Sunday, September 30, 2012

Emotional Intelligence

1                     Introduction:
The emotions make human beings different from other animals; it is this trait of man which makes him a ‘social animal’. Machines can work faster and with much more accuracy than the humans, but humans are emotional and machines are not. A man without emotions is heartless. Without emotions there’d be neither joys nor sorrows and life would be boring and without any motivations. Many HR analysts have looked into the emotional aspects of human beings and found that our mind all the times behaves in two distinct manners: A. logically, and B. emotionally.
Many analysts propose that IQ contributes only 20% to life success – the rest of your achievements come from “emotional intelligence” (Emotional Intelligence Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman).
 That is the reason that even the strongest chess software could not defeat the great Grand Masters of chess till date. Emotional intelligence plays a great role in our career development. Ideas without emotions are nothing. Emotions make them functional and through the intelligence we use them to our benefit. It is on this pretext that the modern human resource development managers are looking into emotional intelligence with a view to utilizing HR more skillfully and productively.

Emotional Intelligence and CA Technologies:
Broadly, there are five basic extents whereby we can classify the scope of emotional intelligence. They are:
A.      self-awareness,
B.      Managing emotions,
C.      Self-motivation,
D.      Empathy
E.       Handling relationships.
Self-awareness is very important for all of us. One should be aware of his/her strengths as well as weaknesses. This is a trait of one’s personality. When one is aware of one’s limitations, he/she can manage assignments/tasks more efficiently allotted to him/her. Secondly, managing emotional stresses is vital to our responsibilities. For instance, we cannot cope with tensions and obstacles unless we have control over our emotions. Emotions like sadness, stressfulness, etc., may lead to depression. Thus, the person shall not be able to perform up to the level. Thirdly, Self-motivation plays a great role in one’s success. When we face failure and are not able to accept it, we invite stress. Success as well as the failure is the parts of our lives. At times, we have to encounter failures and fatigue. There are some of us who are not able to cope with failures and hence create problems for themselves. These problems dampen their potentials and they do not perform well. Fourthly, we should be able to spread happiness around us. Keep smiling. Encourage others when they are down, help your colleagues when in need; take every comment thrown at you, positively. These traits of your personality evolve empathy towards others. It is the human tendency that you shall get whatever you give to others; hence, the saying, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Therefore, let your emotions not hurt others. Lastly, as we are social animals, we have created a web of relations called society. We are individual units of this society. Individuals form family, families form communities and finally the society comes into being. In this society, we have many roles to play. At home, in the office, on Public places etc., everywhere we have a specified role to play. Perhaps, that is why, Shakespeare said, “The whole world is the theatre, and we all are actors.”
Relations influence our behavior very promptly and swiftly. Therefore, we should handle our relations very artfully. We should respect other’s feelings if we wish others to respect ours. If the relations are not very well-managed, the problems may arise that would hamper your responsibilities towards your Company. That is why, management of personal relations is very important.

3                     Emotional intelligence and performance:
Through the appropriate management of our emotions, we can achieve growth in our performance. Firstly, enjoy whatever you are assigned to do. When we are engaged in the tasks that we like, we are never mentally tired. Mental freshness makes us more efficient. Therefore, enjoy your assignments and you’d never feel fatigue. Secondly, concentrate upon what you are doing. While at work, do it like a painter works skillfully to decorate his piece of art, or a musician performs with a charming expression. Forget everything else. Feel the pleasure of creating something which you are assigned to and which shall make the life of many, more comfortable. Computer applications are like literary works. Literary works give us pleasure through the beauty of words; whereas, computer applications give us pleasure by making our tasks more automotive and efficient. Everything that is done with a sense of beauty is art. When you write a program, you create a kind of new innovation which in itself is a piece of art.
4                     My own experiences:
I can say it with my own experiences that emotional intelligence is a tool that can enhance our capabilities and performance. That is why, these days, people are joining more and more laughing clubs. Through my own experiences, I can state that in our mind, there are numerous emotions – good as well as bad ones. We should try to suppress bad ones and inculcate the good ones. But sometimes, suppression may lead to depression. Therefore it is a tactful exercise. To control your anger, you may attract your attention to something else or leave the work for a while and relax. If you hear some harsh words from some of your colleagues or Managers, you can express your anger by writing your feelings on a paper and tear the same afterwards. There are many things in the world that we may not like. But we have to encounter them. Be sure that you cannot change the world; you can change yourself. Those who adapt themselves survive and all others are flown away in the strong storm of circumstances. Therefore, adapt yourself to the circumstances and you’d survive. Do not worry if the targets are not achieved; think of the reasons and remove them. Do not get disturbed if someone in the team is not performing up to the mark. Divide his incomplete work in other members. Do not get frustrated if the project is not complete and the date is fast approaching. Increase working hours, enhance performance and share the burden jointly. Smile whenever you see a sad face. Smile whenever someone behaves improperly, smile as this would motivate others in your team, smile because it costs nothing and gives enough support to your team. Finally, remember these strong words of Swami Vivekananda:
If you say, “I am, I am,” so shall you be. And if you say, I am not, think that you are not and day and night meditate upon the fact that you are nothing, miserable and low, nothing shall you be.
Losing faith in oneself is losing faith in God. Always remember. We are everything, ready to do everything, we can do everything and man must do everything.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ustad Sarvar Sabri: Extending the Boundaries of Fixity

Ustad Sarvar Sabri:
Extending the Boundaries of Fixity
Shezad Khalil

It is good to swim in the
waters of tradition, but to sink in them is suicide.
—Mahatma Gandhi (p. 308)

In an era in which postmodernist and postcolonial thought and its relationship with the arts, and in particular in music, is defined in accordance with the construction of the ‘new’, the names of prominent musicians as Talvin Singh and Nitin Sawhney appear to be constantly experiencing and experimenting with transforming the musical traditions of the past. This is to say that that which was acceptable and practiced throughout the narratives of antiquity has now evolved into novel and innovative procedures of the present, that is, change has occurred and continues to transpire.
Alongside the compositions of the twenty-first century South Asian and British South Asian musician sits the theoretical underpinnings of cultural thinkers as Homi Bhabha and Paul Gilroy. It is the speculations of these postmodernist and postcolonial theorists that provide the analytical framework and foray of contemporary artists as Singh and Sawhney illustrating as Bhabha observes that ‘newness’ occurs within the space of the British metropolis. This is then the
domain in which numerous South Asian and British South Asian artists take the ‘roots’ of their homelands and their classical training into the depths of the ‘unknown’. And, this is also the vicinity in which many South Asian migrants leave behind the artistic conventions of the ‘past’ to journey forward into the realm of the ‘new’. The intention of this is to redefine and reconstruct those identity politics that identify who they are as twenty-first century artists and how their artistic modes sit within the space of contemporary Britain. In turn, the result often leads to the formation of compositions that are hybrid in nature, but through the fusion of varying styles of artistic expression.
Stemming from a rich South Asian historical tradition of music that dates back to the court of the Mughul Emperor Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar, also known as Akbar the Great, (1542-1605), he contemporary composer and musician Ustad Sarvar Sabri welcomes and embraces the roots of
classical training with the intention of extending and experimenting with the conventions of adition. This is an argument that will be explored shortly, but first the contextual scaffold of Sabri’s history must be examined in brief.
It was during the era of Mughal rule that Akbar the Great, even though illiterate, displayed a great admiration for the performing and fine arts of the Indian subcontinent. As an aficionado of the ich diversity of the arts, Akbar attracted the greatest thinkers and artists in his court. These were known as the navaratna; the Sanskrit word for the nine jewels. One of these gems was Mian Tansen (1520-1590) who was a classical vocalist in the court of Akbar and also trained people in the art of South Asian classical music. And so, Sarvar Sabri’s lineage of musical learning belongs to and can be dated back to Akbar’s chief musician.
Sabri’s early teaching that he received from his gurus was not only affiliated with the past, but was also associated with some degree of fixity. Hall’s theorisations would describe this instance of Sabri’s musical training as situated in and influenced by ‘the idea of a pure, original people’ and culture [italics in the original] (p. 275). Further, the choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh would observe this type of ‘traditional’ guidance as an example of keeping alive the ‘acknowledgment of a common consensus’ of those ‘groups of people [that have and continue to] agree on certain things’, that is in connection with those systems of the past (p. 6). And therefore, for Sabri, his early training in the tabla would also be viewed as an instance of transmitting a consensus of the past into the domain of the present. But on close inspection, is this really so?
In fact, even though Sabri’s learning of the tabla was situated in the customs of history and stemmed back to the influence of Tansen and his musical systems, his work imitates Hall’s conception of ‘translation’. According to this cultural theorist then, some postmodern subjects, including Sabri and his musical manifestations, undergo a form of renovation; an excursion of progress and alteration. Although the artist’s training may have been positioned within the classical vocabularies of the past, it is as a result of these systems that direct several people to make changes to that which already exists. Hall observes that such people [as musicians and their
art] retain strong links with their places of origin and their traditions, but they are without the illusion of a return to the past. They are obliged to come to terms with the new [artistic] cultures they inhabit, without simply assimilating to them….They bear upon them the traces of particular cultures, traditions, languages [, artistic systems] and histories by which they were shaped. The difference is that they are not and will never be unified in the old sense, because they are irrevocably the product of several interlocking histories and cultures’ [italics in the original] (p. 310).
For Sabri then, his contemporary arrangements and art form are created from a combination of ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’. What this means is that the ‘past’ (‘sameness’) is positioned within the ‘present’ (‘difference’), but the ‘present’ (‘difference’) is dissimilar to and/or an extension of the ‘past’ (‘sameness’). For example, in creations as Master Drummer of India, 2002, a CD album influenced by three of Sabri’s gurus:
Ustad Bundu Khan (1880-1955), Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan (1942-89) and Karaat Ullah Khan (1918-80), the listener witnesses how this musical genius in tracks as ‘Taal Bundu Khan’ not only executes his classical training but also presents a modern twist to the composition by playing it in
an unusual eight and a half beat cycle.
In this brief example of this tabla master’s work, we observe how Sabri unfolds the ethics of his musical philosophy. This is positioned within the realms of hybridity that is as inspired by the notion and elements of ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’. In discussion with Sabri, 2012, he justifies his thinking: ‘I never lose track of or contact with my roots … It is the concept of a musical idea and process that is more exciting as well as the ability to find different ways’ of communicating thoughts. For Sabri then, the notion of broadening boundaries is situated within the belief that one can create ‘newness’ without having to challenge tradition and/or the past. ‘History’ in itself can then open doors for the construction of something quite novel and unique, and yet similar and distinct from the past. It is this philosophy that sets Sabri apart from many twenty-first century composers and musicians as many of these artists appear to break away from the musical systems of the past and infuse their contemporary work with minute elements of their classical training.
Sabri’s constructions then take the notion of ‘sameness’ on a different voyage of discovery. Even though he begins each musical journey from the starting-point of the past that is as positioned
within his classical training, from here his roots develop into something both ‘fresh’ and ‘new’. ‘Sameness’ then expands itself and travels along a route that is concerned in conveying difference’. It is this conception of disparity, diversity and variation that distinguishes the work of this master from other South Asian and British South Asian musicians of the contemporary domain.
Sabri’s musical compositions also imitate Jeyasingh’s thoughts, especially in relation to tradition. If, as Jeyasingh asserts that convention is something that has been ‘tried and tested’, suggesting that the practices of the past do not remain stationary, then for Sabri the same thought and philosophy are applicable to his own creations. This is because as Jeyasingh states, the terms ‘tried and tested’ propose the importance of alteration. This is not to say that one’s musical
roots have to remain static. Not at all! In fact, for Sabri, Jeyasingh’s vocalisations advocate that his own work celebrates the musical systems of convention and yet at the same time he enhances
these by employing his own ideas in order to experiment with and deliver the past into the present. Further, Sabri’s postmodern arrangements continue to convey signs of particular musical traditions so that the listener understands that the systems of the past are still appropriate and relevant for the contemporary world that we live in. Further, even though his work bears a strong influence of the past, it is through Sabri’s aptitude as a maestro of the tabla that he is able to modernise these constructions through his own musical and hybrid vocabulary.
The route(s) and destination are one, that is, the past can be represented in the present.

For further information on Sarvar Sabri, see his website:
and his company Sabri Ensemble:
Please visit Sarvar Sabri and the Sabri Ensemble on Facebook. For further reading of Sarvar
Sabri, see Arc Music, ‘News’:
Selected Bibliography
Homi Bhabha. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994.
Mahatma Gandhi. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. May-July 1925. Vol. 27. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Trust, 1968.
Paul Gilroy. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double
Consciousness, 1993. Reprint, London:
Verso, 2002.
Stuart Hall. “The Question of
Cultural Identity”. In Modernity and its
Futures, edited by Stuart
Hall, David Held and Tony McGrew, 273-325. Oxford: Open University Press, 1992.
Shobana Jeyasingh. Appendix i – Transcripts
of Presentations: Shobana Jeyasingh”. Compiled
and produced by Tina Cockett. In Traditions on the Move, Open Forum Report, edited by Academy of Indian Dance,
6-9. London: Academy of Indian Dance, June
9, 1993.
Shezad Khalil is studying for a PhD at the University of Loughborough

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sexy vs Beautiful

The word ‘Sexy’ has been in the public discourse recently as
a Chair Person of some women’s Organization used it to express beauty/preventability
of the women. In her views, addressing a woman as ‘sexy’ is a compliment and
not an offense as it shows a basic trait of the womanhood. Being ‘sexy’ in a manner
is a quality and not a disqualification for the women.
But what about the men. Should not it be a quality for them
either? If sexier young ladies are better than those who are not, the same
logic should apply to their male counterparts too. To extend the logic, if ‘sexy’
is a compliment for the women, the same applies for the men. Therefore, the
word should not and would not be referred especially to the womanhood.
Now, the question arises as to how the word should be used
and in what circumstances it may or may not violate the basic norms of civility.
It is the usage of the word and not the word itself that counts. If a friend
uses the word and addresses the woman as ‘sexy’, there is no harm. On the other
hand, if some unknown youngster uses the same to tease her and to provoke her,
it is an infringement upon the behavior of the user of the term.
There are specific topics which look good on the specified
lines drawn by the social customs and traditions. Those who give the society
more importance than individuality would agree that we should follow the social
practices and should not discuss matters like ‘sex’ openly. Only the authorized
persons should participate in such discourse. Suppose, a five-year-old praises
his/her mom by saying, “Mom, how sexy have you been these days!”
Or the granny in her eighty’s looks at her grandson of
around 14 and comments, “Hi handsome, what a sexy physique you have!”
In the both cases, the persons who are being complimented
would feel themselves in awkward situation and it would be difficult for them
to react. Therefore, my supposition is that the usage of the word and not the
word itself should be considered when one decides upon the correctness of the
word. In the present context, the word ‘sexy’ is harmless. It is just a word
like other countless words. It has been created to be used. Therefore, neither
its meaning nor its usage is at fault. The word becomes objectionable only when
it is used for the wrong reasons. Many of our friends use abusive language; it
is in their habit; they cannot help it. Therefore, we have become used to their
slangs and do not mind the same. On the contrary, if some unknown person uses
the same language against us, we get highly charged and more often than not
begin to respond in the same abusive tongue which we think highly uncivilized.
The word ‘sexy’, therefore, should not be used during a
formal session. Neither can it be accepted as a compliment to a woman if
someone wishes to take liberty with her basic dignity. In the friendly environment
the word may be used. Nobody is going to object to it. In their heart, the women
would love to listen to the word if the speaker is the person whom they like to
the least possible quantity.