Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Hindi News Channel on Ayn Rand

Posted by Jerry on February 1, 2008

Of all the places to find an article about Ayn Rand, there is this recent one on Zee News. The online version of the 24-hour Hindi News cable channel carried a decent article on Ayn Rand (in English, of course). Reading the title of the article, I was prepared for yet another misinformed, second-handed diatribe on Rand’s life and a grotesque caricature of her philosophy.

The article is fine, however; the author Ipsita Baishya treats the essential ideas of Objectivism fairly enough. Like in these excerpts, for example (note how Baishya points out Rand’s rejection of the libertarian party):

According to Rand, one’s highest value should be one’s ability to reason. This also manifested in the way she viewed her own life, not through feelings but through her interest in ideas and her thinking.

Politically, Rand wanted to provide liberal capitalism with a moral anchor, to take on the commonplace notion that communism was a noble if unworkable idea while the free market was a necessary evil best suited to flawed human nature. Her impassioned arguments against “compassionate” redistribution–and persecution–of wealth have not lost their urgency and relevance even today.

Although Rand denounced the feminist movement, one cannot help but see a strong feminist subtext in her repertoire. All of her heroines are strong-willed, independent women; feminism being all about women asserting their individuality. So it would not be incorrect to assume that Rand by default had a feminist streak to her as many feminists have interpreted. She rejected the Libertarian movement due to her emphasis on epistemology and her rational premise did not allow her to believe in the existence of any Superpower. [bold mine] 

But the sprinkle of words like “cult”, “religious doctrine”, and “loopholes” leaves me wondering about the intent of the author. I suspect this article was published in time to mark Ayn Rand’s birthday on February 2.

I myself had made plans to commemorate the occasion over two days by airing an Oscar nominated documentary on Rand’s life—Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life and the Italian movie based on her book We The Living. However, as I was making my plans, I learned that Mumbai would be celebrating a 10-day long art festival slated to begin on the same day. Due to the festival, the venue I was considering for airing the documentary would not be available—Prithvi Theater, MaxMueller Bhavan, etc. Besides, I would be competing with more established festival events for an audience to the movies.

Perhaps, after the Kala Ghoda Art Festival concludes, I might set up the dates for screening these movies. The American Center Library in South Mumbai is open to hosting the event, when I spoke to them earlier this week. Let’s see how it all turns out.

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2 Responses to “Hindi News Channel on Ayn Rand”

  1. Akhil said

    Jerry,
    looking forward to the event. All the best!

    akhil

  2. Hi, I’m also an avid reader of ayn rand from the philippines and it’s sad that only a very few filipinos know about ms rand and her books. I’m very fortunate to have read “the fountainhead” and “atlas shrugged” at an early age. I’m planning to read them again. Her philosophy– objectivism– changed my way of thinking and my life and I’m very thankful to the person who introduced me to her works. He’s also an avid reader of Ms Rand and one of Philippine’s best writers.
    Through Rand’s books I was able to ‘read’ socio-political events in my homeland, and it’s sad that with the ongoing political crisis in the Philippines, as trade is now done by force and bribery and free competition is no longer the rule of the capitalists, we’re going to the deceptive claws of tyrrany and collectivism. It reminds me of Ayn Ran’s book Atlas Shrugged where trading is done, not by consent and fair competition, but by compulsion and bribery; where Money is flowing to those who deal and broker, not in goods, but in favors.
    In my homeland, men get richer by graft and corruption and by pull than by work, and the law is silent as to the perpetrators but harsh as to the innocent.
    Indeed, we have a system where corruption and dishonesty were being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice— and, as what Rand said, this scheme will certainly not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
    Have a nice day!

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