not be frank — there is no compromise insofar as the expression of an honest opinion was concerned for that was an aspect of personal integrity. Maintaining confidentiality is good and it is a binding factor in many circumstances where non-disclosure is not a discretion but a compulsion. Any cognizable offense committed in the presence of a police officer, for instance, casts a legal duty on the latter to report it to the authorities. A citizen, on the other hand, may sometimes maintain a discreet silence out of anxiety not to get caught in the harassment of a legal process — and not for the reason of not helping the law.
Here it may be mentioned that the set of fundamental duties laid down in the Indian Constitution also rest on the citizen’s patriotic sense and are not legally enforceable. Of course, one has to be an honest witness if approached by law to testify in any matter. Sometimes a person avoids intervening in a social situation out of discretion that tells him or her that silence was in the best interest of all concerned. Discreet silence here becomes a socio-cultural option and even a positive course of action if it is prompted by a pearl of innate wisdom about nature’s larger scheme of things. Discretion has to be exercised always in favor of morality and not for a lesser objective. At the workplace, a delegation of discretionary power is a sign of enlightened management that trusted employees with decision-making at their level for better efficiency and quicker delivery. In government functioning, there is a lot of buck-passing, both up and down the hierarchy because of a lack of willingness to exercise discretion and make a decision. Decision-making entails responsibility and many in the coziness of government employment would like to shun it.
The final paradigm of being discreet concerns the handling of human relationships — it can be said that an option used in the interest of a humane cause will never go wrong. Even in business, and all business is human activity ultimately, discretion guides how a leader treats the colleagues and the subordinates. A successful leader has to have an idea of what an employee is as a person and an awareness of the role of emotions in shaping a response. Emotional intelligence has emerged as a key to the successful handling of the human resource and good leadership makes use of it to make that handling discreet and productive. The right use of discretion is a leadership trait and this comes in handy for the head of the family as well — because a family can be considered as the smallest organizational unit requiring good management. Discretion is a positive ingredient of informed decision-making that combines the personal integrity of the individual with his or her understanding of the immediate context as well as its long-term impact and humane implications. It is ultimately an index of wisdom and hence a forerunner of success. (IANS/KB)
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television
One of India's leading private museums, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru, has released new primary research conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, on audience behaviour in India's cultural sector. While more than half of the respondents thought the arts and culture are essential, they rarely manage to make time for it. The majority (60.6 per cent), mostly young people under 30, felt Indian museums could present more engaging content, and most perceived culture as anthropological/ sociological. Of the diverse categories included, music emerged as the most popular cultural activity.
The report is based on a survey of 500 people, which included school and college students, professionals across sectors, homemakers and senior citizens. The first initiative of its kind in the cultural space, the report shares valuable insights into the behaviour and expectations of Indian audiences engaging with a broad range of cultural activities. As part of MAP's mission to foster meaningful connections between communities and the cultural sector globally, which includes its innovative digital programme Museums Without Borders, the report shares a wealth of insights that can help museums across the country understand their audiences better. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.
As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Speaking on the recent report, Kamini Sawhney, Director, Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), said, "MAP is focused on changing the notion of a museum in India, by enabling more relevant and inclusive programming, both online and in our space in Bengaluru. The audience research commissioned by MAP, and conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, provides valuable, and actionable insights which we hope will help museums across the country better understand their consumer base, improve decision making and deepen social impact." As much as 62.3 per cent college students and 47.6 per cent professionals/homemakers perceive culture as anthropological and sociological. Music was the most popular cultural event likely to be attended, followed by heritage tours and plays/comedy shows for Indian audiences.
Over 70 per cent of college students visit museums with family and friends; working professionals, homemakers and senior citizens also predominantly visit with groups/ spouses (indicating a need to focus on increased group programming/facilitation). As much as 68 per cent of people were optimistic about going outdoors for activities and events in 2021. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.(IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Art, Culture, India, Museum, Music
What is the best way to save Goa from deforestation?
Drinking feni, may well be the answer, says the secretary of the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association Hansel Vaz, who on Thursday said, that sipping the state's unique alcoholic drink and making it popular would directly aid the greening of Goa's hills and other barren landscapes.
"To get more cashews, we need to plant more trees. I always say, by drinking feni you will save Goa, because we will be planting more cashew trees and we will have greener hills. The beauty of cashew is you do not need fertile land. You can grow it on a hill which can provide no nutrition. We will be able to grow more trees, if we can sell feni properly," Vaz said. Vaz's comments come at a time when the hillsides of the coastal state have witnessed significant deforestation for real estate development and for infrastructure projects. Feni is manufactured by fermenting and double distilling juice from the cashew apple.
Best way to keep Goa green is to grab yourself a glass of feni. | IANS
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Vaz also said that the promotion of feni was also in sync with the Prime Minister's vision for India to go "vocal for local". "There is no conglomerate, multinational company owning the drink. So every time we sell feni, it is a direct cash injection into Goa. If you sell a feni cocktail in Calangute (a popular beach village), it makes a direct impact in Valpoi and Bicholim, because this money is going down there," the Association official said at a press conference in Panaji.
The Association held the media briefing to announce a road map ahead for the feni industry, especially vis a vis streamlining aspects related to production, standardisation and marketing of the brew to make it popular in other Indian states and abroad.
The efforts to streamline the state "heritage drink" comes a month after the Goa government notified a formal policy, 'Goa Feni Policy 2021', which covers 26 different varieties of feni distilled in the state. "There were many barriers related to feni, which the policy has now addressed," treasurer of the Association Tukaram Haldankar said. One such hurdle was the previous government classification, which described feni as "country liquor", which would deter tourists from purchasing the drink. The reclassification of feni as a state "heritage drink" has lent dignity to the brew which has been manufactured locally in Goa since the 16th century.
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. | Photo by Ishvani Hans on Unsplash
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. "We request the government to allow the sale of feni in duty free stores in airports and cruise liner terminals. The government should also support us through the department of Tourism, so that feni can be promoted in its programmes. iIf you go to Scotland, they promote Scotch. Goa should promote its feni to Goa," Haldankar said, adding that traditional distillers should also be given subsidies and other measures should be taken to standardise feni, which he said, "would require further subsidies and financial assistance from the government".
"It should be a standard product like scotch, champagne," Haldankar said. "Like Mexico's tequila, Russian vodka and Japan's sake, we need to export our feni across the country and the world and the local distillers should also benefit economically," president of the Association Gurudutt Bhakta also said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: deforestation,cashew,distillers,association,government, goa, feni, India