Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sterling Values Sold For Thirty Pieces

The news of Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel (charkha) being sold for 110,000 pounds at a Shropshire auction should not shock us. It is a sign of the times we live in. We are capable of putting a price tag on simplicity itself if it appeals to people, because clearly, there's a market for it.

The author of a literally homespun revolution is now a hot collector's item

It reminds me of that other anti-capitalist icon who has become the ultimate chic consumerist commodity - Che Guevara. He has done so much for capitalists since he died, since his face adorns millions of t-shirts sold around the world.

A most revolutionary idea in fashion

When Open Source software began to be known to the average IT person around the year 2000, many people were puzzled by the phenomenon. "How can anyone make money from it?" was the question. I wrote two articles ("Open Source-onomics" and "The Capitalist View of Open Source") to address these misconceptions.

There was a time when a movie's popularity used to be measured by how many weeks it ran in the theatres. No longer. Today, the measurement of popularity is money. In recent personal experience, I was saddened to see that most on-line news and reader commentary about a movie I liked (Krrish 3) was about how much money it had been able to gross (and how quickly) rather than how good it was.

As a society, we seem to be at that classic stage where we know "the price of everything and the value of nothing".


Subbu said...

Interesting examples of anti-capitalist iconography, specially Che, being appropriated by capitalism for its own ends. Not really surprising. After all, all targets are legitimate where profit is the motive.

As far as Krrish 3 is concerned, my own view is that the fact it's breaking box office records is possibly it's most redeeming feature - certainly for the Roshans. I'll comment about this separately in response to your other post ...

Seshadri Kumar said...

There's been a lot of hue and cry in India about this. Many are saying that the Indian govt. should have bought it, along with all other artefacts of the Mahatma.

I don't agree with that, nor am I shocked at this. I am impressed that someone thinks so highly of Gandhiji today that they want to pay so much for it. Bully for them if it makes them happy.

I don't think Gandhiji belongs in India at all, so I see no point in the Govt. paying all this money for this or any other antiques associated with the man.

India has completely forgotten Gandhi. In fact, he became irrelevant as soon as India became independent. He belongs to that strange club of people who become irrelevant in their own times after being famous (Gorby comes to mind.) In a certain sense, his murder was merciful to him, for it saved him the anguish of fully realizing his irrelevance.

Indians simply don't care about any of his teachings. All that Gandhi has use for today is to grace every Sarkari office and every rupee note.

There is a reason why the first movie made on Gandhi's life was not an Indian movie.