Shin­ing Sim­ply

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Af­ter his as­tound­ing elec­toral vic­tory, NaMo’s mojo is be­ing an­a­lysed minutely. One ob­vi­ous in­sight says, “To win vot­ers’ hearts, ahem, KISS ’em!” So, “keep­ing it sim­ple, stupid” en­abled the Gu­jarat chief min­is­ter to get his spiel across mind­bog­gling bound­aries of caste, creed and re­gion.

To be fair, no­body can claim patent rights over this time­less prin­ci­ple. In our times, Al­bert Ein­stein, an iconic in­di­vid­ual if ever there was one, ar­tic­u­lated the same prin­ci­ple more art­lessly with a killer app kind of caveat, “Ev­ery­thing should be made as sim­ple as pos­si­ble; but not sim­pler!”

In other words, ver­bosity can be lim­it­lessly painful. But in­versely, sim­plic­ity has its lim­i­ta­tions: try­ing to sim­plify some­thing be­yond such lim­its man­gles the mes­sage and may turn it into a car­i­ca­ture. A case in point is the at­tempt the ri­val camp al­legedly made by try­ing to an­swer al­most ev­ery ques­tion with a sim­ple, read sin­gle, an­swer, namely, women’s em­pow­er­ment! Is it any won­der the so­cial me­dia got flooded with jokes about women’s em­pow­er­ment? Wasn’t it a se­ri­ous is­sue, one that did not need a sim­plis­tic or sim­ple-minded ap­proach?

To say that, how­ever, is not to root for com­plex­ity. On the con­trary: wit­ness how the great com­mu­ni­ca­tors of the past com­pressed their mes­sages to defy rav­ages of Time and at­tempts at ob­fus­ca­tion: “Brahma satyam; ja­gat mithya,” says Shankara; “Yo­gah kar­masu kousha­lam,” says Vyasa, just as the Buddha, the One who walked His Talk (Tatha­gata), con­quered the world peace­fully with his bold eight-fold path. Hail Shin­ing Sim­plic­ity!

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