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Monday, March 31, 2008

The Hippie philosphy

In the 60s and 70s I remember how any Goan from anywhere in India was known to the Goan villager as ‘Bomoicar’ and any foreigner was straightaway dubbed ‘Eeppie’. Goans could not pronounce the ‘H’ in the word “Hippie”. And then with Fiona Mackeowan, we had a true blue Hippie right in our midst, and we were feral in our condemnation of her “leaving her daughter to die”.

Madame Holier Than Thou, a close acquaintance said, “You know what kind of woman that Fiona is? She lives in a caravan in England and grows vegetables. She has nine children…! NINE children and no husband. Four different men are the fathers of those children. She knew her daughter was taking drugs and having sex and still she left her behind and went off to a beach in Karnataka.”

A Canadian friend, called up to say how angry she was because at a party a British Goan down in Mumbai for a party dismissed Fiona Mackeowan as “white thrash”, inferring that she deserved what she got, a drugged, raped and very dead daughter. The Canadian friend was upset that no one was talking about the mothers of the men who raped the girl and killed her and the mothers of the men who covered up the crime. “This Fiona is obviously a Hippie,” said my Canadian friend. “What else would she do?”

One has to understand what being a Hippie is all about, if one is to understand why Fiona Mackeowan left her daughter and waltzed off to Gokarn. The Hippies were a very special people who rebelled against the institutions, criticized middle class morality, fought against war and nuclear weapons. They hunted for spirituality and found it in India, they gave up luxuries they were used to and turned to Nature’s bounty for their sustenance.

This also translated into copious consumption of drugs like marijuana, and LSD to expand their consciousness, they claimed. They were vegetarian and eco-friendly. They perceived the dominant culture as a corrupt, monolithic entity that exercised undue power over their lives and they turned their backs on this culture. They were gentle and non-violent and believed in love and in the brotherhood of mankind. They had few possessions. Their greeting was generally, “Peace, man.” They rejected the Vietnam War and were practically hounded out of America.

Likeminded hippies converged together to give each other support and created communities or communes much like the kibbutzes of Israel. There used to be a few communes in the beaches of North Goa. They developed a rich culture of theatre, art and music largely psychedelic rock somewhat similar to trance music.

They freed themselves from societal restrictions to choose their own way and find new meaning in life, witness Fiona’s much publicized life in a caravan raising nine love children, and vegetables. She turned into a pacifist hippie after that one violent act of slashing her tormentor’s throat and spending a year in prison.

Hippies travelled light, at a moment’s notice; a knapsack with a few clothes and then they hitchhiked anywhere. They did not worry about money, tickets or hotel reservations. They moved to other hippie households which warmly welcomed surprise overnight guests. Fiona did just that when she accepted Lobo hospitality. Her teenaged daughter must have insisted on staying back and Fiona the hippie did not demur. Most pro-establishment mothers cannot handle mutinous teens. In true hippie style she would not come over heavy-handed with her daughter and drag her off to Gokarn. She respected her daughter’s freedom so dearly prized by hippies and carted off the rest of her children to Gokarn.

To be a hippie you must believe in peace as the way to resolve differences among peoples, ideologies and religions. The way to peace is through love and tolerance. Loving means accepting others as they are, giving them freedom to express themselves and not judging them based on appearances. This is the core of the hippie philosophy.

Fiona Mackeowan is a hippie and has paid the ultimate price for her faith in the brotherhood of mankind. Drugs, alcohol and sex killed her flower child. Now Fiona is fighting that old enemy of the hippies – the establishment.

1 comment:

valmikif said...

Glad Bevinda put the other side in perspective. Our mindset will find it strange that forced sex with a whore amounts to rape.