Saturday, April 2, 2011

Anahada Sabda:India: Culture and Communication

Anahada Sabda: Unuttered utternace
India: Culture and Communication
The question:
"Civilization has been dominated at different stages by various media of communication
such as clay, papyrus, parchment, and paper produced first from rags and then from wood.
Each medium has its significance for the type of monopoly of knowledge which will be built
and which will destroy the conditions suited to creative thought and be displaced by a new
medium with its peculiar type of monopoly of knowledge." Innis, Harold
Do you agree with this statement?

Watch YouTube link for answer.

From the unuttered voice to the utterance on machines, from “aum” to “gr8” (texting) there was a journey of thousands of years. 

“Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.”
Marshall McLuhan
The video is an attempt to decipher the cultural heritage of India from a communication perspective - Medium and Message.
1. Medium: Clay & Metal: Indus Valley Civilization: The civilizations of Indian subcontinent are little known to the west. The great Indus valley civilization of Mohenjo Daro – Harappan point to a highly developed society that settled in the fertile Indus valley about 2500 years ago. The medium of clay and later metal enhanced their lifestyle.  These media defined their lifestyle.

2. Medium:  Panayola/ Tali: Palm leaves Inscriptions: The palm leaves inscriptions found in southern India are great example of a local medium used by the people to preserve their knowledge.
The palm leaves inscriptions were used as a medium for knowledge transference. These fragile leaves often stood the test of time. Literary Epics where written and kept in this fragile medium.

3. Medium: Skin/ Leather: Very rarely used in India; probably because of the influence of
the non-violent ways of Hinduism and Buddhism.
4. Medium: Stone inscriptions: Inscriptions on stone, the rules of the state; the process of election; the guidelines for growth – all were inscribed on stone and placed in public places. These inscriptions defined their society.

5. Medium: Sculpture – the temple art of India is very popular for sculptures. The sculptures told the stories of kings, stories of deities, stories of love, and stories of achievements. Ajanta –Ellora caves, Tanjore temple, Mahabalipuram, Konark ... some specimens of sculptural finesse.
6. Medium: Art & Murals – Exotic murals of Ajanta caves, can be seen an artistic expression of the society. Murals are very much alive in the temple culture of Kerala. This medium though transformed still not extinct. Mural conveyed the stories of the ancient times.
“Past technologies have always involved a change in our phenomenological experience of the world.” Bernard Stiegler
7. Medium: Paper – Probably the first foreign medium to change Indian Society. Introduced by Chinese traders to India, it influenced the history of India. Vedas, Hindu scriptures were transferred to this new medium. Murals and other art forms found a friend in this medium. Medium of paper transformed society, religion, art and life.
“... it was in China that paper was first manufactured, Chinese prisoners introduced the fabrication of paper in Samarkand, and thereupon it was made in various places, so as to meet the existing want"  - Al-Biruni
8. Medium: Telephone –Leapfrog of a nation. People who have never seen a Telegraph, or used a Telephone, now handle mobile phones. Accessible medium enhanced the lives of common people. Technology and life provided an instant connection.  Connectivity gaining new meaning with mobile phones.
 “The medium, or process, of our time – electronic technology- is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence ...” Marshall McLuhan
9. Modern Media: Technology: New world: Virtual World. Technological innovations created new forms society. New monuments are influenced by these media. Changing face of Society influenced by new medium - Technology
10 Medium: Virtual World:  The society is caught up in the virtual world, often hijacked.
Society has evolved with medium. Not all media necessarily replaced the old. Each one built upon the other, leaving behind traces of their glorious past. But the virtual world might be different.... Anahada Sabda – unuttered voice, is it Virtual?


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