The Power and Beauty of Anonymity

Who does not love irony, even if it makes you sad? Here, the irony lies in the fact that I am not going anonymous on this!

The power of anonymity is something that is often discussed in political discourse. Literature is rife with tales of how in many cases, the clandestine holder of power is feared in his/her anonymity. The unknown always strikes terror, the faceless Voldemort, the omnipresent Big Brother. The anonymous writer is the one who generates the most controversy, who instigates most the revolutionaries (though you need a face to capitalize); the anonymous lover is the most romantic; the anonymous benefactor, the holiest; the anonymous friend, the most angelic.

I guess the previous words have mellifluously allowed me to travel from the power to the beauty of anonymity. For a long time, I have struggled with this concept, of remaining anonymous. Ever since I read Royal Bengal Rahasya, the concept that for an artist, the most important thing is appreciation for his/her work, has stuck to my mind. I remember how the writer of the travelogues, Tarit Babu, was not appreciative of the fact that someone else was getting laurels for his literary skill. I also remember from some TV show, where a fraud painting was caught based on the fact that a painter would always like to have a touch of his/her signature on a work of art.

However, I always felt there is an ethereal beauty regarding the anonymous benefactor or the anonymous author. A veil of romanticism, that allows the original writer to enjoy adulation in a secretive mischievous manner. But not letting the world know of the existence of talent which can perhaps be of use sometime to that person, might sometimes lead to a guilty conscience.

However, a certain great soul turned my argument in favour of the beauty of anonymity. As all great souls manage to do, she managed to clear out some of the confusion on matters of great intrinsic and spiritual importance to myself. She communicated without the least of the traces of any feeling of regret about how one’s own talent (in this case, literary and scientific i.e. knowledgeable) need not always be explicitly authored. She showed how it is not necessary at all to let the world know, if it wants to, how a beautiful piece of work/art came about. The appreciation, even if it does not reach the author, exists in the abstract world, and that is more than enough. What is this but beauty? I am so lucky to have even come close to understanding this, through this great soul. She has managed to quieten at least one of the several raging battles that are always there in any person. Maybe she has understood or at least come close to understanding without understanding it. But what matters is I have found something everlasting and iridescent, eternal and divine – a lesson, a teaching and a great soul, in the power of anonymity.

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