Tuesday, March 30, 2010


You don't need to look beautiful to be beautiful.
So much has been said about beauty that any other opinion about it is redundant: beauty within, results in beauty without, and that this inward beauty makes us more pretty and so on... Yet say must I why I feel this way .
The above mentioned thought about beauty came to me while talking of John Keats' famous rumination- "Beauty is truth, truth beauty...". It was like opening a can of brewing thoughts when I announced this topic to my class for chewing the fat. Some said, Truth is beautiful, citing the hindu ideology of 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram'. Truth is God and God is beautiful, so truth is beautiful. Plain logic. Those who rebutted this idea opined that in today's world, truth is bitter. It is so stark and naked that we have to sugar-coat it with artificial and insincere words. So how was truth beautiful ...?
I discreetly stood aside, savouring the spate of such ebullient and buoyant ideas and got lost in my own world of beautiful contemplation.
I could not help but think of Hirbaiben Ibrahimbhai Lobi, the winner of Real Heroes of India 2010, under the Social Welfare catagory. A true grassroot entrepreneur, she comes from a tribal clan of siddi community in Jambur village, at Junagarh (Gujrat) . She changed the fate of the women of her village by starting an organic compost farm. Besides giving employment to the very downtrodden women of her clan she furnished them with tips for scientific farming which she got from the radio. The radio is still her constant friend. She set up a kindergarten school and presently looks forward to open high school and college. And this is not her first award. In 2006 she was awarded the Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar for rural entrepreneurship. She works closely with the Aga Khan Development Network. All this is really amazing given that Hirbaiben herself is uneducated. She was orphaned at 14 and nurtured by her grandmother.
When Hirbaiben got up on stage to collect the citation and honour for Real Heroes, she smiled .
I smiled too. It was infectious.
I can assure you she had not gone to any parlour to have her facial done for this special occasion, nor was her teeth scaled or polished by an expert cosmetic dentist . Even her hair was not shampooed ! Her dark, freckled cheeks with eyebags, the dark brown patches and her yellowed teeth were all too prominent to ignore. Her super plain salwar kameez was far too modest ! And yet when she spoke in her incomprehensible siddi language with her face lit up with an incandescent smile, her voice unquivered with emotion, I knew I had heard the most dulcet and harmonious voice. She broke into a song so guileless that even the cuckoo might wish to sing with her. The pain of her life did not get obliterated in her eyes, though. They had so much to say......
With great effort I returned from my reverie to my class. I was a bit lost. I remarked as if in a trance :"You don't need to look beautiful to be beautiful".
Perhaps this was the kind of beauty that Keats meant, when he equated beauty with truth.