We all know that the democratic president of Zimbabwe, Mugabe, has been placed under house arrest following a coup d’ etat. As idiom it means the arrest of democratically elected leader by the junta.
Example: The military of Zimbabwe has put a Mugabe.
Mugabe happens in many countries.
Arnold Toynbee is a world famous historian known for his penetrating insight into civilizations of the world. In his epoch making work: A study of World History, he does not consider civilization as discrete entities but views them as a continuum. In his analysis of civilizations he has bifurcated them into Egyptian, Hellenic, Chinese and contemporary civilizations.
The Egyptian civilization was marked by the emergence of Kingship and large class of serfs. It was basically an agrarian civilization. The most significant contribution of the Egyptians was the invention of writing. Religion in ancient Egypt was polytheistic. The systematic idea of a state evolved in ancient Egypt. Another significant contribution of the Egyptians was the Pyramids. Culturally and anthropologically speaking the Egyptians were an ethnic bourgeoisie, a ruling aristocracy embedded in cultic rituals, exploiting the weaker sections of the society. The Egyptian civilization also saw the Diaspora of the Jews into Egypt. Looking at Egyptian civilization we can interpret that it was civilization canonized by monarchs, satiated in excess catharsis and stimulated by the ecumenism of a cosmopolitan culture. The Egyptian civilization is noted for its architecture. Ancient Egypt bore the semblances of a religious and cultural syncretism.
The Hellenic culture on the other side saw the emergence of art, literature, philosophy and above all democracy. The great Philosophers of Greece were Plato Socrates and Aristotle. The Hellenic gift to the contemporary world was the gift of democracy. The Iliad and the Odyssey were epic poems written by the Greek poet Homer. In ancient Greece there was a shift from a religious attitude to a philosophical speculation. Ancient Greece also laid the foundations of modern science. Athens flourished because it was democracy. Philosophically speaking Greek civilization is marked by a mental Diaspora of historicity caught up in the eclectic balance of pristine culture in the throes of evolution.
Next I would like to analyze the modern world. The modern world went through a series of world wars. The modern world also saw the emergence of two contrasting isms Communism and Capitalism. It was during this time that large parts of Africa and Asia were colonies. The modern world also saw the rise of dictatorships which paved the way for the horrendous holocaust. The modern world also saw the rise of the press. Then there developed the rise of the Cold War. There was also the development of space journeys and nuclear missiles. The television became a personalized czar at home. Artistic movements like impressionism and surrealism gave a new lease of life to individuality.
The postmodern society is quite different from earlier civilizations. It was marked by the evolution of the internet. Media became a personalized entity. There was also the emergence of multinational corporations and patent rights. There was also the rise of gay culture. The postmodern society saw the demise of communism and the bipolarization of the world. The postmodern era is also characterized by the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism. Many of the colonies of Africa and Asia were decolonized. The postmodern society also saw the breakup of the nuclear family and the rise of gay marriages. Philosophy was characterized by disintegration and fragmentation. Postmodernism promoted nihilism and anarchy. The idea of what constitutes individuality became a question mark.
Nirad C Chaudhri lived during the time of India’s freedom struggle and he had recorded his experiences in the book: Thy Hand Great Anarch. He was a polished man supportive of the British regime and he was highly critical of the freedom struggle.
He begins his memoir by recording his life as a clerk. Having failed his MA he could get no other job. He rails at the Non Cooperation Movement stating that it was a mass brainwashing of the people. The non cooperation movement was a civil disobedience movement started by Mahatma Gandhi to eject the British from India. The non cooperation movement included withdrawal of Indians from work areas and civil protest. The aim of the non cooperation movement was to paralyze the British government. The agitating masses were illiterate and Chaudhri records an instance where he was physically harassed by the non cooperation agitators.
After the Non Cooperation Movement came the Chauri Cahuri incident when an irate mob torched a police station and burnt to death British policemen. Then Gandhi withdrew the non cooperation movement. This was followed by the massacre at Jalian Wallah Bagh incident where peaceful protestors gathered and they were shot to death under the orders of Colonel Dyer. This brutal assassination was met with a storm of protests from the country.
Then came the Simon Commission to placate the Indians and to offer partial autonomy to India. The Simon Commission was met with hostile resistance. People waved placards saying: ‘Simon go back’ and burnt effigies. After the Simon Commission, Gandhi adopted the Salt Satyagraha at Dandi where people marched to the shores of sea to make salt. This was done in protest against the harsh taxes imposed on commodities by the British. For Chaudhri: Gandhi was no apostle of peace and he indulged in moral and psychological violence.
The times leading to the independence were severe for India. There was much causality. The British were fed up of ruling India so they decided to leave. Lord Mount Batten was appointed as the British representative in India. Along with India the Muslims in Pakistan wanted a separate nation. Jinnah was vociferous in the creation of Pakistan. Gandhi was very disturbed Independent India was besieged with many problems. They were unemployment, poverty, death and starvation. Nehru decided to make India a socialist country.
Chaudhri’s struggle is so poignantly portrayed in a pristine language. For the average India life was queasy. The British exploited India’s economy by taking away its resources and bringing in finished goods. Cottage and handicraft industries the backbone of the Indian economy was severely in a ditch. A positive development of the British rule in India was the spread of the vernacular press the development of the railways. Railways united the country. Post independent India was one of quarrelsome princely states. It was the iron man of India Sardar Vallabhai Patel who united India and made it into a single country. The press played an important role in spreading the gospel of freedom. Partition of India and the creation of Pakistan created a lot of problems. There was a mass exodus of refugees from Pakistan to India and from India to Pakistan.
Chaudhri’s work is highly philosophical and literary synthesizing India and its turmoil into a political catharsis. Nehru remarked in his opening speech that we have made a tryst with destiny. When the world sleeps India will awake to freedom. Chaudhri marvelous rendition of India’s political and cultural landscape is an essential reading.
Pharisees and the Sadducees were people who questioned the integrity of Jesus and finally accused him of blasphemy and had him condemned to death by crucifixion. As an idiom it means a person who condemns an innocent person.
Example: The Police were not Pharisees when they arrested the Malayalam film star Dileep on having connived the sexual molestation of an actress.
McCarthyism in America was action of Pharisees.
Pharisees are hypocrites of the society.
References to Simon the Wizard are rife in the New Testament. Simon the Wizard was a warlock who became astounded when the disciples of Jesus were healing people by laying their hands on them. Simon the Wizard said: ‘can I also get this power and for that, I will give you money’. The disciples rebuked him and his demons. As an idiom Simon the Wizard refers to an unscrupulous person.
Example: in my life I don’t wish to be Simon the Wizard.
Nazi Hitler and the Fascist Mussolini were Simon the Wizards.
The God Father is Simon the Wizard.
We all know that Gamalial was the wise teacher of Paul the apostle. As an idiom it means an intellectual
Example: Ravi Zachariah is the Gamalial of Christian apologetics.
Philosophers are Gamalials.
We all know that in the New Testament, it is recorded that at the day of the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the hoi polloi like wind and people started speaking in tongues. Pentecost as an idiom means a spiritual awakening.
Example: When the Pentecost happened to me, I became Spirit filled.
Let the Pentecost happen to all people of all nations.
Pentecost is an experience of happiness and peace.