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BOUNCE BACKS VOLUME THREE (2012-2013) Foreword This is the third volume of my blogs composed as a labour of love during 2012.I dont make any claims as the choice of themes or topics here excepot that these are the issues I pondered over or they alone interested me for their topical relevacne. All or most are on India as she passes through her tribulations during 2012.I hope these blogs have some historical value too in the long run! Dr Sadasivan, Trivandruim 13th June 2012. Contents: Number Topic 1.Win over your critics—with Belial! 2.Incredible India’s Facial Warts 3.The Motherhood Gene and Future India 4.God vs.Divinity Retailers! 5.Can India play Matador to Future Shocks? 6.Some stray thoughts on India 2012! 7.Mammon, the Invisible Demon! 8.An Olympian Metamorphosis! 9.India,the Inimitable and the Unpredictable! 9.Reject Rebirth: Go for the Olympics! 10.Suicide Muppetgate! 11.The Mahi Message for a Blind ,Deaf India! 12.Opiate Dreams of Academic Excellence! 13.Garbage In,Garbage Out! 14.Noisy India’s Multifarious ‘Noises’! 15.Pray for a ‘God Particle’ India! ................................................................................................................................................................ Win over your Critics--with Belial! Hi dear one! Good morning to you all and welcome to my place here! In defence of dissent: Come to think of it true democracy hinges on individual difference in viewpoint and stance and hence a certain quantum of discontent and dissatisfaction. That India is a democracy in this sense is observable in Team Anna, Mao rebels, Naga rebels, and clamouring groups from nooks and corners for separate regional entities. How can we sell the One India Concept to such groups without generating rancour, protest or righteous indignation? What would be the most effective technique to win them over to our side? This is the issue we have taken up today dear kids for brainstorming! The State of Affairs today: The ludicrous goofs made by various ministers, party spokesmen and the successive ministries in India—both at the Centre and in the several States helped me conclude that they lack key managerial skills that anyone in a position of power badly needs to survive. I forgive the ministerial pawns—for party animals and pawns they happen to b e all the time—because they come from varied backgrounds and professions in which they had probably managed to get along without key skills in processing human beings. But I find it difficult to condone the egregious lies they mouth to suit the context, denials and somersaults they are constrained to do verbally for their past doings and then the Niagara of encomium they shower on the party head. Who are the dissidents, pray? By “dissidents” I mean all those that choose to face away from us, including the Coalition partners in a huff like the disgruntled DMK or other Coalition partners, and many more such. But in addition to all these persons there can also be individuals feeling rage with the Establishment for some real or imagined injustice, delay in justice or its denial, local persecution by others and so on. Principles of People Processing: Human beings being highly emotional creatures and endowed with sensitivities of which one may not b e aware at all, HR skills and especially in persuading a group of persons to abide by what you desire of them to do, is a dicey business at best. ‘Processing’ humans and softly guiding them to a mutually acceptable stress-free remedy for a problem situation takes real skill that anyone can get to see from their own biological mothers and often fathers too. There are manifold techniques in management science available to deal with such dicey scenarios. Negotiation is one way. Removing a stormy petrel by offering him or her a top supervisory position is another. Resorting to force to put their dissent down—or arresting the person and imprisoning him for a while-- is still another. But these have side effects of a most nasty kind too at times or are unreliable. Most young women master this skill—with which you can get out any imaginable Catch 22 challenge, domestic ,political, social or administrative-- after their kid come into this world with their own preloaded software and prejudices of various kinds! [Think of that kid absolutely dependent on mother’s milk for its very survival and yet refusing to drink it! Quite similar to the demands raised by Telengana supporters who are having all the comforts of life and development Andhra Pradesh and yet are myopic enough to want to become an island-state that will be an unviable folly as a State entity!] The Sole Way Out: To quote from Milton’s magnum opus, you can’t be a Moloch advocating a confrontationist policy because as we have seen in the case of dealing with the Mao rebels, it will fail. [Moloch thinks of staging an assault on Heaven with the weaponry from Hell because he feels that the demons have nothing to lose thereby. Hell irritates him no end with its nasty stench and heat!] You can’t be a Satan, presiding over all meetings and not guiding them to a wise decision, and also dictating terms arbitrarily because the listener will refuse to accept what you say. Our PM does this most of all –Sonia at least makes her mind clear--with no result except protracted meetings and coffee drinking sessions in the parliament! You can’t be a Beelzebub spreading fear everywhere and turning people’s kidneys into jellies because the Opposition is used to that tactic and its limitations. The glitches we encounter in this country can’t be cauterized away in a second, since many among them took decades to raise their hoods! The only option you are left with is that of Belial. Forget the Belial presented by John Milton for he loved the dithering and the status quo ---much like the pre-2011 GOI—as well as smugness and complacency. We take our cue from him in quelling an angry audience or infuriated group, that’s all! A Belial Approach does have a few pluses, though in the epic poem he was a classic demon with a squamous exterior and scaly skin and possibly a long tail as Satan had! It makes predominant use of the suasion skills set, the gentle way of waiting for the other to respond, paying full and undivided attention to what the other person has to say, and also giving our clues for a better and more acceptable solution bit by bit. The Belial Approach: Belial is helpful not only in the HR but also in marketing area. With this techniques that he advocates through scarcely camouflaged suggestion—his USP—we can sell our coals in the Newcastle coal mine! An instance of the Belial Approach is seen in the proverb, “If you want honey, don’t kick over the beehive!” One poem –by Samra Haq—has it that marketing can be like a kite that “can go anywhere site by site” flying to touch the sky and capable of being in so many colours! It can be doing transactions in the daylight so that everyone “can see me with sight” or done during the nocturnal hours in utter darkness! The poem concludes with this pithy line, ”My work is to fly!” Though in the epic poem Paradise Lost, Belial is a demon we stand to learn much about human beings and how to make them click to your requests from the way he speaks in the great Debate in Pandemonium! I shall now introduce you to him. What Belial said to the enraged demons in Hell: When the debate opens ion pandemonium down below the Earth, as Milton mentions it, it’s Belial that seeks to soothe Moloch’s fiery fury against God for the impertinence of pushing them down to Hell. Belial, a hot candidate for male cowardice and couch potato temperament in a crisis, says that there is no point in another disastrous war against the Almighty. Argues the cunning and foxy Belial in this manner, “There is no point, dear demon friends, in waging another suicidal war against Godhead because of the mismatch in our strength with His. He is far too strong and has also the assistance of powerful angels as a result of which we shall be punished further. We don’t stand even a dog’s chance to win over Him. Thank our predecessors that God has not chosen to punish us by shackling us to posts on this evil smelling shore of the brimstone lake! He may even forgive us our transgressions, dear friends, after some days! “You may allege that I am extremely slothful and inactive by temperament .Some of you may also feel that I have no reason at all in dissuading you from waging a war as many among you must be feeling after this terrible fall from heaven for 8 consecutive days at a stretch till we landed here on the shores of the vast lake of sulphurous waters. May I take it as unanimously agreed that there is no one here that has not been experiencing the intense discomfort of staying near this lake with its molten brimstone? “But I have had a brainwave about how to stymie God in the most fool proof manner by attacking Him from a most unpredictable direction—through persuading Man his only begotten creation on Earth hitherto, into evil ways and even open rebellion against his Creator! “Not only does this approach save us from an eyeball to eyeball encounter with God’s angels and archangels but also will make Him immeasurably disappointed that the human being he created from clay is gone to seed and raising his hand in protest and recalcitrance against Him! “It is easier than you think I assure you dear friends because this Adam fellow is so naive and inexperienced in wiles and wicked ways that we can easily win him over. Or we can influence his wife –Eve—and she is sure to make him loop around her little finger! “God made a grievous mistake by breathing life into Woman and additionally by endowing her so liberally with all that tempts a man even if he is supine and resting in his grave! Ha-ha! One of us must describe Eve to him in such a way that he will be eaten up with insatiable curiosity and a sense of mystery. He will invite his own doom that way possibly! “Another must tell him about her numerous accomplishments, which will whet his appetite further. Still another must describe to him how she can be made use of not only for personal relief or comfort but also for commercial purposes! “Our blessing in this realm is that Eve—poor simple soul-- also is entirely in the dark about how her body can be made use for moneymaking! We shall introduce the concept of trafficking and organ harvesting and prostitution first and then progress form that point to making her forget all shame, don’t worry, dear friends! That is sure to be a real knockout blow to God, her creator! “The power of my suasion skills will enable all of us to sell any wicked idea to this foolish Adam, who is sure to swallow all that we say hook line and sinker! “I can promise you that he won’t bother to report to the Golden Cloud where this Godhead resides and instead may take his wife into confidence! I suggest that we don’t ask him to strain in any manner and give him regular tips of how to escape from this boring Garden of Eden into the world outside and indulge in anything that he likes—say, in gluttony, thievery, murder or avarice or any sin that is sufficiently deadly! “Let’s dissuade him from committing venial sins that God may choose to forgive us if only to make us look cheap! “I suggest that we make it appear to him that his wife can never be complete without making use of the ideas that we tell him from time to time. Make him commit as many kinds of sins with Eve as he feels like it in direct disobedience to God. “Make him utterly dishonest and deceptive and an expert at duplicity and dissimulation! Make Eve cheat him behind his back by indulging in any sin she may take a fancy to. “I assure you, dear friends, none among us have absolutely anything to lose thereby. All that we need to do is to brainwash him effectively by visiting him in some animal shape and then sweetly telling him that it would be a good idea on his part to beguile the time with such and such wicked activities! “Marketing our infernally wicked sins like sodomy or lesbianism on the one hand and our familiar vicious habits and wild notions on the other to this totally naive and inexperienced guy—Man-- becomes merely a child’s play once you try it. His mind as you know is a tabula rasa—a blank slate. “Imagine that he is our sole customer ion this mostly watery planet positioned in space slightly above where happen to be and called the Earth! “Right at the moment is he may be but window shopping with us for what we present as the most wonderful things that he can try out and then he may readily take to each of the vices to which we introduce him. “After wards we can collect the toll from him by asking him to hand over his precious soul! I am sure he’ll be but thrilled to gift it to us! And thus we shall have our first victim in the Inferno! Ha-ha! “Not only can we fry him in scalding oil but also pulverise him bit by bit, grate him against a scraper or flay him of his skin. His descendants are sure as an egg is an egg to follow his footsteps as a result of which there won’t be any human soul in Paradise! Let Godhead rot there alone! Ha- ha! “Familiarise him the fire drink – alcohol—and with tobacco leaves. His imagination will do the rest by finding innumerable uses for both, as well as design new variations of the same. Gradually introduce him to the indescribable delights of all other sins one after another over several months taking care to tell him to play a determined Janus with God and pretend not to have seen any one of us at all!! “The Delta point all of us ought to keep in mind is when he starts rebelling and resisting Godhead and even hating Him to such an extent that he will do anything we subtly suggest to him! “What do you think of this way of transacting a business deal in which we stand in a win-win situation and with absolute guarantee of our success?” Belial Techniques in managing Dissidents: If I were close to the HRD Minister Mr Sibal—sadly I’m not—I’d tell him to bring round the dissidents as follows: i. Emphasis on the Positives of the present: Thank God our India is far more developed today than what she was way back in 1947! Lay maximum stress on the Present day India with its facilities, and ignore the aspects that need your attention! Ask the angry complainant rhetorical questions of the Information and Confirmation type such as the following: Could you list for us the precise deficiencies that you can tell us about? Isn’t there some water facility in the villages that you live in? Don’t you get power most of the time in your remote area? ii. Rapport and Geniality: Shake hands with the rebels and greet them cheerfully and enthusiastically as you would entirely normal law abiding citizens of this nation! Offer them seats in your office room or conference room and request them to seat themselves comfortably! Get their personal preferences and offer them what they would best like! Please play the perfect host at all times and establish contact with them till the solution is satisfactorily solved. Never depute this task to your subordinates! Never interrupt your listeners at any time. Listen and lead –Hyundai fashion--by listening! iii. Reason ,not Petulance and Temper: Never insist on your personal terms at any time. You are the salesman for Secular United India but they are your customers. .Remember at all times that the most fluid and unpredictable element in the marketing scenario is the customer. Your obligation to the nation is to retail them as your colleagues and work towards a better nation! Respect them and be assured they will shift their stance at the drop of a feather from your side! Never, never lose your temper and never refuse or deny anything apparently wild that they may come out with! A customer is fully entitled to be in the dark about the possibilities and the parameters of what he wants! iv. Honesty as Needed: You need to be as transparent as possible and as cheerfully conversational just like a good friend with a common shared objective. Never let them feel that you are speaking to them from a position of unequalled strength and ensure they feel at home as they chat with you! Tell them about your limitations and the legal complications involved in what they are demanding. Assure then through a shake hand shake that you will try to iron out glitches if they are prepared to make a compromise of some kind “so as to be on the right side of the Constitution and the parliamentary system” Entreat them also to be as honest with you as possible! Set up an ongoing friendship first with a hotline to the local District Collector!. v. Gentle Probing: Touch their parental nerve by asking after their kids and whether those kids are not getting the schooling they deserve. Inquire what more you must take care to do for their kids and families. Sound them about their dreams for their kids! Make a list of their most primary demands and promise them to come again for a talk some months later after all these demands have been satisfactorily met to their satisfaction! vi. Permissible Concessions: Concede what you can and convince them of the others that you can’t very well concede as they demand. Be patient and optimistic in expression. Tell them of the GOI’s numerous challenges and request them for co-operation in getting out of these in their own way! Assure them of the GOI’s feeling of gratitude to them for their gesture. Give them a distinct unmistakable feeling of self importance as “authorized representatives of a people with some discontent”. Calculate the approximate coast of the concessions along with them so that they feel temporarily like your colleagues in the office! Brief your subordinates to behave in a respectful manner towards the discontented group as a whole. vii. Promises and pledges: Heartily apologize to them for any mistakes that they accuse you of having committed. Tell them that you might have avoided doing so except that you did not know of their true plight till now! Thank them lavishly for becoming your colleagues for bringing to into fruition a Greater India than the one they had ever seen! Take them into your fold as reliable local contacts of the GOI and the Collector. Assure them that they are honourable citizens of this country and that you a have always respected them for whatever good they might have done! Remember that your promise carries ten times its true significance in their eyes, and so take care to respect them to the letter and spirit! viii. Offer of Collaborative Work: Do make a long list of whatever it is that they insist on and ask them to categorise them into three as Indispensable, Essential and Optional/Desirable. See that they also get a copy of these demands. Offer to work along with them for all round development and removal of existing glitches if any. Make a combined team with your representatives and theirs towards this eventual objective. ix. Patient Listening: No Minister, in his position as a servant of the people, has the right to lose temper with anyone in this country, however trivial be the complaint that the person comes up with for redress. Bear in mind that focused listening is a key managerial trait that all our ministers need in ample measure! x. Conversation in the other’s interests: Unless you learn to talk in another person’s interests, that person won’t ever feel like listening to you! So take a genuine interest in your listener or visitor/s. Think in terms of his pre occupations and problems. Look friendly and behave like that too, and not like a highly powerful official in the Government. Remember that for the rebel or dissident gnashing his teeth in fury or righteous indignation, you are part of an Establishment that he seeks to change or topple at the cost of probably his very life! xi. Recognize the Tipping Point in the discussion: HR makes use of emotional management tools too for desired outcome, and as such it believes in affirming an intention, or a wish with immense faith, positive thinking and other tools so as to create a sphere of appreciative attitude change. In every discussion on a burning issue of the day ,or in a retrospective of how relations got strained in the past, there invariably comes up a tipping point—what you may call the psychological moment—immediately after the issue at bottom is brought to the surface level for analysis and redress. This is where you can hope to kindle awareness, effect a change in mindset and make some real difference! Eliminating the irrelevant side issues is a prerequisite for getting the key disagreement into Nikon focus! The tipping point helps you shift into a positive denouement phase where you admit your mistakes and the other person admits his own goofs and both of you arrive at the finish line when you shake hands and feel relieved of the stress both of you had felt earlier! Conclusion: The Belial Approach helps us in overcoming competitive intolerance of a Shankar cartoon in parliament, convincing Mamata that she is just short of perfection as a CM in WB(which gives her a reason to work harder!) ,bringing round your jealous neighbours, motivating your son in the university to strain more for his examination and even in getting over your tiff with your life partner! Poor Belial! He still remains a demon that refuses to accept change of any kind, is extremely risk shy, feeling smug with what he has in life and a born wet blanket to those that wish to progress! We have no longer any use for him, the springboard from which we have dived into insight! Ha-ha! Jai Hind! 13/06/2012 Incredible India’s Facial Warts! Hi dear one! Let me greet all of you this pleasant pre monsoon morning! India continues to wow the rest of the world in a lot of aspects, which we shall survey today! Introduction: India Syndrome is having many fatal symptoms which, taken separately can be overcome or neutralized. They are often minor and eminently negligible too. Day by day, in a relentless progression, the other symptoms develop according to a pattern finally incapacitating the person. Many fatal diseases like cancer are also insidious, taking their o0wn time to metastasize and take over the spark of life within. The key symptoms that interlock with one another in the India Syndrome are the following, as far as I can see: Religious faiths which not only competes with one another in winning the maximum believers, even poaching on other faiths, but also playing politics as and when they think fit. Too many mushroom parties, which are actually caste-based pressure groups by another label, with set predilections and myopic prejudices and allergies. Half baked policy drafting habit by persons out of touch with the actual needs of the end users of that policy’s objectives Too populist and loosely talking ministers and parliamentarians giving out promises that they themselves forget within a few minutes after leaving the podium The bugbear of tradition which is allowed to piggyback on the progressive approaches and methods of the present day. Unhealthy competition to survive at any cost (thanks to the fast proliferating population) which makes for a moral attrition resulting in burglary, family disharmony, female infanticide and dowry deaths. A generally pervasive ambiance of intense uncertainty which makes millions gravitate to any god man or fake guru that promises at a cost to salvage them one way or the other. Wrong priorities in life which makes for malingering, employee absenteeism, labour strikes, protracted argumentativeness, unreasonable obstinacy, myopia, and monomaniac feelings of being an avatar of some kind! Looking Around: Now that we—unlike the eternal optimist that our FM is by official compulsion and constraint -- are besieged by a surfeit of bad news from all quarters, and are convinced that something is seriously amiss since an S&P warning has been issued to downgrade India as junk,” the first fallen angel among the BRIC nations”. All of you are also aware that a mere band aid dressing won’t save our slumping economy, and that politics is to be pushed to the side if we wish to make our presence felt in the world as a nation. So let’s think a little about the fatal syndrome that has us by its tentacles and how we can save our souls from its clutches. As Madhumita Gupta has put it in TOI recently, “India is fast becoming unliveable what with5t eh INR taking a nosedive in value and petrol prices shooting sky high. The roads are bad, the traffic worse. Power is short and water supply shorter. Paper work is mountainous, but actual progress is invisible. If free and compulsory education is a farce, higher education is a bigger joke where one who doesn’t score well enough for a regular college can pay a hefty sum and acquire a degree in engineering or medicine. What havoc they‘ll wreak on the country and its people! But who cares?” Though we are slightly better than what we were in the 1990s the economy has slowed down to a 9 year low. Policy paralysis is an accepted fact today in an amoral sense due to the stone-faced opacity in governance, the unwillingness to consult with the civil groups, the refusal to accept a 360 degree evaluation of the ministry performance wise by the people at large mid-term, and touchiness to criticism of the least irritating kind. Ongoing also is the hurling of mini Molotov cocktails from nooks and corners of the country in the form of people’s groups including Mao rebels either pointing fingers or sending harder messages but the GOI prefers to cast aspersions or merely stonewall pleas for investigation in a cowardly manner. At least the GOI has come to discover that the Nembutal of carefully diluted, laced or hastily-spun information doesn’t click any longer with the people at large! A lower rate of growth—which will mean lower employment and rising public anger--- ,though it will have to be accepted in the light of global factors and the latest IIP (Index of Industrial production)of 0.01 for April 2012,is gall and wormwood tot he ruling coalition on account of its humiliation potential and likelihood of comparison with the earlier Hindu rate of growth. Lowering the interest rates to bring back the earlier growth momentum is also taboo to the Coalition in the teeth of insistent data tot eh contrary. The RBI as a result is a quandary. Right at the moment the party Kewpie dolls are gibbering madly about the prospective president of the nation with earnest efforts being made to push personal creativity and calibre aside in favour of the party animals and those that have gone high on the political Bacardi rum of power. “What is India?” If a foreigner were to ask me to define Incredible India in a few sentences, I would give such a response probably. “India is an incredible nation Where ,to be the President of the country, one’s caste is a higher qualification than ability and female gender is preferred over the male at times for getting consensus ;the lower the caste of one’s birth the better his or her chances! Where any woman ,if politically connected, can get a walkover to the highest legislative and executive wing of the government without any acceptable or convincing qualification or skill sets drowning, by force of man-made circumstances, in its own excreta owing to 646 million persons not having own toilet facilities and who thus are compelled against their will to relieve themselves in the open Defined by social discrimination of the most iniquitous kinds, with birth based quotas within quotas irrespective of individual merit/ ability/ skill, and where the Constitution looks tampered enough to be misinterpreted to accommodate the most undemocratic practices. drumming up its own claim to be a full-fledged large democracy, where women folk are promised justice but where no woman is safe either inside the maternal womb or outside right till her life is over as a long protracted fever of sorts where the common people, with little education, are so emotionally charged with the drive to improve society and administration in varied ways through the party politics route that they cease often to be human at all and commit heinous crimes euphemistically known as “mere political murders” where truth seekers an truth revealers risk losing their very lives without any investigation taking place thereafter, and where spin doctors have their heyday almost all the time where even criminals are liberally extended chances to get into the highest legislative and executive bodies till their court cases get decided near the end of their earthly lives where the dynastic family notion has done its worst damage in eroding parliamentary tone and governance resonance to people’s needs where, once elected, the chosen person chooses to distance himself from the commonalty by any means available and gradually becomes a specialist in evasion of people’s complaints and proof to criticism Where the chief games of the ruling party X or Y---shackled into a Coalition of hostile “allies” for convenience-- happens to be pointing fingers for every governance deficiency at the predecessors and where parliamentary accountability, responsibility and commitment to the constituency are practically unknown to the elected persons as of this date Where governance has slid into a stupor of non specific aetiology—as a result of which a badly needed CRR cut is still in limbo--and where thinking persons openly pray for a short sharp knock for getting the GOI galvanized enough to respond to the exigency where structural reforms have vanished and administrative reforms get interminably delayed through farfetched controversies and unseemly interventions by committees galore where people have been loaded over the years with so many peripheral crises to be overcome from day to day that they dont have the spare time to engage in any earnest manner with the government in power at the Centre or in States where the population ,already splintered by Chaturvarnya tradition into a hundred castes and communities--both these are deified for no reason to ridiculous levels of nonsense---is further divided into a hundred minorities on the basis of their faith or political allegiance, ethnic groups or languages human deities rule the roost in pick pocketing the weak-minded persons of their savings and misguiding the people through analgesic assurances like Afterlife and Nirvana and Brahma and Soul your birth ,gender, religious faith and level of mediocrity can decide your elevation or otherwise almost throughout your life where a politician’s kid can amass ill gotten wealth to any extent for years before being caught by the State and where denial of opportunity to anyone except to the scions of the politicians is not having news value to the media and Where the irrational often gets accepted as the most rational “by Indian standards “which remain mysterious and practically context-based! India also happens to be a nation where real leadership is almost unknown today--- where it is not expected too--- and, where the intelligentsia get monitored without their knowing for precisely being able to think beyond what the majority can do. In addition this is a country where There is over dependence on the nation being a member in BRICs which according to Jim O’Neill is disappointing in performance and as a driver of global growth. [Says Jim O’Neill, who coined the acronym BRICS, “"India, the most disappointing of them all": "It easily has the best long-term growth potential of these four countries simply due to its spectacular demographics...To unlock this potential, however, India must allow its cherished democracy to actually function and get things done...Hopefully, the sizable nature of the recent disappointments will finally force some of their key policymakers to start making some decisions. The reversal of some of the mistakes made in late 2011, particularly in regard to foreign direct investment, seems key to me."] A ballooning bureaucracy, given to sporadic bursts of activity but essentially self centred enough to give up values too, can afford to be incompetent decision makers till retirement almost totally firewalled from people’s puny efforts at investigation. The political system—“Coalition-weakened” as one writer has put it-- is an obstacle to any change and where any anti corruption bill is invariably defeated in the parliament by vested interests Where investment as whopping as USD 12 billion cant enter thanks to land acquisition problems and outdated land use regulations Outdated tax and labour laws make for discontent and cumbersome differences among the States and changes to mining and mineral development regulations remain overdue Hot potatoes in the form of global recognition for those relegated as inconsequential or needlessly demonized by the GOI for political reasons —such as Dr Binayak Sen-- give headaches to t he ministers all the year around Liberals would think thrice before piping up against the heavy hand of the state The government ,though an ossified relic, remains merely because it is a profitable milch cow for some to benefit for private ends Spending programs are politically inspired and as such they exceed the revenue too at times The economically backward and the downtrodden are mistakenly and arbitrarily labelled as “Forward” and the wealthy often are having a free ride as Backward Classes Surplus grain, as Vikas Bajaj says in a write up with the same caption, piles up and yet the poor are compelled to go hungry Where, though 50% more grain is produced , and grain is exported too, as many as 250 million people do not get enough to eat on a day basis Where, in addition to Magsaysay Award, even international awards like Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, the Heinz R. Pagels Award, the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, r global campaigns spearheaded by Nobel laureates, have had no impact on imprisoning or convicting a person Where resignation to fate—whatever that is!—happens to make the people too weak- hearted to raise their voices against obvious injustice of any kind till rather too late in the day Where hubris is married to a sense of entitlement and where material rewards for even modest performers in sports or games like cricket far exceed their actual contribution! India is also a nation where, for every failure in sports or games at a global level, all kinds of convenient excuses are floated. While one senior player suggested that Indian team’s rout in Australia must be disregarded while another piped up by attributing the failure to being unlucky for astrological reasons! Still another remarked that the Australians had played foul by preparing pitches as suited to them! One can see that the overriding tendency is for plump for spin, ignoring the fundamental failures and problems. Facing the truth is taboo in this country whether it be sports failures or signs of a wilt or wither in the economy! No Uniform Development Pattern: A survey of the Indian States reveals how e disparate and individual the development pattern in every State happens to be. While some are beset by internal rebellion between the Establishment and the anti Establishment groups, others have regional politics problems. Discrimination against dark skin is a villainous factor in some North Indian States, whereas the Pathan look may invite ridicule in the South. Obsession with fair skin is very much there in the matrimonial market across India, I guess, though we Indians are anthropologically a brown skin race by genetic make up! Some corporate firms have naturally tapped into this discrimination and introduced bleaching formulations for spinsters daydreaming about their imaginary Mr Right clones! Some are having high enough unemployment to let its own people migrate to other States to earn their bread, while others are too corrupt at the top to be worth saving. Some have secessionist or separatist fancies too. Some States interpret democratic liberty too loosely as to shy away from the minimum social discipline needed for peaceful existence of the inhabitants: our present day noise pollution, local bullyism, sand mafia, moral police groups, etc as well as the boozing habit all trace their origin to this sin.. All these corroborate the fact that New Delhi is—and has always been-- far weaker in keeping the States under it together than we assume. The unavoidable inference is that their bluster about achievements is more figments of their own imagination than realities that you and I can physically verify! Can India be a Real Breakout nation at all? Certainly she can be, as Ruchir Sharma, head of Emerging Markets Equity at Morgan Stanley and author of Breakout Nations, asserts. Rectifying our illusion bout last decade’s boom—wh9ch was a global boom in reality—he attributes the ineptitude of the GOI partly to global factors, partly to Delhi’s power monopolizing habit, and stresses the need for a whole bunch of reforms. According to him we need to put the welfare state genie back in the bottle and our need to be more inviting to investors from abroad. Observes he,”India functions best as a commonwealth of states not a solid central economy. Leave new legislation up to the States. If India returns its natural social fabric—a competition among states, that’s its best hope” As a cue to alleviate our entrenched and widespread poverty, he points to China, which uplifted its poor by practicing ruthless capitalism despite being a command control economy. Subsidies according to him are crony capitalism; it can’t work in this nation. Conclusion: A Ripley situation develops when a nation or its people go along a path of its own to an extreme limit;some of our stigmata out Ripley even Ripley himself! India is known not only for the jugaad instinct of her people but also for inexplicable and often unsustainable stances on global fora, for taking her strengths too far till they end up as her weaknesses, and ,as for the GOI, for hushing up any attempt to open up and be transparent.. Breakout Nations---, the book I mean--- is as easily accessible to anyone on this planet as real breakout nations, which India also ought to aspire to be at the earliest! Please think over these points as you get on with your regular work, dear children and come back tomorrow for another intellectually astringent session on another theme or topic! Jai Hind! 15/06/2012 The Motherhood Gene and Future India! Hi dear One! Good morning and a hearty welcome to you and to your companions this morning of a Father’s Day! Warming Up: Though this day specifically has been set apart for kids to remember their living or late fathers, I, as a dad of a kid that has just mothered a kid herself, would give my appreciation only to the mother in the family, for, if you think a little it’s mothers alone that are living miracles in the flesh though in the physical sense they are just as migratory from this world to the next as fathers are! You may remain mystified why th there is no 9 wonder in this world these days but I’d like to differ with you! Mothers are miracles because they acclimatize a baby using all the skills in their armoury on the one hand and on the other, do manage to prevent a burnout in spite of 1001 reasons for suffering it! Shall we have a decided look at women in general and at mothers especially on this occasion then? And then against that backdrop of the Motherhood gene at work, we shall see how our elected women folk generally or repress ignore this gene in favour of a political career and perks to do routine work and disappear -- all the time laying waste their latent feminine potential to transform India for their grand kids! After all, some of you are already young moms in a biological sense but perhaps not aware of what management perceives in you! My discussion is mostly on the mother types that we chance upon in this country though 70% or more of what I am revealing to you is applicable to all mothers in the world outside too, irrespective of their individual ethnicity, native tongue, and skin tint colour of the eyes or cultural laminas. Eminent Problem Solvers: Most mothers are instinctive problem solvers and jugaad-wealthy. In other words, they are managers on their own even when they are merely housewives at home! You needn’t thus be amazed when Liz Bishop, a mother in her own right, and the senior VP of Heffeman Insurance Brokers, observes, with commendable casualness,”I love solving problems. That’s emotional cookies for me”, because for some reason, most women derive some enigmatic gratification through working towards collectively acceptable solutions as much as they derive from cooking and making delicacies of one kind or another. [The feminine brand of leadership is thus slightly different qualitatively from the masculine version—probably because of the maternal gene at work-- in having what Dr. Andrew Neuberg christens its “compassionate leadership”. By this term is meant superiority in the communication component that tends to proselytize any kind of employee into dedicated, passionate and loyal elements in the workforce. As a consequence, the overall well-being and tone of ambience in the workplace stands to get improved day by day.] Bringing up kids: Compassionate leadership is what conditions the kid as it grows up with maternal guidance and supervision. Neuberg explains that compassionate communication helps align the brains of the mother and the kid to an unusual degree, to resonate neurally at the same wavelength with what is called neural resonance--, resulting in “an enhanced state of mutual attunement capable of accomplishing remarkable things together”. It happens because it eliminates the natural defensiveness existing in the kid, and to an extent in the mother herself.] Investment for the future: This ability to reach out to another is what makes the kid a good student valued at school, an asset to any organization, a beloved hubby and wonderful dad or mom, and a gem in his or her sunset years. [One’s capacity for relational success at work and at home ,as we all know, is the key reason for one man’s success in actual adult life and another man’s failure, whether at home as a hubby and dad or at the workplace as an employee.] A mom continues to be a problem solver even when supervising her baby with a benevolent eye; often she overshoots herself in her attentiveness to small babies and in giving positive guidance to toddlers and little girls. They have an ongoing dialogue with the latter and readily build teams with them to finish a dull domestic chore. In this way, in a self abnegating manner, they see to it that, no matter their own indigence or discomforts, the kid remains a piece of joy and a jewel wherever he or she goes! How do they solve problems? A mom contrives this by pulling their attention to the present moment rather than a distant one, which stops the inner speech of everyday consciousness temporarily in the mother as well as kid and also sensitizes the mom to what is happening right around her. Communication and consultation with other women folk in the immediate vicinity and then the men folk through them at times are the key tools she makes use of for this purpose. A Mom’s Armoury: A mom’s silence at times—say during meditation-- is actually a non verbal galvanizer for the kid’s brain cells, an actuator for its positive inner speech and a plug for distracting feelings of any kind because it complements her speaking moments. A mom’s half smile is particularly eloquent since it inspires trust and contentment through eye contact. Thus the kid gains control over its inner distractions and learns to pass through pleasant memories. It also learns unwittingly to ‘keep his eyes on t eh ball’—like on -the person it is talking to in a context. The kid learns to assimilate even the continual non verbal cues emanating from the listener. Eye contact not only minimizes cortisol but also increases oxytocin and stimulates the social network circuits in its brain. Mom Chat Style: Have you observed moms taking to their kids breaking their message or information into small phrasal or sentence segments, patiently waiting for the kid to acknowledge that they have understood the message? Why do they do this almost universally? Perhaps they don’t even know t hat babbling on lessens the kid’s attentiveness and tuning in, and that the conscious mind in a human being can retain and process only a tiny bit of information at a time. What if the mom wishes to give a longer than usual message to the little boy/girl? She communicates this in advance and waits to give the kid adequate time to tune out her own intrusive inner speech. Most moms give undivided attention to the verbal and non- verbal messages—words tone or facial expressions-- that their kids bring them and also respond. This kind of listening is having a deep relationship or communication value! If a mom changes the theme of topic of her conversation when another person comes in it sends the message to the kid that normal human beings behave in this manner –opportunistically—and he grows into either a Judas Iscariot (who betrayed his master for thirty piece of silver) a Vicar of Bray (who toyed countless times with his allegiance to Christian sects! It’s in this way that adults learn to tell lies without batting an eyelid! Why can’t we change the home ambiance enough to prevent this tragedy? Other Strategies: Growing workloads and tough assignments lay many business execs low through sheer overwork--- of even up to 90 hours a week-- before they touch 40 but mothers somehow manage to roll over these. How? By taking sporadic time off from regular scheduled work and by shifting to alternative priorities temporarily! [The rigorous self assessment that is needed for this is an instinct with most women!] By taking small steps towards the final long time goal of life rather than straining to attain it at one go! By focusing on what not to do rather than what needs to be done! By keeping a family budget so as to monitor outflow of revenue [Or by having a calendar of to-do lists to be accommodated in spare moments from months to month or from week to week.] By delegating and empowering other teams to accomplish more on one’s behalf. By avoiding the need to sweat over the small stuff and concentrating on the more significant ones. The Bushido Aspect: Most mothers that love their kids have inherited some amount of the Samurai code of honour called “bushido”. When a warrior gets defeated in battle or humiliated, he commits sepukku or hara kiri (suicide). In mothers it surfaces as a kind of extreme empathy--- or identification with the fix the kid happens to be in-- observable even when for earning their daily bread they depend on some dishonourable occupation such selling drugs alcohol or are in the flesh trade. It may be noted that even in forced mothrhood scenarios such as rape this same empathy actually exists. This is primarily focused on the kids’ welfare far more than on themselves and drives them to react violently when their kids’ honour is violated in any manner whatsoever. Comparative evaluation: (a)Dynastic Family Moms: Dimple Yadav is the latest prospective dynastic mom to get into the parliament. To what extent can she succeed as a mom to her kid as such and to what degree can she make it worthy of future India? What of the veteran moms in the club such as Sonia, Kanimozhi’s mom, Maneka, Mrs YSR, Mrs Pawar, Mrs Scindia or Mrs BSY? Are they more of the tiger mom category than the commonplace sedentary type? More often than not, these women were pressed into service by fast changing political exigencies or emergency circumstances than otherwise, unlike their kids. This doesn’t negate the validity of what I said before about mothers in general but there may be some modifications in their demeanour as needed by the changed context. Maternal Time Management: Time management skills alone can help when the workload is unsustainable and targets almost unattainable; one needs to master these life skills if only to ensure sound sleep. Shutting off everything else is also needed at times. How many of these moms in dynastic families are experts in managing their time? Doesn’t their careerist ambition affects their Motherhood Gene to that extent? This time management issue becomes of crucial importance also in our rural India—especially in our less developed States-- where sanitation facilities are poor or unknown and where drought and food scarcity or inaccessibility pose life and death problems. Mom’s Scaffolding Technique: My mom ,who was just a Matriculate with a reading habit in English, used to help us generate breakthrough ideas through this technique of thinking in various ways about the same problem—as Einstein did with the relativity notion for 10 years before he got the brainwave--,though she herself was never perhaps conscious of how psychologists and educationists used it for professional purposes and who it baby steps in exploration for the brain. She somehow knew that forced associations between two disconnected ideas never helped; so she asked us to jot down all the thoughts related to the problem at hand and think out a satisfactory solution to it! [Of course we used simple examples like omelette and academic opportunities (which is easy to forge a relationship through the food-energy-enthusiasm and exploitation of opportunities route), but a modern instance would be the one between blood test and public speaking. (Blood test-blood sugar- diabetes-behaviour change—exploitation of marketing avenues—specific tricks to increase opportunities-newsletter to meeting planners)] She would a present a problem and all the five is us would start thinking and discussing it. It would go to bed with us too that night. The next morning we would come back to it and one of us would hit upon a fresh, yet unprecedented way out of the impasse! I have seen many other moms resort to this same trick to condition their kids! The X Factor in Mothers: All women have something that their own men folk grievously lack: the phenomenal X Factor. As the poetess Maya Angelou elucidates in one of her poems, this X Factor is subtly echoed in not only in her unique build, the flame in the eyes, tone of voice and her pitch level but also in her inner maturity and pragmatic sense, suasion skills, the potency of her smile, inner mystery, and her instinctive reticence to scream or jump about to make her presence felt in a crowd. If only the women folk we elect to political power made full use of these extra abilities for the betterment of the nation at large, India would change for the better far more unbelievably than we care to believe! Feminine Potential to Change: Young India has a poor opinion of all parliamentarians and ministers no matter their gender—most have been reduced to stereotypes in cartoons-- and many wonder if the women folk in the House—irrational and servile to party interests enough to be willing to bay with the mob and self centred-- can be real mothers at all. What sickens most of Generation Y is the tinted glass fixation which makes parliamentary proceedings a mockery in more than one way! Why do our young people feel this allergy and how can this be transformed into enthusiastic involvement in national activities? How can this be removed so that they involve themselves zestfully in national renaissance activities? The why can be answered easily enough. It’s solely because a woman can initiate a lot of incredible change for the better in the workplace, whatever that happens to be! They can for instance as India’s mothers in office Bring about changes in the discussions and debate formats Help popularise innovations in administration Take the lead in health reforms and the crusade against vices of all kinds among the young Persuade the PM to bring in a consistent policy for the ageing and the terminally ill Improve upon any brainstorming opportunities to arrive at a reasonable acceptable solution in the interests of the commoners Cease pointing fingers at others and instead prompt colleagues to look within themselves Introduce a preference in both Houses for seeing the truth as truth and deal with it as such Take on the facilitator role at times to elucidate a novel point Dissuade myopic colleagues from superimposing their private prejudices, perceptions, beliefs and interpretations upon a problem no matter its nature Accelerate the introduction of administrative reforms across the nation Take the imitative in electoral reforms and Women’s Empowerment Bill Our parliamentarian women’s flaw: It’s a pity indeed that they shy away from their creative power and applied imagination. Rather they are observed to swim with the tide, take the line of least resistance when a call for reforms is made and enjoy the sailing without using the Life Force and Motherhood Gene inside themselves as contrasted with their male colleagues. Our woman ministers and parliamentarians choose to play the second fiddle to their party heads and plump for the high- on- the-hog lifestyle as Mem Sahibs but without bothering to think for a moment that they can help the nation gain through the power they hold in their hands! This has disappointed out younger generation not a little. The answer to the How consists in bringing about a little modification of commonplace parliamentary behaviour. A Role for our Elected Moms: Our elected women do have a definite role to play apart from saying “Yea!” to their party whip in a predominantly male Parliament. As mothers they ought to be conscious all the time that the people of this country expect them to put some sense into their colleagues. We may send this message to them through an excerpt from a poem—“Children Learn What they Live”-- by Dorothy M Nolte wherein the term “children” refers to the next upcoming generation keenly observing the men and women in today’s parliament houses. Listen as I recite some lines for you! If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy. To paraphrase the rest, if our people are targeted by a jealous Establishment for some reason they learn to feel enraged at it. If people are constrained to live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. On the other hand, if truth tellers and whistleblowers are honoured and appreciated , they learn confidence. If the GOI encourages religious and political tolerance, they learn patience. So the mothers in the Parliament must see to it that the people of this country live in a culture of appreciation of merit, feel acceptance for their ability or skills, win recognition for innovation or ingenuity, and live from day to day with a definite goal. Within the bureaucracy a culture of honesty, fairness, kindness and consideration needs to be cultivated. If our people can live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect. All of them must see to it that the nation goes to bed at night with a sense of security with faith in themselves and in those about them. Community level and inter- communal friendliness need to be given a fillip too for that will make Indian feel like loving and living for this India of ours! The Skewed Motherhood Gene: I have analyzed the classic mother hood phenomenon for you but of course you must know that this can exist in a million variations. Sometimes it is deliberately repressed for alternative advantages like remaining in power for business development purposes too. Mamata is a peculiar person that is so whimsical and so intolerant—like Lady Macbeth-- that she can’t understand what I am trying to say about motherhood. Her abortive attempts at manufacturing silence in her State bear testimony to this. No wonder she is a wallflower spinster still because she is unfit to be a mother in the accepted sense. The other women in the Lower House also seem to be having their own over aggressive (e.g. Renuka Choudhury), over principled (Sushma) or other similar stands. The women in the Upper Housie are more invisible than they care to think! The Skewed Mom Gene articulates itself in various unfamiliar ways like the female body builder the mercenary sniper, suicide bomber, baby snatcher, the female bully, dacoit ring leader and grave keeper. Mothers vs. the Needed Change: The slow collapse in India’s elemental struggle to feed her people is very much observable on our streets ---in our anaemic women, malnourished and underweight kids. It is also clear that the USD 68 billion or 4% of our GDP being spent on bringing them back to health has been of little avail. What can the mothers among the elected do for improving the current situation? They can do wonders if only they take it as their mission for a while! Change from today’s India with her many challenges may look like a Mission Impossible for our men—especially the passive candidates that have merely come through the election pipeline -- but with active assistance from our women—change managers of one kind or another under their home roofs-- they can easily materialize these changes with great velocity. Boldness changes everything and we Indians need to overcome our fear or loss of control. Changing the Starvation Scenario: Our off and on governance competence has seen to it that millions of us don’t get access to food of any kind; many more don’t get the balanced food they need for maintaining health. Can’t the elected women do—either alone or in groups -- to help out these people? Can’t they get the stockpiled grain in underequipped warehouses released to the poorest of the poor? Don’t they know that the PD system is riddled with graft ? Can’t they put vigilantes at work in their constituency to prevent officials themselves stealing grain at various points in the supply chain? Can’t they argue against this cash subsidy notion ,which is sure to take away the incentive to earn one’s keep ? Can’t they help remove this humiliating nick name that India has –as the Republic of Hunger? Don’t they know that 21% of Indians go to bed hungry every night? Can’t they make people aware of where and how to get food material for their needs? Haven’t they read Utsa Patnaik’s book titled “The Republic of Hunger “wherein she observes that food availability in 2004 remains at the same rate as it was in 1934 at 153 kgs a year for rice, what and other cereals? Can’t they help people become more hygienic by advocating sanitation initiatives and increasing people’s awareness of the problem? Dont they know that half of India’s people defecate daily in fields bushes and beaches? Don’t they know that measurable increases in Indians’ income ahs not kept pace with their food habits and that with higher incomes they are eating less and less nutritious food? Cant they discourage migration to the cities where increased income cancels out increased chances for living a healthy life because of the increased expenditure involved? Cant they motivate hospital staff to help enhance the awareness among the people? Conclusion: India waits for her mothers and mothers-to-be to take the initiative in changing her present day glitches galore. She silently prays that our women involve themselves actively in a nation building program according to an action plan in active consultation with elected and empowered men folk. She longs to see her elected women representatives instigate their colleagues to be more purposeful and pro active and less distracting and impulsively reactive. She yearns to be out of the hunger and the despair she feels and has feeling for over 60 years now. She earnestly hopes that the Motherhood Gene in our ministers and parliamentarians take over their style of demeanour in the GoI! Jai Hind! 17/06/2012 God vs. Divinity Retailers! Hi dear one! Good morning to you and to your friends! This morning we shall discuss a very interesting letter I got from someone recently, in which the person claims God himself to have kept aside a letter for him at his home! After listening to the letter you may help me with your queries! I am deeply anxious about the role our spiritualism peddlers in various avatars are playing at present in this part of the world how severely underutilized they are keeping themselves how they seem to ignore the huge developmental challenges we the laity are eyeball to eyeball with today and What infinite possibilities exist for them to lend their shoulders to the stuck-in-the- mud wheel of social underdevelopment and help change India’s present complexion! Letter from God to Man: Let’s begin our discourse with a one-of-a-kind letter. This letter, written on white linen in a scrawling hand with a few Hogarthian flourishes when the sentences open, has the title “What God wishes you, Man, to be in the know of!” and reads as follows, “Sir, I am constrained to address you dear son in the formal tone because you seem to have wandered away from the lifestyle that I would have recommended to you if you had consulted me in time and thus ended up as something of a stranger on your planet! It beats me no end why you gave me this nasty surprise because I had ensured that you never lacked supposedly “holy” texts composed not in the wake of any revelation but painstakingly over years in a symbolic manner’ also gave you adequate gestures of my irritation through many natural disasters. In spite of these, you seem to be encouraging persons for speaking and practicing much nonsense in my name, while all the time I’ve remained without intervening in any manner at all watching you perform these antics from a safe distance! Haven’t I endowed you with instinct, intuition and practical wisdom enough to manage your womb- to tomb existence intelligently and successfully? Haven’t you thus understood that I am not to be made a chimera of but to be translated into day and day out reality through your speech and action? Don’t you perceive that you are speciated from primates with a larger brain size and more adaptability to existing in all climes? Why can’t you use your skills to uplift your less fortunate co-beings and those that depend on you? Have you lost faith in praying, which auto stimulates you to further effort and further gains too? When did I ever ask you to cloud your reasoning faculty with the sauce of faith alone? Whether I am entirely mythical or a reality of your imagination you may not know for sure. Well I exist in your brain, solely and exclusively, and between the cerebrum and the cerebellum! I am not in a stratospheric paradise as you imagine! The single ability to understand this point is your intellectual honesty, nothing more. I am just a pleasant comforting man-made myth—though a far cry from that hallucination that psychologists think me to be-- that you can easily take to and live with if only to shy off many of the stressful situations that will come vrooming in your direction! My raison d’être is that you can minimize any uncertainty with me as your crutches! Besides being a catalyst for any acceptable action or behaviour, I also protect you from coming out with your basic simian nature. My single counterbalance and counterpoint is the Devil, who sneaks into you through the Pleasure Route. The more you hanker after that route, the more unsuccessful you are designed to be. You may know that pleasure is happiness with a sinister bend to it! And happiness is joy without the demon element of unfairness in it too! Happiness Route leads to me and heaven, right at your home and hearth, not necessarily a temple church or mosque, which are essentially meta adjuncts to unwavering belief in your own self, which is what your belief in me too is eventually destined to achieve!! Lovingly yours, God.” This made me think for a while in silence and ask myself these initial queries: If God made the first man (Genesis 1:26) who is He addressing in this mysterious letter, pray? Or was the letter composed by a man in some earlier century sine the linen is already yellowing? How come the devotees of any spiritual man here don’t feel ever like questioning some wild notions doled out to them, irrespective of their technical pr science background and academic achievements? What kind of hypnotism transports their disbelief into a semblance of conviction? I started thinking about the human representative of ancient Vedic truths or revelations and/or divine messages that we have right amidst us today. Recalling the many clown questions that I hear all the time about the truth element behind supernatural phenomena, possession by human spirits, paranormal actions, God and so on, I thought about the men and women that carefully parry and pirouette the word “God” per se but nevertheless claim to be doing something in His name as His ambassadors on Earth, camping at present in India! Now let’s evaluate these persons for their pluses and minuses! Evaluation: Development Trigger: It is undeniable that these spiritual men manage to pool a lot of monetary resource s and human talents for regional development in one way or another. Puttaparthi –meaning ant hill— was an unknown spot, a hamlet scarcely visited by any tourist or nomad. If today there are so many educational and medical institutions around that place and if basic needs for water and sanitation facility have been responded to without Stat aid its merely because of unstinted support from Sai Baba’s supporters worldwide as also from their willingness to help these institutions develop to almost global excellence. Peace Conduit: All human deities have been rendering some kind of service to harried persons seeking mental peace in the general miasma of uncertainty which we call life. Whether they contrive to impart a feeling of peace and emotional stability by first hugging them and them paying a listening ear to their problems and suggesting as way out of the glitch is immaterial and irrelevant. Whether they father forth institutions of various kinds and thus accumulate some savings is also not much significant in the light of the regional development they being about when the governmental agencies are not up to the job themselves and the people need a prod to reach out. Polaris Role: All kids need guidance of some kind or another at various times as they grow and parents often fail to meet their expectations owing to thoroughly down to- earth or other reasons. It’s the human deities that readily fill the gap here to help the kid move along the route of righteousness and fair play. Let’s not forget here that you and I are also kids at heart often nonplussed at the turn of events and twists in the circumstances. Take the case of a couple of professionals-man and wife-finding themselves on the rocks of their marital life. These human deities can be approached and they may give us some tips that will help us overcome the anguish or trauma caused thereby. The Negative Aspects: Expert in Stop Gaps/Diversions/Distractions: 99% of the human deities in India—I am yet to hear of any parallel in any other country with the possible exception of Thailand where there is one women running a racket in God’s name—offer merely analgesic remedies for our earthly problems . For hours they go on dilating on the unverifiable ideas or notions such as Nirvana or afterlife to the exclusion of what the premises need urgently and who local floods can be best avoided, or in which way all faiths converge in a single divine concept. Inspiration Potential Denier: Though they are often extremely well educated an trained in engineering or medicine themselves, they don’t bother to spare a moment during their daily discussions or in their speeches from public podiums to encourage well educated young men to start enterprises and rarely consult the ministers or parliamentarians in power and discuss what is needed at State level or regional level. Most of these human deities live within their narrow service repertoire as a result of which they don’t care about the felt needs of the region apart from the spiritual thirst. Civic awareness is something most of us lack even if educated. So across India it’s easy to see men urinating on roadsides or mounds of faeces floating on supposedly holy rivers and streams. Garbage throwers in public places or in neighbouring land plots are another challenge. Careless smokers harm others as they walk along with passive smoke. Drunkards cause public nuisance. Reluctance to actively improve premises before the monsoons and keep one’s immediate premises clean is also another problem of civic awareness deficiency. Why can’t these human deities tell their inner circle devotees to spread the good word, and act as pyramid tops in telling the commoners about the need to improve the situation? Why can’t they ask people to form groups in the neighbourhood towards keeping cities clean and healthy in ambiance? Why can’t they consult experts and bring their expertise to bear on the awareness of the local people and their devotees at large? What stops them from constituting dedicated youth groups towards this objective in all places within limits of the city they live in? Luxury Monger: 99% of the human deities in this country India live in dream homes with all kinds of comforts that only a millionaire in a third world nation can afford to have. Perhaps these are offered to them gratis by their devotees or persons hypnotized by what they say ort perform by way of rituals. Either they keep these extra unearned assets close to their chest and never make this information public even to their devotees or if caught out they may reveal these only to the taxman—that is, if the taxman dares to raid the Ashram or Monastery! Think of the recent raids conducted by the police to the mysterious deaths and disappearances of young people at many places in India! Think also of the fake spiritual peddlers surviving merrily in the nation with outlandish dresses on and way out theories and excuses of their mysterious vanishing acts! Think of the young men that visited these places and returned home as either nervous wrecks or lifelong recluses! Osho, an Indian god man, had 97 Rolls Royce vehicles which he used for carrying himself to distances. The Hugging Saint in an Indian State has also a dozen such high luxury vehicles to travel in—all bought with tax free funds under the umbrella of the Charitable Societies and Trusts Act! Ask yourself where the charity element is in this 5 star luxury lifestyle being led by human deities in supreme indifference to the 750 million poor people in a poor country such as ours! If a survey is taken of the mobile assets of these human deities in India, the population is going to be jolted out of their senses by the sheer wasteful luxury in which they make it a point to wallow as if only such a life style befits them as ambassadors of heaven on Earth, camping en route at the some hamlet or town. As a result there are many scenarios where the holy (?) man or woman lives in a posh set up—humbly called an Ashram-- whereas the villagers around go to bed hungry or malnourished or with intense uncertainty about their own security. Phantom Role: In my observation a deity in a temple or a church is far more easily accessible than a human deity. The doors are open and you may easily go in, perhaps after keeping your footwear outside for cleanliness. But meeting a human deity in India is an ordeal with almost no parallel. You have to wait in a long queue and make hefty donation to the Ashram authorities for development or supporting some orphanages or buy pendants or bangles with the man’s or women’s name inscribed. You are often also constrained to doff your habitual clothes and don some queer dress items. This makes you extremely self conscious well before you get a chance to even see that human god sitting inside on a throne! These human deities make it a habit not to reach out with zest and initiative to the State governments in a symbiotic manner as a result of which the latter suffers loss of societal goodwill. The ostensible excuse for this reluctance is that they have no time other than to think of God and the soul. My suggestions: Its many years since the newspaper managements, as the publisher of the most popular media among our erstwhile PC-illiterate people, became actively interested in the younger generation of Indians and started such initiatives as NIE (Newspaper in Education scheme launched by The Hindu group). Many years have also rolled by after the Indian banking institutions in turn realized their need for maintaining, periodically diversifying and promoting social commitment along with their till-then core activity- intelligent foresighted utilization of existing assets and generation of more and more profit. Corporate firms had given the banks this cue for CSR as you can observe for they felt they couldn’t keep up the community goodwill and customer support they had without sparing time for such activities as free tuition for the underprivileged, encouraging the saving habit among kids by facilitating zero balance pigmy accounts, donating houses for the tsunami hit or for gifting wheel chairs to the physically disabled or reading glasses to the poor and the old.. All these addressed a really felt need of the time-the severely understaffed and overloaded social welfare departments of the State Governments. None of us can sustain ourselves without having some social and community support .if we exclusivize ourselves—that is cut ourselves off-- dress-wise and demeanour wise beyond a limit, the rest of the community and neighbourhood, observing us to be totally self centred and buried in our own comforts, tends to not only ignore us but also suspect us too of wrongdoings that we may not be really guilty of! Coming to our human deities, they had better put their ears to the ground and hear the groundswell of discontent they are generating all around by behaving in this manner. They had better fully and conscientiously take in the prevailing needs of the region where they have their hermitage or Ashram and come out to actively participate in all developmental activities rather than offer courses in Patanjali Yoga ,Nirvana mantra, Sudarsana kriya, Surya Namaskar or Kundalini. Indian society is facing a million issues –relating to basic sanitation, election malpractices, refusal of accountability by the elected, GHG emission, political musical chair games, deplorable sense of hygiene, civic awareness, persistent superstitions, meaningless ritual adjuncts, fake swami phenomenon, unauthorized pseudo spiritual services sold at an exorbitant fees, corruption culture, forced marriages and urban marital rupture, female foeticide and infanticide, dead and deadening community customs like honour killings, ethnic apartheid ,marginalization of the fair sex At home and abroad, boozing by the head of the family, domestic violence and so on. My queries: Is it morally right for these human deities to keep aside at a safe distance from all these and merely watch from their velvet thrones? Can they claim to be human avatars of some Hindu deity or ancient prophets when they are misbehaving with helpless women devotees or naive teenager girls? How much longer can they live in peace and harmony without being equally considerate towards the less fortunate dragging on their lives all around them? What stops them from running free education facilities for these people? Why can’t they, instead, mobilize global support for removing these developmental challenges using their clout and funds and then live happily to see a more contented population bow at their feet with sincere-repeat sincere-devotion? Why can’t they make it clear to the devotees that too much faith per se won’t help them succeed in their individual lives and that men ought to behave more responsibly towards the members of their households? Why can’t they exhort the youth to desist from life smothering vices of one kind or another? Why can’t they establish a mechanism for rehabilitating the refugees from natural disasters? Is it not the bounden responsibility of these persons as Indian by birth and domicile to help the nation become better through their services galore? How come these spiritual men and women remain supremely ignorant or indifferent towards the numerous Hindu-Muslim or Christian-Muslim clashes that have taken place in this country even before 1947? What stops them from bringing all other faiths together and arranging a Share Food Day once a month? Won’t such initiatives discourage communal strife from taking place in the future? What stops them from asking the parents to minimize wedding expenses and superfluous luxuries for status maintenance, ostentatious display and impression generating purposes? Why can’t they ask the managements of marriage halls to donate surplus food to the destitute and the beggars out in the streets? What stops them from asking people to live in brotherhood and fraternity and help one another in crises of one kind or another? Don’t they know that malt does more than Nirvana can to justify God’s ways to man? Why can’t they help the social service NGOs and government agencies in alleviating our rampant poverty and misery? Conclusion: We shall end this discourse with a slyly mocking quote from a notice board put in front of a temple in Mumbai. The notice board says to the devotees,”Please do not leave your wife alone in crowded areas. If she gets lost you may mistakenly think that it’s an answer to your just finished prayers!” The Hindu way of life teems with many such baseless beliefs since it is almost a hundred centuries old, if we follow historical records. Why can’t these human deities help erase some of these beliefs from our minds? Please think over the many points that we have brainstormed over and come tomorrow here at the same time, dear kids, Bye! Jai Hind! 20/06/2012 Can India play matador to future shocks? Hi dear one! Welcome to you this slightly misty morning! It’s time that you and I took stock of where we are headed for and what future waves of shock we can legitimately expect, making a projection from where we stand today! I read Alvin Toffler’s masterpiece titled Future Shock some months ago during a weekend; it convinced me once and for all that about 80% of the surface phenomena that we are reading about or seeing in the media are having one primary trigger—the desire of both this planet’s humans outside India and our countrymen to remain as de-stimulated as they possibly can! Such techniques include closing blinds, wearing sunglasses outside one’s home, taking only familiar routes home, turning on room air conditioners to muffle the sounds from the street below, visiting silent beaches, etc . Haven’t you seen many such people? Toffler lists the symptoms associated with these as confusion irritability profound lassitude and a panicky sense. Haven’t we seen all these in either our bureaucrats or our ministers? Consider as illustrations of this oncoming tsunami of change the Occupy Wall Street movement, Slut Walk, Arab Spring, the execution of Gaddafi, the Vatican approval for female priests, the court go-ahead for gay ‘marriages’, surrogate baby scenario, the Euro collapse, the US economy slump, the Anna groundswell, the incarceration of some Cabinet ministers, open criticism of our senior ministers, the Pawar slap, the trial and imprisonment of Hosni Mubarak and the appearance of the metrosexual man and woman. Classic examples of this tendency to resist having to go above the adaptive limit—Toffler’s eloquent expression—are the following: totally closed car door glasses, preferably with less than 10% translucency; Mr Sibal’s attempt to gag the Internet accessibility callous indifference to strangers fallen on the road in accidents, utilitarian approach to life partners resulting in make-and-break marriages and kids, Mazurier case being the worst in recent times ministerial tantrums, including Mamata’s pouts and sneers parental heartaches over their kids going through either live in or in rebound relationships of various kinds across the caste spectrum; female foeticide and infanticide, bride burning acts, dowry demands honour killings to run no risk of going outside one’s Khap clan Stepney excuses and hasty justifications doled out for blatant financial shenanigans And many more can be observed. Across India we can see this glaringly acting itself out from day to day if you but bother to step out of your front door. Shock-shy Ostrich Mindset: Indians are, now that the pace of change all around them is so forced by unseen factors, trying their best to maintain themselves within their adaptive limit and threshold of familiarity to offset all chances of suffering disturbance and disorientation. Cocooned to a couch potato lifestyle, and short listing their friends, they are tuning out their external environment to better evaluate their inner environment. Though in their heart of hearts they know that they can’t resist change in this fast changing digital world of ours around them, they are trying their best to ward off any change from status quo. Some, in their self indulgent despair seek refuge in ancient religious notions, while others flee to spiritual persons for relief from this stress. Some others already got singed in advance, take their own lives! Predictable Future Shock Triggers: I have been able to sift out a few of these and we shall have a taste of these but you are welcome to help me add to the list any time! We shall discuss these in two phases; I shall describe to you now (a) the state of affairs in each of these spheres where I see serious crises developing fast and (b) In our second session we shall see how they impact the nation’s future as shocks, shudders and violent heaves. The single difference between you in your twenties and me in my 60’s can be one of horizontal observation of the events that occur from day to day rapidly in your case and my vertical evaluation of these same vents and their primary reasons and after effects across the decades that are behind us! In my inner eye, I have seen the following system eruption signals: i. Stagnant Land Reforms affecting infrastructure development: You may have read about the National Land Reforms Council not having met even once after its formation two years ago and after its agenda was prepared by the ministry concerned. Land use across India has thrown up glitches in acquisition, fixing of reasonable price compensation, and proper use. In connection with the final point here we need to mention how unwise it would be to rehabilitate tribal persons and give their land for private companies to exploit a la Singur. All States have this contentious issue in front of them. In my foster mom city in Kerala there is a JNNURM project with many minor projects under its umbrella; it has been unable to take off as a result of this one problem. Overheads have also spiked. Effect? India’s infrastructure development will be seriously compromised as a result of confusion over this issue. ii. Bottlenecks in key sectors: Education: There are glitches galore in the primary, secondary and tertiary education realms but of vastly different intensities and complexions. Bottlenecks are their common hallmark, as a result of which India doesn’t have world class institutions at any of these levels. The stress on textbook knowledge is one of the biggest problems in our education system. The habit of churning out dull, drab and boring teaching material in textbook format and then compelling the pupils to study them exclusively—leading to high dropout rates-is another. De-motivated or inadequately motivated teaching faculty—and consequent diversionary activities like union formation-- is still another, though this can be remedied with better pay scales and provision of facilities and prospects for advancement and creativity. Many schools are just too primitive and ramshackle to even qualify as schools. Most lack comfortable toilet facilities. Automatic promotion of all pupils till Std VIII pooh-poohs all prospects for real ability to develop within the pupil. Indifference to mathematics: At primary school level teaching of subjects, especially mathematics is so deplorable that a lion’s share of the pupils develop a lifelong allergy to the subject. The fault lies with the teachers to a horrible degree here. Not only are teachers of this subject in general ill trained to make the subject exciting through oral quizzes, fun games and stories and discussions but also they are in the habit of complaining about the heavy workload that they have. Maths learning is mostly rote-learning in a meaningless and mechanical manner. At high school level maths learning is abstract, which makes for abject fear of the subject. This decline in learning levels in this one subject, with possibly environment science also breathing down its neck—as an NCERT survey discovered recently---, takes away the inner resource of the pupils as they pass Matriculation and enter the portals of a college. With millions of school students turning up their noses at mathematics, India loses its edge in all basic sciences that make liberal use of a mathematical base –like chemistry and physics. Regulatory bottlenecks in education department are a big retrogressive aspect indeed. At university level we have the bogey of poor quality research dissertations and uninterested disgruntled guides and supervisors for doctoral work. Brain drain is also a challenge. Health: All of you know that human life has a brass farthing’s value in the majority of India’s private hospitals, especially those in WB; all that they exist for is to make as much money as possible through often qui9te below pare quality services. The unethical practice of incentive payments by such hospitals to taxi drivers to bring accident victims to those hospitals by preference also needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. It is equally unethical for doctors to prescribe too many often unaffordable and costly tests as a pretext for determining their diagnosis conclusively, say for a fever. Doctors vie with one another in prescribing such surgeries too; one orthopaedist in Bangalore specializes in insisting on knee replacement for even minor mobility problems, whereas another compels the patient to go in for surgery for kidney stones. Hospital contracted infections – called noscomial ones- are also not that rare! Crass commercialization and all round corrupt practices underlying medical education in the country have not only cheapened Hippocrates the venerable Father of Medicine through most non-ethical rules, restrictions and regulations and practices but also eaten away the vitals of the health care system at the service provider level. Corruption in private clinics and hospitals got exposed recently, kicking up a veritable hornet’s nest. Mr Kapil Sibal has done not a little harm with his supposedly innovative reforms in academics such as the recent announcement of a single test for entrance to IITs and engineering colleges across the country. His ostensible excuse for putting JEE on its head in this manner is that most candidates that appear for this exam fail to make the grade for getting entrance. Environment: Our Creator, according to a quote from the Midrash, is said to have told Adam in the Garden of Eden, “Take care that you do not destroy my universe for if you destroy it no one will repair it after you”. Today our craze and craving for development at any cost has virtually led us as a race to the very edge of doom. We are at war with birds, bees, fish, earthworms and even bacteria that play vital ecological roles. Not only do we refuse to respect the survival rights of animals and plants but also gouge out minerals and metals from t he Earth at an alarming rate. So bleak is the picture that the bull dozer and not the atom bomb may turn out to be the most destructive invention of the 20th century. Terrible hike in road accidents due to vehicle density: Road accidents, primarily caused by negligence, drink, listlessness or sheer ennui from too much wealth, have increased primarily due to a handful of factors interlocking with one another and making progress virtually unthinkable. Unintelligent distribution of wealth through taxation law pitfalls, plus doling out undeserved lump sums to young people on birth and caste basis regardless of their eligibility has led to too much wealth and related vices in a percentage of society. This has caused ennui in the youth in that segment of our population; this leads to rash riding/driving habits. Roads can’t be easily widened as needed owing to problems associated with land acquisition and determination of reasonable compensation. Vehicle manufacturers are a segment within the industrial sector and as such can’t be discouraged with higher tax rates. Collaborations with foreign manufacturers in this area can’t be put off since valuable foreign exchange is badly needed to boost reserves, which are necessary for repayments. Population density aggravation can’t be reversed with a definite One Child policy because of Muslim and Christian vote bank clout. This high density and related spurt in unemployment among youth are but logical and predictable. Boozing among youth is also another spin off of unemployment or underemployment. iii. Politics for the sake of politics: 85 paise out of every Rupee spent fails to reach the end beneficiary as there are about 140 silos that deliver the benefits. One person-one-job paradigm has overwhelmed the bureaucratic mindset to the exclusion of one- person-more-than-one-job paradigm as in the army. All politicians in today’s India need a certain level of education and basic aptitude to tackle delicate situations. But our senior—and probably also most junior-- politicians grievously lack the skills. If we are to believe research findings why kids develop these skills it is because they have been brought up in home ambiance minus the need for argumentativeness and verbal fights to get justice. The present day El Nino that we have over the election of our Presidential rubber stamp—supposed to be being fought to the finish between Pranab and Sangma-- is but a calculated red herring thrown to give us a false scent –in this case a feeling of false security in a time of global churn! No wonder a tea seller and a fish vendor also want to compete for the same position! Ha-ha! Also in this trifle category is the proposal of printing currency notes with the picture so other famous men! As Mr Harsha Bogle remarks, “If the thought that went into ensuring someone was president was channelized into the economy we might be better off”! Lack of transparency is a glaring hallmark today, as for instance we observed in the UPA rebuff to Team Anna’s demand for an investigation into ministerial deficiencies. Being buffeted in the cross currents of flaying criticism for its stances to performance style both in India and abroad, the UPA has found itself totally out of its familiar depth. This is also part of the eruption that’s to coming in these areas. Listen to the business honchos’ charge sheet against our present day government at the Centre: “the most destructive regulatory environment in telecom” “working without a leader as a country” “lack of fiscal rectitude and uncompromising coalition partners” Apathy towards FDI “Unelected PM without a political base” “a government that denies top citizens w2hat in the free world is a given-FDI in retail, insurance and banking” “refusing to release national initiatives And energies” “governance deficit” “government without spine and drive” “govt driven no0t by policies but by politics” “Notorious for controversial decisions that have sunk investor confidence” Govt. Unique for hastily improvised quick fixes” “From telecom to mining, the government has blundered with an indifference that is galling to say the least. It's truly a shambolic performance by a government headed by the father of economic reforms” Economic Times has observed with commendable perception and perspicuity. iv. Drastic Electoral reforms: Drastic electoral reforms are the need of the hour as many enlightened citizens have been demanding for months now but nothing much has happened till because of numerous spanners thrown into the works, as it were. The Election Commission, armed with the full offline and persona knowledge of the voters in every constituency, is adequately empowered to put in place all the mechanisms needed to ensure fair play among the candidates and conduct elections that convince the nation. Yet they are not up to the mark in doing so for a host of reasons, primarily that of refusing to learn, owing to bureaucratic complaisance, from every election how voters in a constituency tend to behave. Technology—and firms specializing in demographic analysis and data mining-- can be their handmaiden in even predicting voter behaviour yet they are not using it! v. Shocks from government schemes: We shall begin with the shocks that we get from GoI’s or State governments’ projects or polices. What can go wrong in a Scheme? When it comes to development, to borrow and suitably modify tan observation by Hayagriv, a gemmologist tycoon about the jewellery industry, there are three aspects: (a) Mining the idea behind a project, a scheme or a policy, taking the cue from abroad or from advisors or from the snippets in the media (b)Production of the scheme by drafting and redrafting a Bill or Ordinance till it has but a single objective that is viable, pragmatic, acceptable and feasible and (c)Launch of the scheme and monitoring its performance that it is answering a felt need across the nation. If you make a cool analysis of the schemes and projects and policy initiatives launched by the GoI over they4eara you can find not a few Himalayan blunders in each of the three stages It’s these glitches either permitted to remain the policies and scheme s for decades or modified but insincerely by the many committees concerned with them to protect vested interests that have caused many crises in India in her sectors and segments. vi. Data mining the citizen : Citizen profiling is a strong word all right but something in that direction in this country India started some years ago, starting with subliminal advertising of the Nehru --and then Gandhi--family through the names of projects and policies. No one gave it much importance for obvious reasons. However, these days the Indian citizen is under the government scanner for all the wrong reasons, chief among them to see if he is a real or potential threat to existing ways of the Establishment. [Observed how you take a survey on your health profile and soon are inundated with information about the DM2 that you are suffering from? Or ever wondered how online sources send you unasked all information about the best gynaecologists if you happen to be pregnant woman? Well it’s the same technology at work gouging out the ore of our data driven lives in a surreptitious manner and making capital use of it! The difference here is that it’s the government that is making use of some such for getting to know us better!] Multiplatform strategies to predicting citizen behaviour are being used in subtle ways. It’s of course through a ‘cookie’ approach that’s being utilized towards this end. (Cookies you know are bits of computer code inserted in your mail intended to track your online activity!) The apparently innocuous UID has been the latest tool used for this purpose, (its predecessors being the ration card and the voter identity card), but an effective tool that can be used, at least in theory, to debunk reservation claims from pressure groups, to unearth in an emergency, to discreetly use for espionage in another nation if needed in future, to give tips to the State police or to the CBI to shadow, or to trash citizen status. vii. India Inc. takeover of GOI: It’s not only the Tatas and Birlas that are behind the scenes of every budget in an invisible manner but also many other interested industries in the country. That these firms have their favourite moles inside the po0wer corridors makes it impossible for ministers and their ministerial bureaucratic subordinates to remain Admirable Crichton clones for long even if they wish to do so and also increase the pressure they are from night and day. In one way all this indicates a weakness inside the prevailing system that has distinctly benefited from this contact with India Inc. But also it predicts a total cannibalization possibility in which case corporate will determine the national government policy and budget allocations using their duly empowered political representatives! viii. Anti corruption vigilantism: How long can the government in a democratic nation keep itself protected from snooping public eyes behind a door with a Chubb lock on it? How long can the elected parliamentarians or legislators avoid being subjected to a Gallup poll to decide whether he or she is bête noir to the voters or not? And how much longer can whimsical chief ministers continue to have it their way in Indian States? “Not for long!” or “Start counting the weeks!” can be the single answer! Right? Anti corruption movements started only recently but have picked up steam; they have also exploded cluster bomb style into hundreds of such popular articulation pathways like investigator journalists for channels and print media, sting operators, private detectives and for IPaidaBribe.com It can’t be said that these haven’t changed India and the rest of the world a tad but that’s only a tip of an iceberg as immense as that in the film Titanic, which is reason enough to believe that a shock can’t be avoided in this area in the coming years! Corrupt practices still take place but in a subterranean fashion and below the radar level of law enforcement agencies. Let’s hope that the GoI rises to our expectations in sanitizing them of the element of suspicion! Listen to some such! Gold traders give cash receipts on blank pieces of paper without any seal Service providers are still legion hat pay no tax at all to the government though they get incomes ranging from Rs 5 lakh to 10 lakhs a month Cash receipts are not given often for minor payments like dowry or capitation fee for admission to professional programs unless it’s under other harmless captions like donation or gifts, Vicarious insider trading practices, if not in stock exchanges, certainly in social dealings and government offices. Service providers use delay in offering actual service till they are overpaid, bribe amounts are collected only through touts, life partners or post boxes, Demands are made in closed rooms, and loans are availed of using cheap tricks such as showing keen interest in dairy farming before getting the amount and then surfacing with the skeletons of cattle to convince the banker that they have died. Conclusion: All that I have done this morning, dear kids, is to adopt a spansule approach and introduce some problem areas in our country with enormous TNT explosive potential to you. We shall have to analyze them in detail and evaluate how far they can be destructive of us, of our mental tranquillity and social peace in the coming years! Jai Hind! 21/06/2012 Some Stray Thoughts on India2012! Hi Dear One! Good morning and welcome to you! A common greyness covers everything around us what with the morning moist here on this hilltop but then a similar greyness can be seen in many other aspects of our life in this country too---unpredictable labour strikes ,wildcat protests by airline pilots, artificially engineered marital alliances that fall apart, building societies that are neck deep in dishonesty in word and deed, chameleonic politicians that change their opinions by the hour, blatant lifelong social discrimination on the basis of birth alone, doctors that harvest your kidneys clandestinely during a routine surgery for appendicitis, kids that are born to labour for their parents in perilous factory smoke, hospitals that delight to overcharge you but take care to give you no guarantee that you will come out alive, and elections that prove a cropper in the quality of the government that gets set up. I hope you still recall the famous lines of Mark Antony wherein he reminds the Roman mob of their rights and privileges under Rome according to Caesar’s last will and testament. Let me recite Antony’s lines for you: “But here is a parchment with the will of Caesar; I found it in his closet; it’s his will. Let but the commons but hear this testament ............................................ To every Roman citizen he gives To every several man, seventy five drachmas. .............................................. Moreover he hath left you all his walks His private arbours and new planted orchards, On this side of Tiber; he has left them you And yours forever; common pleasures, To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.” [Act III Sciii Julius Caesar] Come to think of it, at the end of these largely repetitive and therefore meaningless 64 years of our Free Indian history, the politicians of this country are collectively responsible for making this land the way it is. Hunger Demon: Hunger Games is a film in a mythical world but the real hunger games take place here in India too. These, mostly rigged, relate to the emotional hunger in which our kids survive in most homes, especially of the affluent variety, and the unsatisfied hunger that many young men and women feel for getting education and employment suitable to their flair, and the one pertaining to women folk who learn to keep themselves sane enough to manage their households. They also refer to the hunger that the citizen feels for reaching out to the government officials without much success. Hunger is not a game here, if you are thinking of a film like Hunger Games, and many thousands die of sheer hunger. In this country –at least in the NE--exist places where children are demanded as tribute, taken as slaves, turned into unwary soldiers brutalising each other. Or just brutalised by hunger, infection, and exposure to the elements as they flee from danger. Can’t you point to children, especially girls that are often forced into marriage, traded or trafficked by their own parents? Don’t we have parents dying in mining accidents, mothers who can't cope but have no help and cannot protect their children from terrible events, siblings who sacrifice themselves so their families can survive? As a nation we are playing a nation-level hunger game for real democracy too—the real Mc Coy--, and so far without much success. Man-made inefficiencies dog our hopes and aspirations, and undeserving responses stem from the government officials and agencies to specific plaints. A Bill of Rights: A Felt Need This is why I have always defended, in the teeth of opposition of course, the express need for a Bill of Rights as at least a supplement and corrigendum to the existing Constitution of this country. Rather a corrigendum than a supplement because back in 1947-1950, those that happen to be engrossed with the plurality of Indian society at large had different priorities and their own strictly petty and private interests also contrived to worm into the clauses of the document, which unfortunately became much tampered with thereafter. A Bill of Rights can come about however only if the people of this country—still very much an area of darkness at least in faith matters—are smart in every sense of that word across faith ,caste/community and skin tint or geographical borders. That is, if they are as smart as the young man that musters up courage enough to propose marriage right on the beach where he has observed the young woman lazing under the sun and if we are smart enough to call a spade a spade and not an agricultural implement. Ask yourselves if you have it in you to have that level of smartness. It’s high time we became united and somewhat unanimously possessive about the rights we ought to have as citizenry of this fledgling democratic nation. We tend to get the government that indirectly tells the world outside what we are made of. Anna Hazare and Ramdev were exceptions to the generality of Indians. We have been but a huge flock of hoax-prone sheep all these years, haven’t we? Ask any 60+ year old gent or lady in this country; they radiate a despair that literally is unfathomable. Ask any young or old woman in privacy and they admit they are afraid day and night. Ask any employee what is going wrong at his office and he or she tells a black lie about it. Ask the marginalized tribal person and scavengers of this country and they vouch that gun culture is the only out of their inherited poverty. Ask college students and they say they may not get any job after having been taught—or rather lectured at Don’t go into the forests where our militant organizations dwell, for these are the people of India that have made their anti Establishment position as clear as daylight, but then they wouldn’t have been so if they had been given the attention they deserved as citizens of this country in the first instance. If one of our ministers is proven to be corrupt temperamentally it ought to make us also ashamed too since it tells that in his position we might have gone to prison. If the parliamentarian hoaxes us with white lies one after another, it only means that we ourselves are given to resorting to fibs to save our skin! All of us boast that India is a democracy in the full sense of that term yet how few know for sure that we are a far cry from being that one! Of course the daily print and channel media give us volumes of evidence to the contrary. Not only do we have a farcical election system that comes round with apparent metronomic regularity and monotonous repetitiveness but one too that liberally lets in even murderers to make laws for the nation at large but also crass nincompoops playing determined limpets on the exchequer by barely attending the Parliament sessions after being elected parliamentarians. Not only do we have politicians that thrive on boundless corruption but also a Methuselah bureaucracy in place that literally undoes every sign of progress that we have. Not only do we have a bullock cart languor in getting industrial projhect6s approved but also a militant trade union that literally knows only to bargain and extract money but not the obligation to render excellent service. Not only do we have our dead and decaying past millennia piggybacking us at every strep but also segments in population that thrive to numerically multiply. Said James Earl Jones, Hollywood actor once,” I’ve been to so-called democracies where people don’t even feel comfortable criticizing their leaders. Here in US we can say almost anything about our leaders we care to. That’s the legacy of this wonderful document. Maybe we should all carry around a wallet sized copy .That might make us stop and think” Look into your mirror at home and ask yourself if you truly believe you have any right at all in India as a citizen. If your inner eye tells you that you do have rights and privileges that, say, a Myanmar man does not have. As you all know so well, I have stood for the lay commoner of this country –partly because I have been born as one such –but partly due to the fact that social stratification over the centuries has deeply splintered the Indian people into Andaman archipelago of sorts. What have we gained through such stratification of human beings into many kinds of biped animals? NOTHING! Nay we have gone down as a nation and learned to break one another’s skull over caste and community and skin colour and imagined superiorities of one’s own faith/community. Population Anima Mundi: What have we gained by letting our population proliferate beyond control whatever is the excuse offered to procreate by faith-blinded men and women? NOTHING! The jo0ke is not in that the powers that be have scarce had the willingness to address this issue head on; it’s that the people, in spite of their academic education lamina, go on being blind to this grave challenge that is capable of ruining not only family ambiance but also communal harmony, all in the name of mythical deities or prophets! In Yeats’ poem The Second Coming he speaks in a few lines about Anima Mundi the creature that will reverse the 2000 years of Christian –dominated ethos and lifestyle and take it back to another gyre of barbarism. I hope you can visualize the beast from these pithy lines: “The Second Coming. Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight. Somewhere in the sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun Is moving its slow thighs.” Logically thinking it is not that possible for today’s world to slip back into pre civilization times but it’s possible that national governments will start to gawk at the challenge of having to manage too many mouths at one go, family structure will totter and, in addition to more battles and wars, man’s inhumanity to man will increase with geometric progression. An Education that fails to deliver: The deep seated Indian tendency to argue and indulge in fruitless polemics over trifles has vitiated our education sector the most, but also most other sectors. The proof of this scrambled thinking is clearly reflected in the diffuseness of the policies that the government takes care to launch with much fanfare. I’ve highlighted this point numerous times and also traced its key reason: an elitist disconnect with the end beneficiaries at large across the nation, and at best only a circular sent through bureaucratic channels and drafted in stilted officialese lingo to the chief ministers for them to provide feedback. Even Nehru ought to have done that but sadly he didn’t choose to. If American democratic system is so strong as to make Obama pee in his pants, it’s because of the numerous freedoms given in 1776 to the people at large, including the right to try and if needed also impeach the President of the nation! India calls herself a democracy in a sedulous aping attempt but what have we got here except our rigged elections and partly criminal parliament to show? I invite all intellectuals—and thinking politicians -- of this country to think deeply over this issue at large in the interests of the kids they ar3e leaving behind them at the end if their earthly swashbuckling! The rot certainly is at the top level where the party affiliation over rides individual aptitude attitude and calibre in choosing prospective education ministers. How many education ministers in our States are well educated and well qualified individuals? Very few! Don’t you think that a mediocre man or woman can do a lot of harm to our children if he/she gets hold of the education portfolio? Subliminal Advertising: Of course you know what this is :the use oif images and sounds in commercials that filters the message into a subconscious level directly. Its the subtle art of invading the mind of the viewer or consumer without him or her ever realizing that he/she ius falling prey to the message. This kind of advertising has enjoyed a glorious run across the world, despite being laced with controversies and even being banned on a few occasions. India is gradually waking up to this crafty marketing mechanism.[But for a country that s not very adept at picking up the subtle messages and instead prefer s to hear everything loud and clear—explicitly that is—this form of advertising is encountering its own share of hiccups today.] If we have—in addition to a weak Opposition-- the incubus of a dynastic family—or more than one in a aping exercise—its because of the subliminal advertising given to the Nehru family for decades in the names of the schemes and initiatives launched by the GOI. Look at a few examples: Indira Awaas Yojana, Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Aviation etc. Not only is such a trend unknown in a secular democracy anywhere but also something that begs the question”Do you think only this family members shall be fit enough to be PM of this great nation?”. Party boosting is not dynasty family moulding at all. It’s quite likely this strategy came to the ruling party honchos from the word of advertising on visual media and those in print; they must have espoused this not often thought of way to ensure that only they get the majority votes in Indian States to rule and form ministries. In other words they have never been a mood to encourage a healthy Opposition. This ia bad trend in that without a healthy Opposition that can see policies and schemes in balanced perspective the people of the nation stand to suffer like sitting ducks ahead of a keen hunter with his airgun pellets at the ready! Conclusion: Much needs to be got changed across the country on a war footing but--- in a oriental fashion as they say-- the bullock cart called Indian governance pulls along at a sedate pace without a care of how the rest of the world is running! I’m compulsively reminded of that cart man in Sitafalmandi Hyderabad who used to bring ‘sitaphal’ fruit to the somnolent rural market every year from his village almost 400 kms away taking almost a week to traverse that distance! ”Choose the right man over faith/caste---and party affiliation if any-- and make his obligations clear to him or her”—this ought to be the policy.. Please think over all this dear kids and come tomorrow as usual. India doesn’t lack issues for brainstorming and we stand to gain through team level thinking and clarification is issues too. At least our kids that grow will benefit from what we are thinking today. Jai Hind! 01/06/2012 Mammon, the Invisible Demon! Hi dear one! Please consider yourself and your companions welcome at my place! Kindly make yourselves at home too! Taking a vantage look at the world’s going on from my residential hilltop-the bald crown as it happens to be in many ways--, I feel that most demons are having their presence here though they are keeping themselves safe by remaining mostly invisible unless they have to express themselves in some exigency! Satan bares his fangs only at murderous moments when a man turns into a beast, during domestic violence, bride burning occasions when a girl’s in-laws betray their true atrocious colours, or when witnesses concoct something most perjurious in court of law. Moloch’s distinctively falsetto voice can be heard in the screams of righteously--- or un-righteously--- indignant youth out of their aspired for jobs, discontented mothers in law yearning for still more from the young women that have recently arrived at their homes as their sons’ partners, the inebriated ruffians in quotation gangs as they surround a man to murder him in cold blood in a brutal fashion at someone else’s behest for quoted rates al0ne, and in the inflammatory speeches of politicians thrown out of power in the previous election! Beelzebub has amply displayed his Tyrannosaurus. Rex dimensions only in terrorist acts, the Nazi gas chambers used for mass killing of Jews, the Serbian ethnic cleansing contexts when gender and age lost their relevance, and when suicide bombers explode themselves to dispatch some VIP to the next world! Belial for instance expresses himself in the false promises with which most young men trick women folk, the vixen looks given by the sweetheart while conveying the message to her beau of a need for nocturnal company, the humble heart melting pleas given by kids to their parents to get whatever they take a fancy momentarily for! The most consistently invisible among them all—there are hundreds of them—is Mammon, the demon that monitors the flow of money and wealth in any form. For the sake of safety he has preferred to remain discreetly invisible except when currency bundles are given or taken but then currency is just one of the ways he has at his command as tools to floor humanity and speed it to destruction! (He uses gold, diamonds, semi precious gems, minerals and metals of all kinds to fulfil his objective in accordance with his covenant with Satan, his ring leader!) Introduction: Adam and Eve, if we are to go by the Bible and written records, never craved –or argued or fought over—money or stashed away wealth of any kind. Compared with the modern descendants they have, they were merely babes in the wood! It so happened that kings and rulers had to suffer wealth accumulating all around but none of the citizens felt uncontrollably jealous of them and they ever hankered after more and more in ancient times. This means that Mammon took his own sweet time to ascend to this world revolving well nigh mindlessly just above his! Probably it might also have been caused by bureaucratic red tapism in the nether world! Or Satan might have disapproved of his innovative suggestion to destroy mankind by drowning Man in over-syrupy and over-sticky money alone! Mammon’s Story: In his epic poem Paradise Lost, John Milton does say something about Mammon; the gist of what he says is as follows: While in Paradise, Mammon used to walk long in a hunched fashion, as if he were searching for some bit of gold or gems fallen over in negligence from angels! All the men and women and kids that tend to overeat fell first to him as devotees because he was in charge of gluttony, a mortal (Christian) sin. He kept charge of the fog and mist in Inferno, as a result of which the damned souls coming there from Earth never got a sense of reality. He was the Arch devil in Satan’s view since he chose an instrument to damn Man- wealth in cash or kind He saw no profit to b e gained by waging another war on Heaven and felt that the demons stood to gain by mining for gems and minerals in the netherworld Inferno. Known by various similar names all over the world, Mammon rules the Earth to this very day as the Golden Calf that tempts, following the strategy Satan adopted in the Garden of Eden to humiliate God, women first and then through them Men! Mammon’s External Avatars: By personal preference Mammon remains just beyond our visual range, probably because we might go all jelly on seeing his mighty fearsome form, but he has us –every one of us—firmly within his vice like clasp from Day One to our day of death! He can be glimpsed at as a scarcely seen ghost like character with two horns and a long winding tail multi-hooked at the end, through all these avatars: Love of comfort and luxury, Marital make and break patterns, however protracted and however roller coaster Limpet like adherence to one’s official position, under any pretext Occupation-linked pretensions and hypocrisies Thinking of remuneration, annual increments, arrear payments permissible, job- related perks and accommodation privileges; longing for costly gadgets, love for accumulating wealth for the sake of wealth alone a callous disregard for the poor, the destitute and the indigent even if they happen to b e one’s kith and kin; tendency to dump aged parents at Old age home; a bias for marrying for money alone, not love; habit of sabotaging others’ chance for promotion so as to ensure one’s own, preoccupation for job security, and Viewing one’s wife as a source of extra income on occasions, a flair for running money making rackets and set-ups etc. 80% of what is reported in the media can be interpreted as illustrations of any one of these points that I have mentioned! Was it not their callous indifference to the below-BPL common man’s plight that made the parliamentarians demand the right to display red beacons above their cars along with a simultaneous hike in their monthly salary? How else—but as an instance of obsession with one’s position and perks alone-- can you explain the Indian President Ms Patil’s granting clemency to a dead man 5 years after he is dead and gone, and that too to a rapist and a murderer? Hasn’t this been the same trait that made the PM never even attend the top level conference that he had to preside over for land reforms in this country? Aren’t some of the points I have hinted about the Berlin Wall between the vast unfortunate ditchwater lagoons aka Bharat surrounding our sophisticated, hypocritical and insular urban Indias? Is it not a young man’s desire for unearned income and undeserved luxury at another’s expense that drives him and his people to shamelessly demand a whopping dowry amount from the family of the girl that he is supposed to be receiving as his life partner? Isn’t it the same greed for money making through mining that comprises the bottom theme in the Anurag Kashyap-directed revenge drama film The Gangs of Wasseypur? Though we all would agree with Adlai Stevenson that on this shrunken globe we men can no longer live as strangers, aren’t we driven to behave in a separatist ‘unclubbable’ manner on account of our wealth? Don’t we still crave for more and more riches though we readily admit that possession of material riches without inner peace is like a dying of thirst while bathing in a vast Como-lake? Isn’t it the same greed for occupying a high position at the expense of forward communities, despite having little personal merit in himself (except the traits of a turncoat par excellence) that makes Sangma come out with honeyed excuses and blatant lies? Why is it that the male parliamentarians and ministers are fighting tooth and nail the Women’s Reservation Bill, except because they wish to keep Indian women from earning as much as they are earning now? What has been the reason 650 million Indians don’t have any sanitation facilities of their own unless it has been due to the massive diversion of funds from those allocated for essential services to industrial projects and global contracts? How come the GoI can’t rid itself of the FDI retail investment bogey unless it is because they wish to woo any source of money from anywhere? [TSR Subramanian says that FDI retail would achieve what foreign invasion couldn’t!] How can we explain millions of Indian women’s most idiotic addiction to the virtual sawdust they mostly get doled out by the idiot boxes in their homes except as resulting from the feeling of having arrived some way or other in their lives? Mammon Mania: Mammon mania started in full swing only after 1800 or so. Right from AD 1 to AD 1800 or so—I mean the Industrial revolution-- the world as a whole was a happy place inasmuch as population distribution was what decided human desire to live in prosperity. Human multiplication was also within limits of reason since it was based on the family’s capacity to meet extra expenses.Post-1800 we find mindless multiplication on the basis of family wealth and deliberate maintenance of the rich-poor gap. It’s because of this hidden desire to amass more income that every system of belief or every place of worship claims to be unique in some manner. Look at Tirupati and Palani temples, Vailankanni church, the Chishti Dargah and Juma Masjid! All places of worship fleece devotees in one way or another in the name of an abstract entity aka God! But this is niche marketing strategy for you! And the marketer is nothing but a puppet that has Mammon pulling the controlling strings from above! [The truth is that no one creed has a monopoly of the whole of spiritual truth; the dignity is in the difference! This is why polytheism scores over monotheism] Again Mammon it is that grins from behind the loyalty testing mind control and heresy hunting that prevail in man-made religious systems in various forms; he is present here in as possessiveness for ensuring perpetuation! Recall Charlie Chaplin mentioning in Modern Times (or is it City Lights please?) how he took up cleaning the circus grounds and streets of elephant dung to make money for a surgery? To make more money, the modern man takes up any role with an ad hoc mentality. For instance we have spiritualist exhortations and speeches given by Scripture quoting Mammon disciples, welfare state hinting Mammon disciples in ministerial garbs, caste-origin-possessed Mammon devotees aspiring to be no less than the nation’s Presidents or Cabinet ministers, reform detailing Mammon devotees hoping to be kept in the familiar chair and so on. Recall, in passing, the wise lines from the Bard of Avon, “A man that fortune’s buffets and rewards Hath taken with equal thanks; and blessed are those Whose blood and judgment are so co mingled That they are not a pipe for fortune’s finger To sound what stop she please” [(Hamlet III ii l.72] Mammon gate: Mammon is a demoniac Janus face in every sense of the term in as much as he gives a sense of false security to the person that receives his gift---money—but also betrays him from behind by giving the possibility of stealing from him in some manner. It’s in this way that most scams come out to scandalise national governments and individual ministers or persons in power.The Department ofd Revenue Intelligence plays thius game with supreme finesse! This demon relishes the scandals since it shows some human beings in a bad light. He must have broken into a dance in the streets (at midnight!) all over India when the series of scams come out during the last few years. Mammon walking: The Income Tax Department and Customs Department plays the game aka “Mammon walking” when they wait on tenterhooks to see the suspect receive money or gold biscuits and then catch him red handed .Its sleuths have a tough time keeping their noses to t he ground and ferreting out the defaulters and the underworld that evade an d parry tax payments. The police investigators also do the same job but they depend on currency notes laced with fluorophthalene to catch their man! Mammon Phobia: The hermits of the Himalayas are the only persons that don’t ever feel any at5traction to Mammon’s well nigh irresistible temptations. They try all kinds of eccentric and often obscene poses to keep away from whatever Mammon has liberally offered them –the pleasure of having luscious sophomores all around them, matronly women bowing before them in an abdominally titillating manner, and even kids sitting in their laps! Politicians often pretend to have a phobia for Mammon and whatever he can offer them, but in reality they are his first line of disciples and lifelong devotees! Beware dear kids of those politicians that always seek to identify themselves prior to election seasons with the destitut5e and the homeless and the down and out! These are the worst specimens int he lot— the most rotten apples in the basket! Mammon’s USP: Mammon’s great plus point is that he can conjure up an imaginary Paradise wherever he is represent though he can never hope to give a true feeling of heavenly ecstasy! More young men and women turn to a criminal walk in their lives in preference to going for office jobs because they can afford, by peddling drugs for instance, to live in luxury within weeks. You see, Mammon does have faded memories of the Paradise from which he was rudely ejected by the Archangels. He can concede to someone the 5 star luxuries of a Mexican or Colombian drug baron but he can’t give him sound sleep at night. He could easily win over Macbeth and give him a feeling of virtual immortality and total; invincibility from enemies but he couldn’t prevent a mini Dunsinane forest from walking to Inverness Castle! It’s in search of some semblance of this comfort and stress free living—in addition to the underlying fear of asking for dowry on the spot!) --- that many eligible bachelors in India today focus on wedding girls from DISK* households(*Double Income Single Kid).Count also some greed for unearned money in! In my case Mammon alone stood between my having a comfortable shirt and me for many years till I got one from my late brother when I was 18!But that shirt was heaven itself to me at that time, dear kids! Mammon’s Nuisance Potential: Mammon contains within himself enormous—almost unbounded—power. He can cause sudden unpredictable arguments to erupt in a nasty manner even in the open. He can cause murder and rape. Mammon can blind us to dreadful realities glowering at us too. What with >43% of land transformed for human use, the Earth is reaching a tipping point ,or a point of no return, to be accompanied by sudden irreversible changes even in stable conditions. This has been caused by a toxic brew of climate change, habitat loss, and population growth* in a combo and causing a pressure upsurge greater than what ended the Ice Age 11700 years ago! Of the 7 planetary boundaries needed for our survival on the planet we have already breached 3! [*This pushes nations into the Malthusian Trap of persistent poverty and misery in direct proportion to population increase, despite development initiatives!] You have ,I daresay ,been for long familiar with these lines, haven’t you?: Monday you can fall apart Tuesday Wednesday break my heart Thursday doesn't even start It's Friday I'm in love [Fish for Supper!] Who do you think pushed a wedge between otherwise happily married couples? Mammon!He is a sadist too par excellecne!Trace the sorry of any diamond,and you are sure to stumble upon many dead men and women! He can also do the same to former college or university mates, or between erstwhile genial neighbours. He can also tempt men and women into committing various kinds of sins, venial or deadly depending on the attractiveness of the bait that he puts on his hook. He can also impart a false feeling of immortality and eternal security to lay human beings. Mammon, who entered human psyche sometime ago as innate pugnacity and hatred, can, in active collaboration with Moloch, his comrade demon specializing in confrontation, cause battles and wars of all kinds. [A pungent acrid whiff of Moloch can be felt in expressions like “war against cancer” “fight against oil spill” or “battle to tame the inflation”!] Human history is virtually a bath of blood as William James wrote but both battles and wars are caused by the desire to conquer more territory illegally or unjustly take over the assets of others in a mad spree. The Hutu ethnic cleansing and the resulting pogrom of 800,000 human beings were caused by desire for monopolizing resources of the Tutsi minority. Milosevic also did the same to take over Bosnian assets. Hitler had preceded them to take over the assets of the Jews. [The hold Mammon has over us is seen in the fact that we celebrate the past battles we won, divert funds for military purposes without any objection, never evade war taxes and easily give in to war hysteria!] He can determine whether company A shall use the creeping acquisition route or overnight acquisition or merger to get Company B. He can make men and women toil and moil, forgetting even their dear ones. He can make parents consider their girl kids a burden to be buried in the desert sands alive. He also drives MLM and Direct Marketing organizations from top to bottom! Conclusion: As we have seen, Mammon is no Lilliputian quarry that mankind has standing opposite them. He is so formidable that he can persuade millions to take their own lives over trifles, bring down ministries in power and help ‘brand’ a whole community as a bunch of thieves or woman haters! It’s vital that we teach ourselves to keep him as our Man Friday and not as our Big Boss! Not only must families learn to keep a budget to monitor the outflow of income but also maintain an eagle eye on the numerous temptations that Mammon send their way to trap them directly or through their children! Instead let’s live a more fulfilling and emotionally satisfying lifestyle by agreeing with what Chief Seattle-a Red Indian tribal chieftain-- said 160 years ago: “We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the Earth and its part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle- they are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of a pony and man –all belong to the same family! The Earth doesn’t belong to Man but Man belongs to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he’s merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he is doing to himself” Jai Hind! 23/06/2012 An Olympian Metamorphosis! Hi dear one! Good morning to you! I hope that you and your companions are faring well in your lives! Can India win as a Nation? India has been an also-ran Olympics participant for many years now, content with a couple of medals, and with a roller coaster pattern in her economic growth that both appals and disappoints the investors from the West. Both the GoI and we, the populace sit pretty on this level of performance as if that is the global norm but if we are to go ahead of many others in the wicker basket of developing nations, we need to change on our own, though it’s a painful process! Absorbing and assimilating the Olympian spirit of win-win at any cost requires a tectonic plate shift inside our mind. A thousand objections may raise their hoods to dissuade us from screaming to the heavens, “We shall win as a nation!” but we must learn to ignore them. Let’s look around at ourselves! Let’s prepare our sextants--- and ourselves mentally--- to change our development direction! Warming Up: Learning from our setbacks is how we must go about preparing for the Olympics since the most minor fault shall come in for dissatisfaction. According to Swin Cash 32(Basketball player 2004 Olympics gold medallist), having a short memory helps. “If you allow yourself to stay in that losing moment you will be locked in.”, says he. Swin asks himself “What’s my next play?” Another medallist Shawn Johnson advises us to see every disappointment as a learning period, something to make us think what went wrong with us and to motivate us further o show the world what we are really made of! These are the key skills that we need for internalizing the Olympian spirit! 1. Clear Thinking Skill: It’s paramount to think clearly about what precisely we want from going to the Olympics at immense cost and braving many a challenge. Do we wish to be leaders in our skill set ever? Who is a true leader please? Is it his performance alone that we must focus on or the shortcomings of the man as reported? A true leader need not be perfect. He can be an amateur –like those men that built the ark— but he must never be the kind of professional that built the Titanic! He needs to be a performer in every sense of that word in administration so that the countrymen have a feeling of happiness at what he does. FD Roosevelt hobnobbed with even crooked politicians, consulted astrologers, kept two mistresses; chain smoked and drank 8 to 10 martinis a day but he made a great elder for the nation. Churchill was kicked out of office twice ,slept till noon, had used opium in college and drank a quart of whiskey every evening but he proved himself to be a super strategist and led the nation to victory against Germany.[In contrast Hitler never committed adultery, was a decorated war hero, took vegetarian food, and never smoked!] 2. The Ishikawa Route: It’s vital that we as individuals—and as a nation-- learn to follow the Ishikawa Route—the Japanese habit of asking ourselves key questions persistently till we hit upon the answers to the problem at hand. To illustrate my point we shall take up the googly of youth suicides. Why is it that so many of our men and woman are taking their own lives? They are in despair and felt that life was the question they needed to answer from day to day! Why are they in despair? They haven’t been able to fulfil their yearnings and hopes in life. Why couldn’t they fulfil their hopes? Because of not enough employability quotient or lack of skill sets needed to win at the tasks that they get assigned to do within deadlines. Why is it that they are not employability in this way? It’s because their college education never gave the m the skills in the first place. Why couldn’t the colleges give these skills then in three or four years of a specific program? They couldn’t because of politically surcharged campuses and poorly driven faculty members or because of under equipped laboratories and management clumsiness. Why can’t this situation be improved with some outlay of funds? Yes we can! Could it also be because of any other reason? Not that we know of. Most young men and women enter the portals of a college with innocence hope health the needed genius and ample career scope. Guilt lethargy and despair never get taught too at colleges as a lifetime habit. Ishikawa can help us think in a clear headed manner without political prejudices/overtones and go to the roots of all other developmental challenges too that we are confronting currently. Similarly we must do a self analysis and gouge out the real answer to why we are approximating victory in every contest but not winning outright. 3. Global threats and India: Is you take a look at the medal tally you will see that the US and China share the lion’s share of the golds between them closely followed by Russia and some European nations. India, out of self respect makes much of the few winners she has but then they must have met many rebuffs and overcome many challenges to reach where they have. This is a threat we are refusing to remove. It’s not that India doesn’t have the potential to snatch far more medals than she is actually winning. Rather it’s that we are not trying enough to win. It’s an open secret that most athletes need to get self made here till they reach a certain level when the government will start showing interest in them. 4. Our need to exorcise the pre-1947 India: I say this with special reference to the mindset our grandparents had about winning in the Olympics. Demoralized except for the inspiration they obtained from Gandhiji, they never gave the Olympics much thought in the belief that only the developed nations could ever win them! It was the fire in the belly that the Indians grievously lacked in those days about going abroad and returning with a gold medal! Can you say that the same mindset does not prevail today among us? Mistaken you are if you trust so! Thousands of Indians still believe that it’s beyond us to snatch a gold medal in the teeth of neck and neck competition. It’s this mindset that does the most harm too. Complacency was writ large on India’s face for many years both before 1947 and afterwards. Sedentary life satisfied mso0t people. Less than 1% of the Hindus aspired to go abroad and compete. Many parents felt convinced that this act of winning a medal on foreign shores was but a fad or fancy—or fated for other people. Only a few Christians—rooted in the earth as they were in their life goals-- hoped to win some medal in another country where the Olympics were held. The Muslim community was practically hibernating in those days. 5. Gear Shifting our Attitude and Aptitude: We can find no reason to perpetuate our grandparental lifestyle in the Internet age through which we are passing. There is virtually nothing impossible to attain for anyone, accessibility to all university courses online gratis, expert guidance being available at a click and even the very ore of our lives being mined from under our feet as we sleep. The sky is our limit today as individuals and the Blue Ocean moment the only horizon that must form our destination in life! Globalization has torn down the protectionist walls of all nations. Let’s see the bedrock principles of the Olympian spirit: i. Push through your regular workout but stay calm under pressure ii. Seek gold medal advice from wherever it is available iii. View a rainbow career however trifling the item may be per se iv. Think only of success and victory at all costs! v. Go for coffee not banned drugs for a high vi. Live the competitive spirit every second and do whatever is needed including Pilates, constructive rest, crunches, sabre fencing, deep squats and push ups till you feel confident vii. Rebound after every setback on King Bruce’s axiom of “Try and try Again”! viii. Block out any distraction including kith and kin, and take the whole family into confidence for moral support! ix. Love the body that you’ve got and trim away all fat that has accumulated. x. Practice every single day till you feel OK though sweating. Stay motivated till you reach your goal. xi. Seek help and guidance wherever you feel you need it. It’s a really a sign of strength to seek help, says Kerri Walsh, Olympian. xii. Psych yourself up and be a fighter all through! 6. The Modus Operandi for medal winning: A. Start Olympics Clubs in all schools, particularly in the LKG and UKG schools and Primary schools across the nation. Let each school management decide which Olympics items it is focusing on. As far as possible, 10 schools in a region must select one Olympics item of sport or games. At every school one motivated teacher shall be in charge of the Club and it will be his/her responsibility to deliver results in that item at the end of the year through daily practice. The management shall co-operate actively in this grooming by facilitating practice even on holidays. Two times every year there shall be inter school club contests in that item till the most talented can be picked out and sent for higher training. B. Empower the Neighbourhood groups and Self Help groups in every village to take an active interest in sponsoring sports and games events. Those Indians that can afford to shell out a little surplus money to promote such events can do so at any time. All the shops and retail outlets and supermarkets in a town can vie with one another in healthy sponsorship campaign for every such event. They can collaborate part wise too with one sponsor making refreshments available and another funding the uniforms. Still another can pay for the shoes or sneakers. C. Make 10 Olympics Clubs into a Cluster with an inspiring name. Think of Samson Club, Hercules Club, Achilles Club, and so on for each item in the Olympics. In this manner across India we have a million clusters involved in promoting all items in the Olympics so far. For most such youth clubs since the young people are probably not earning on their own, funding and finding sponsors is the main problem. Corporate firms can step into this area all right but after agreeing to abide by some conditions. D. Make Inter Cluster Mini Olympics an annual event in every Indian State. It only through practicing swimming that one can hope to be a champion swimmer. Similarly the athletes need both commu8nity encouragement and social support liberally if they are to rise to our national expectation level. So we need Inter Cluster Club competitions in all States as a regular event; the items can vary from State to State. E. Sponsored Prizes Convention: All the wholesaler merchants and PWD contractors and industrialists can donate funds within their capacity every year for buying these prizes but under no circumstances must these prizes be so costly that the participants can pawn them or sell them. The local self government can help make a panel of such potential donors and sponsors. Ideally they can be small enough to b e carried home since our intention is to encourage these young persons on to greater glory that they have to win on their own! All temple ponds must be diverted for practice in swimming on a regular basis once the morning ablutions at the temple are over! All open grounds must be used for practicing cricket or for putting up football/volleyball or basketball courts. All slow flowing rivers can be used for swimming under supervision. Conclusion: You and I can observe how our nation has been a straggler in all the ten priorities for minimising climate change today. Not only is deforestation taking place, but also we are burdened by over population. Not only do we leave the endangered species to their fate but also we have all round hunger as a hallmark. Not only do we lack efforts to kick up renewable energy sources but also we have air pollution hovering around dangerous levels. Not only do we have water scarcity in many places but also poverty rampant in the country. In such a scenario it’s not morally right to demand that the GoI fund all these Olympics related activities. Secondly once GoI funding starts flowing motivation levels will go down and corruption levels will go up in direct proportion too! Thirdly we want the people of the country to be fully involved and committed to preparing our young potential champions head to toe. WE don’t wish to be an also-ran nation any longer, do we? A back-of-a-cigarette-pack calculation tells us that there is not enough global resources, labour and capital for all 8 billion of us to be middle class. Our way of thinking can change to the Olympic win-win only when we reject backwards thinking as we are doing today(Anyway advances ways of thinking is set to wipe it out some day but can we wait till then?). The new thinking I refer to is the kind of thinking that every Olympics-hopeful asks himself or herself sometime: “What is the impact of what I do for all of my countrymen for all time?”. To think this way is freedom that will guide us forward. Like in the principle of Force Majeure applying to bank transactions, no national Government, including the GoI, will undertake any liability if all our efforts do not fructify or if we don’t win any medals. Helping the citizens win gold medals is beyond its purview and effective control! So let’s take a pledge today—NOW-that we shall win as many gold medals as possible in the Olympics, whatever be the venue, whichever be the nation AND however be the climate and weather pattern! “Balle, balle!” as my friend Gurnam Singh might shout in adolescent excitement! Jai Hind! 26/06/2012 India the Indefinable and Unpredictable! Hi dear one, Good morning to you! I am happy and a bit thrilled to observe that all of you are equally interested in having brainstorming sessions with me over such serious issues and themes as we have so far dealt with! Life in India: Ideally, life in general and especially life in India for a commoner is an upright walk with one’s head held high unflinchingly across burning coals and stoic to the flames that lick one’s feet and singe one’s hair. It’s also a purposeful walk straight into the frothy sea waves with one’s head held equally high! One is too busy taking care of one’s household and protecting it from all kinds of harm to mind the crashing waves, deep currents or tornado winds. Life, for anyone but the mediocre, is invariably stressful and sprinkled with harassments both minor and major. Unpredictability is the one really predictable feature of our daily life. The machinery inaugurated this very morning goes berserk of the same afternoon. The minister that swore by his dead parents to arrive at the venue of the meeting by 7 am did so only at midnight and spoke only in monosyllables. Death prowls in the neglected dry bore well near the courtyard. Parents kill their own kids for fear of losing family ‘honour’. Jack and Jill, seen billing and cooing for years in true Punch and Judy marital style go their ways of a morning with zero provocation. Schools with grand names “Saraswathi Devi School” impart no skill except expert thievery and white collar crime techniques. B-Schools run from ramshackle cowsheds and remote shacks give our printed notes and then sell the MBA degree. Elections get skewed under a juggernaut of political buffoonery. We Indians must indeed be made of sterner stuff than we have imagined so far! Ha-ha! If you observe Indian lifestyle and Indian occurrences from a dispassionate neutral angle, as I do, you get convinced that some of these can’t be easily defined by principles of accepted logic. Some are totally unpredictable too, like the proverbial Indian consumer or customer. I have a gut feeling that in the last 6 decades we have become a bit alienated and distanced in this respect from the rest of the world. You may think it is one of the development related glitches or snags but I beg to disagree with you .I feel that India has been beating out her own rather odd path through the undergrowth of general universal uncertainty! We shall take a sampling of such indefinable and unpredictable happenings all around us, in an attempt to get convinced of how we are different –not necessarily superior- from all other nations of the world! [I don’t mean anything pejorative here but I’d be excited to see India making capital of these peculiarities to give the rest of the world a run for its money!] The Bandh Boomerang: India has a most quirky habit of turning itself off at the drop of a feather—over the most trifling reason or even in imagined indignation at something-- without giving notice; either all the shops in t he country remain locked under coercion from regional threats or all services are declined on account of a ‘bandh’ or total lockout..It’d be a euphemism to say that for incoming persons from abroad this causes untold and incalculable distress and inconvenience. But then that precisely is its end objective; to be evaluated as totally successful the maximum number of Indians had to be put to maximum discomfort and inconvenience for no fault of theirs! Bandh used to be a dangerous weapon— like the Norse god Thor’s thunderbolt or a form of extreme rendition without the Guantanamo-- devised by our political parties to apply pressure to their demands whatever they were and we the people used to be given much discomfort for no fault of ours! It was invariably declared on behalf of the Indian commoner but it was the commoner himself—along with all blue collar workforce-- that stood to suffer the most from bandh days since he could never hope to earn something through daily manual work. Bandh has boomeranged today on the organizers themselves ironically enough. In States like Kerala, my home, the people have been using the bandh day for watching films, spending a holiday at some resort or visiting relatives in some distant hospital or elsewhere. I admit cheerfully that this is but abortive c value addition if any but then it is a befitting rejoinder and repartee to those political set-ups that have fallen into the rut of thinking that organizing such a mockery will bite! To fulfil our expectations the TV channels show the latest films on the principle, ”Keep the public glued to the idiot box and no collateral damage can result!” Athletes and sportsmen and sportswomen do their daily practice also on the dot. The bandh declared over the petrol price hike impacted the omnibus service, which runs on diesel, but no petrol user was affected except perhaps the three wheelers. Ever since the answer “I’ll work from home and conduct all that I need to transact!” became the stock reply to the bandh organizer, this form of strike or protest has lost its teeth. Our inbox gives us all the mail from any part of the globe and we can also send or withdraw cash from banks; the only discomfort is in not being able to buy retail items from the next door kirana store or supermarket.] Refusal of agencies to synchronize an Operation: Mahi –along with the 6 or 7 kids that met with untimely deaths in recent times in the country for no fault of theirs— demonstrated for us the basic oddity in this country-the unwitting but inevitable loss of golden hours after every contingency or accident due to incessant arguments and correspondence, instructions and transgressions among the various agencies all rendering services of one kind or another to the wider public. Thankfully the kids preferred to die rather than try to intercede among these incorrigibly self centred officials. This can also be seen faithfully reflected in most other sectors and segments of our governance. The minister takes one position but the party spokesman says something else entirely different. IT realm absorbs thousands of young graduates for its BPO, call centre and ITES activities to the West but colleges go on turning over graduates that can’t speak a word acceptably in English but can repeat Newton’s Laws of Motion or quote reams of Shakespeare! Physicians in government –run hospitals are well qualified all right plus public servants in theory but they won’t galvanized enough to render any public service such as surgery in time unless they are given a consideration at home. Villagers support the arrival of nuclear power reactor in their vicinity but of a sudden they turn arch enemies of the project once the erection of all buildings and reactor is completed. The State CM promises 10 cents of land to the international sports item winner during his felicitation speech but the young man lives as a butcher since he has no home even after a decade. Garrulousness and Verbal Diarrhoea: As a nation we tend to talk far more than we need to, though I wouldn’t recommend the Englishman’s s extreme reticence and taciturnity as a remedy. India leant a bit too much on BRICS to jolt the global economy into a humming movement but BRICS hasn’t delivered yet; all its members talk like a whale but perform poorly today. All the millions of words spoken have not made the coalition partners really co-operative and synergistic at all. Nor has been a unanimous consensus on the ideal development paradigm that the nation must embark on! Our leaders and politicians are talking their heads off all the time about us being in the select league of nations on the upswing and our arriving in the Developed Nations Club sooner than we can hope to but they are coolly hushing up our weaknesses all the time in a virtual Niagara of words, words, and more words. India’s weakness has been declining to deliver –during all these years of infighting--- what may be called a ‘no brainer’ remedy for its many minor maladies such as poor roads*,weak antiquated narrow bridges, small ports, unreliable power supply and zero objective academic programs and untrustworthy healthcare paradigms.[* A reliable road creates tremendous additional activity, as trade increases between connected areas, and myriad businesses, restaurants, and hotels spring up along the way.] Our growth patterns has a major pitfall in that it doesn’t met the common man at the other end Probably another illustration of her politically inducedsemi-blindness has been her ignorance of our nation’s yet untapped Woman Power, availing itself of the help from the educated middle class for disaster management and failure in galvanizing into action the strong entrepreneur segment within our society. Escapism to the Never-Never!: Boozing in Kerala has come in for much criticism these days, but then why are so many men and women boozing away beyond their limits? Its one way of escaping from realities that are more often than not too unpalatable for one’s tastes—like sickly wife down with dengue, father in law on death bed, mother in law involved in a murder case, and kids failed at school. 60% of the young men and at least 40% of the graduate women make it a point to watch as many films as possible as another way to “beguile free time” as they put it so courteously. All feature films, no matter the Indian language in which it is made, conjure up a fantasy ‘heavenly romance’ world –distanced from reality—that all women like to brush up their acquaintance with as much as possible ;no wonder they leave their men at the slightest provocation and don’t like to dish wash and housekeep, clean the dog mess, and bathe their babies! But in God’s name, why? Aren’t they in their most productive and resourceful years? Can’t they do to bring about some salutary change around them? Why can’t they do something useful in that time please? Why can’t they tend to the terminally ill in a palliative care exercise? Or tell the aged some stories? Or can’t they visit an orphanage? Why can’t they write a book or freelance article, or practice music or listen to a radio play? What is gone so rotten in the state of affairs here? Tobacco consumption also has the same or similar reasons. “Anything other than reality!” is the ruling axiom in all these situations.. Spiritualism lunacy—way over the boundary these days among the childless women and retired empty nester couples and sugar daddies—is another opiate that dulls the senses of the people and helps them remain in a semblance of self satisfaction though it is a way to escapism for them too. Its this lacuna—that our people are under intense self generated and occasionally fuelled stress almost all the time due to many causes—that the gurus tap for their own 5 star lifestyles! Pretended Somnolence: A genuinely sleeping person will awake on his own or he can be awakened through some effort but a person that pretends to be asleep on purpose can’t be awakened unless he puts his mind to it. This is something indefinable about our country. You and I know only too well that we are wasting our precious lives by taking our regular activities beyond a point, whatever it be—food consumption, going vegetarian or otherwise, winning friends and influencing people, flirting, or even picnicking. You and I know only too well similarly that we have numerous obligations of our own that clamour all the time for our urgent attention and so many things around we wish to rectify or set straight too. Millions of miles to go ahead before we can hope to sleep in peace but here we are gawking for hours outside the lovely dark and deep woods!(These ‘woods’ may be ,once translated into reality, politics belladonna, spirituality, the habit of bearing false witness, indulging in caste promotion activities, running moneymaking rackets, women trafficking and child molestation or managing exploitative labour on contract basis! This is why I’ve felt all along that 60% of Indians at least are deliberately failing to do justice to their lifetime, failing to take human knowledge or wisdom by even a jot or tittle, mistakenly assuming it to go on forever, and underestimating and undervaluing it by far! Unprincipled adhesion to ‘principles’: An examination of citizen demeanour across the nation from the north to the south and from the east to the west will convince you of the incredible cultural plurality in which we are born survive and die out. India is supposed to have her own unique ethos and culture that is common to every Indian—based on Hindu scriptures and Emperor Ashoka’s edicts like Satyameva Jayathe as I am told-- but I am yet to detect this in our population. Every community wishes to present itself as exclusive in some manner though greed, opportunism and self centeredness at the cost of love for the greater humanity in the country is common—just like hunger and thirst, hope and fear-- to almost all of them. Every family claims to follow some set principles though most skew these to suit their contextual convenience. Thus we elect persons that mirror our own myopia and prejudice to rule us. We taken them to fault once they parrot the same clichés that we taught them. To retrieve our commonsense,we need to ask ourselves three questions; that can tell the world what we need to set right at this end. A: How do we fit into the globalized world economy today? Do we need, so long as we can’t be Martians, a fortress like national balance sheet and export led growth pattern? Ought our markets to be this inflexible today with small European nations collapsing like nine pins? Mustn’t we depend wholly on WTO? Shouldn’t we have national polices that help our currency remain strong? Mustn’t the currencies of the world be guided to the Brettonwoods moment when they can work together? B. How come capitalism is failing us globally in this century—in generating jobs and guiding the middle class in the West to better incomes-- unlike how it performed during the last three decades? Why is our democratic majority failing to support our leaders? Why do we accuse them of failing us when we are also guilty in choosing them? How come the availability of goods at subsidized prices and granting higher pension s don’t click with the voters any longer? Wasn’t it the Arab middle class that led the Arab Spring uprisings in many nations? C. Why is it that our Five Year Plans and the numerous initiatives that the GoI embarked upon to help the nation go forward never achieved the % of efficiency they were expected to get? Is there any problem that is solvable alone? Isn’t what you can do what you can do with others? Across India we observe individual States at varying levels of development. Kerala may be the most crime prone(424.1 crimes per lakh population) but Odisha is having land reform and industrial challenges, WB is confused between her pair of development objectives-development or populism—and the NE sister States are discontented owing to regional insurrections for statehood! Some of the observations confirming the existence of this India beneath our feet and floating around in the air are the following: Careless riding and driving as if the population is far less than it actually happens to be resulting in a whopping number of deaths and injuries on our roads (134,513 deaths during 2010). The tendency to pass Bills and laws with minimal consultations and party arrogance especially in parliament without envisioning how these can be used in the nation. Pro-women family laws which are notoriously half-baked and immature, impractical and unhelpful to innocent men. Elitist mindset in the elected Too slow implementation of JNNURM with too few safe vehicles like low floor buses with automatic doors on our roads. Sedulous aping of everything western without much thinking—as if Indians are curious about the West and have concluded that the West must be right in every case!] Stress Diversion into Oddities/Breakdowns: One of the indefinable things about this country is that we are clever at making simple things so difficult that one feels dizzy at its very complexity. Bureaucracy is specially gifted in this art. partly owing to the file opening system in office procedure. Indians endure the stress associated with their lives without being aware of it, however hey slap ministerial cheeks or ask questions or hurl shoes only when it comes a point of desperation with hardly any rational option left. Ours is a punyabhoomi inasmuch as she mothered the wonderful literature in Sanskrit and the Vedas and the Upanishads but then this is where we, the inhabitants, feel the maximum amount of stress! It’s this stress that vicariously gets articulated in various deceptive avatars as apparently disconnected as the following: Student strikes, campus listlessness and wanton destruction of public property Impulsive purchases by our women Wayward behaviour oddities in the men, including 7 year itch Generation Gap Over competitiveness as a way of life Criminal diversions ,pastimes and second life attempts Addiction to the idiot box Refusal to meld with one’s kids Gunshot views about the gender other than one’s own Anti national acti8vities including traitorous behaviour Individual or family suicides Yen for involvement in murder orgies Iconoclasm Neurological or psychosomatic disorders. Kabadi-style Policy Stances: Theoretically any policy initiative that has come through after extensive consultants with all stakeholders concerned and after due deliberation in a non-political manner in depth is bound to be almost enviably perfect in every way and effective enough to satisfactorily address a specific lacuna. If this is not happening and it is failing to meet the burning problem it has been drafted to take by the horns, it shows a naiveté that is shameful on the part of the law makers. Of coursed this can happen to a vast variety of reasons, but insincerity or narrow political intrusiveness are not forgivable. As far as we have observed we have seen how the policy is first announced and then something is shown to be wrong and the Government beats a hasty retreat. It reminds of the Kabadi game in which the participants movie back and forth all the time to score a point. Conclusion: How much longer can we in India remain so deplorably unpredictable and indefinable when all the nations around us are not so, though they have their own development related problems and internal challenges? No longer, in reality! Universally development speaks only in one language. How can we become a breakout nation raring to break into a canter and a sprint like an Arabian stallion except by undergoing mental transformation in Phase One followed by active citizen involvement in nation building activities in Phase Two! Breakout nations, according to Ruchir Sharma, the father of this concept, need as prerequisites the following skills on the part of the polity: (a) Understanding the economic and political factors at play (b) Sifting them to jettison those that are unhelpful for progress (c) Judging their velocity, penetration level and pace in their effect on the satisfaction or otherwise experienced by the people at large (d) The basic laws of economic gravity and if they are negatively catalyzing upward movement (e) The social factors that need promotion, modification, correction or replacement. Dear children, I am sorry I’ve had to tread over much intellectually rocky terrain this morning and I request you to forgive me for taking you with me for company. Please think over the points that I have raised today and come back tomorrow! Jai Hind! 26/06/2012 Reject Rebirth: Go for the Olympics! Hi dear one! Let me greet you and your companions heartily this pleasant morning! Look out and downwards! All around our familiar surroundings here ,down in the vast valley you can chance upon hundreds of living examples of underutilized human resource—all that can be grist to the mill for transforming India from what she is today to a great nation! India has remained lumpy Inca gold for thousands of years now, and she is yet to fully discover what her true value—and relevance--- in a war weary, self obsessed world is! Introduction: We are so familiar with the LGBT community-the lesbians, the gays, bisexuals and the transsexuals but we are not yet familiar with the trauma that a eunuch goes through every minute of his life. An Indian high court has decided that eunuchs are no women, but then what gender is he in reality? God alone knows. As far as the Olympics is concerned, India’s position has been mostly as a watcher of the greatest show on Earth than an involved participant arrived on the grounds to romp back home with more than a dozen medals in gold. Misplaced patriotism (pray which Indian loves India more than he loves his life?) may place me in the persona non grata list ,but I risk it in an all out effort to help this nation undergo the needed metamorphosis to be able to exercise her versatile talents at every Olympics! My lifelong observation convinces me of the utter futility of trying to magically transform anyone, any family, any community, any society, any State or any nation. Progress can take place only through a painful step by step process. Boeing Dream liner 787 couldn’t have evolved from the Pushpak Vimaan we are told about in the Ramayana. A Steve Jobs vision of aesthetics fused with technology is not evolved from Conan the Barbarian’s even with heavy garnish. So we are constrained to adopt a slow motion pace. What ought the Olympics to be? Food for reflection as this cue happens to be, I feel that one reason the Olympics gold medal has remained as imaginary as the 72% dark energy (or the 23% dark matter in the universe) to us is because most Indians never got to touch it, smell it, toy with it and learned this far to anticipate the Olympics season or visualize the typical Olympian’s uncompromising rigor in his life. Believe me, dear kids, the Olympics is as much of a science and thus fool proof ,achievable and result oriented as our religions are not. It does take a lot of sweat for anyone to be an Olympian but it is worth it unlike chasing religious notions ,which are, if anything absolutely, unverifiable and sounding as absurd as believing that magic makes computers work! [Our invention God we know is the ultimate absentee landlord; religions are movies being projected for our solace in uncertainty of existence too. All our notions of afterlife and Nirvana were shaped by parasitical priests. “We are not fated to win medals in this nation!” is as much dismissive of an attempt to put in the prerequisite effort as “God did it” and as stoic and resigned as the parentally authoritative “because I said so!”] A medal is as cold and humanity-neutral as a scientific fact or a hunger pang but the steps to winning it comprise something of a religious penance for the ambitious since everything they do has a meaning relating to their ultimate goal. It is as much an individual item awarded in recognition as part of a colourful unforgettable Big-Bang-like whole that we can see and take part in! An Olympics medal is as wonderfully inspiring for generations as the clear summer night sky, the solemn arctic landscapes, and a magnificent upset apple cart sunset scene. An Olympics has great iconic value in that it is a flashlight in that it can highlight shadow lands in our own physical culture realm for us. Why don’t we BELIEVE we can win? We are confusing our aspiration for winning in the Olympics with our religious notions of our right to hope being determined by Fate/ Destiny. The Olympics is adequately beautiful and impressive without us too and thus we owe it to our own selves to strain a while to achieve immortality therapist it? Be assured that, though we read day in and day out about man’s inhumanity to man, as well as about accidents and failures all around us, we have a right to hope even in a darkening economic scenario. Transforming the nation into an Olympics performer needs a little re-inventing on our part just as the right ambiance is needed, as Robert Pirsig remarked, to persuade carbon, nitrogen oxygen and hydrogen to fuse together to take a giant leap and form the first living cell. We the countrymen need to qualify for taking up that re-invention ourselves! Pearls can’t be cast before swine you see! First of all, since we have hundreds of ethnic groups, facial feature variations and a variety of skin tints, we need to overcome the ethnic bias we may have about others .Elizabeth Phelps of NYU says that one’s goal setting is affected by their implicit preferences and prejudices about others in the same team. These remain in the amygdala ,fusiform face area, anterior cingulate cortex and dorso lateral pre frontal cortex overlapped by brain circuits involved in decision making and emotion regulation. Secondly whether it’s a solo event or team event, team spirit needs to be cultivated and nurtured through practice. Esprit de corps is often the key element in winning even if it’s a solo event, in the light of the social support needed for that extra push! Thirdly parental convictions and confidence also plays a vital role. In a sense it’s the parents of the participant that can make or mar his or her chances to be a champion. Parental conviction and confidence are easier to speak about than to bring about too, since they are used to older paradigms and beliefs about their kids. Fourthly the kid needs to be divested of his all-too-common attachment to or allergy against specific geographies and locations. This is usually based on his home set up. A true Olympic participant is not much worried about the venue of the Olympics nor other superficial factors. Imbibing the Medal-winner Mindset: In Act I Scene ii of Shakespeare’s wonderful play King Henry V, we have a fantastic situation. I shall narrate the scene for you since it has a world of inspiration potential in it! Prince Hal, King Henry IV’s erstwhile wayward son, has just been crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury as King Henry V of England. In France just across the Channel, Dauphin, the king’s son, has a bad opinion of his eligibility to be the king too. In response to the senior king’s request for the 10000 acres of land taken over by France after the death of Edward III, the Black Prince, the French king sends the young King V—once called Prince Hal-- a set of tennis balls as one interesting way to spend his surplus energy instead of trying to reclaim the land. It is an open mockery and insult from the prince in Paris to the English king in London. When the French ambassadors gift him these balls in a box, the young king looks at the balls, smiles and then gives them a reply to be taken back to the French ruler. It is so metaphorically and symbolically pithy that it is a classic: “We are glad that the Dauphin is so pleasant with us; His present and your pains we thank you for: When we have matched our rackets to these balls, We will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard. Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler That all the courts of France will be disturbed With chaces (King Henry V. Act I, Scene ii). [I am happy that the prospective French king is so gracious to me. I remain grateful to him and am also thankful to you for the pains you took in this connection. With these balls and our rackets I shall play such a match on French soil with divine grace (for my hereditary rights) that the French crown shall be the prize I shall win for this England. Gentlemen, please inform the French ruler that he has ,with this gesture ,declared a match with such a dangerous fighter (for his rights) and a player as I happen to be that all the courts across France will be receiving the balls that I send chasing against them (in the form of gunshots)] Every item in the forthcoming Olympics is such a fight to the finish tennis match. It will demand the last ounce of our strength and skill. We don’t stand to win any medal unless and until we learn to give the attempt our very best consistently. Every player has put in years of daily practice till he or she arrives fully prepared to win. It’s the GoI’s bounden duty to trend-spot the promising athletes, sprinters, relay item participants, pole-vaulters, long jumpers and high jumpers from the young kids in the India and groom them physically and mentally with uncompromising rigour and discipline to put forth a resounding performance. Full community support is needed. Corporate sponsorship may also be needed. All neighbours and relatives of he selected boy or girl ought to chip ion with what cash they can spare so that the kid has the best equipment for training and the best available facilities for practice.. Unflagging encouragement is also a pre requisite for tur5ning out a national asset. A metrics focused or “metrics-driven” approach is the best to be adopted and for good reason. There’s plenty of research that confirms the value of having clear strategic and operational targets. All prospective Olympics participants do appreciate having expectations based on specific measurable actionable realistic and time bound—SMART for short—metrics in their favour as they progress. The key questions they need to ask themselves in this regard are whether they are consistent and quick in hitting their numbers and whether it’s within them to exceed their coaches’ expectations at times at least. Managing such participants involves giving them ample opportunities to move without glitches through a specific funnel, or pipeline. Food Habit Metamorphosis: Ms Flaming Ponytail (Maria Sharapova) is my idol in tennis since the tall (6 foot 2 inches) svelte young Russian woman is prepared to give it her all for outsmarting her opponent. Have you ever imagined how disciplined a lifestyle she is leading while away from the courts? Self disciplined to a fault and rigorously Spartan in her food consumption. Probably even her pet dog has a gluten free diet along with her! Maria has made herself a dangerous quarry to any opponent. Learning is difficult; re-learning and unlearning what has been wrongly imbibed and internalized are far more difficult to achieve. Consumption of fast food is learned quite early in life unless the kid hails from a poor household especially if the kid hails from an urban background. Again, overeating drives the appetite for cocaine too on a parallel track. This has to be totally unlearned and healthy habits re-learned. Milk drinking needs to be replaced with sipping green tea. Branded drinks need be replaced with natural drinks. High intake of fruits and vegetables is to be inculcated as a lifetime habit. Starters and fried meats are a strict no-no. Exercise to be gradually introduced and over some years to b e elevated into a religion for keeping in shape. Regular consumption of carrot juice is also to be taught when the kids are young. Tomato’s lycopene is needed to protect the future participant from harmful radiation. Dates, jaggery and green leafy vegetables are needed especially for the girls. Work Ethic Metamorphosis: Daily practice is not only unavoidable but also makes for perfection—and perfection ought to be the single eventual objective..For some items slimness is a must like 400 meter relay race, 100 meter dash, long jump, high jump, pole vaulting and tennis; for some others a little roundness is OK. Stamina must always be kept top notch which means that proper digestion is needed and thus eating too much is forbidden. In India the participants make capital use of the sentimental cultural mindset. So they tend to go home for weekends and for birthdays, or other extended holidays. If Indi is to score a golden point however all these must be scrapped forthwith. Worldview Metamorphosis: We need to bring about a change in the world view of the prospective participants through training modules in cross cultural communication and etiquette. This is not, as I told you, easy. Goal Setting and Motivation: Goal setting does take a little while since the selected kid, though with talent enough for a few items is not yet aware of the item he is best suited for on account of his frame, build, and knack. For instance Sachin was rejected as a fast bowler by one of his Aussie coaches quite early in his cricketing career, but this was all for his good since his stocky build doesn’t suit a bowler’s. His godsend talent –and his forte –lay in batting with superior skill and placing the ball with almost unearthly finesse! Many days of keen observation go into setting a specific item and goal for him. Long jumps, high jumps, decathlon and pentathlon –all make use of similar skills but only one can be cut out for the kid. Psychic Re-engineering Component: All Indians, in my eye, need a dose of psycho therapy to be go getter men and women, but the kids selected for a long term grooming for the Olympics need this more than anyone else. Numerous variable factors go into the mental make-up you and I have; a certain amount of re engineering needs to be done to make the participant a long term winner and a lifelong asset to the nation at large We all have our pride, our egos, our fears, desires, and our blind spots. Desire and illusion are within us and also all around us, and not always easily avoided. For every woman participant out there aspiring for her Olympics medal, its,as Yeats might have said, the ultimate second Troy waiting for her to set alight with her energy, vim and vigour! Female participants need more psychic re-engineering than men in many cases. The Olympics does not have gender discrimination of any kind as is visible from its five ring logo but then the women participants need to be free of their peculiar complexes and emotional baggage –including feeling of inferiority complex-they carry about in their home nations. You may have noted that many past participants in the Olympics vanished after being merely flashes in the pan. Less than 5% stick to their chosen athletic activity almost into their fifties.. All or Nothing vision: This is something we need to cultivate individually in this country since we are constantly under strain from various quarters. Given that most of us are secretly searching for our true identities as Indians, and as a nation too we have not yet arrived in development, this dithering is only natural. But winning a medal in the Olympics does need an All-or-Nothing mindset that we need to have far before getting on board. This can come only from constant unremitting practice. Ironing out the incubuses: Uncertainty can be seen to persistently dog the sports and games scene in India, if only you care to go beyond skin deep. Most of the all India associations or boards that have been put in charge of specific games or athletic items are nonentities except for their letter heads and titular office bearers. Not only do they remain static in one head quarters office but also never bother to visit each individual State and give guidelines to the regional youth and sports clubs operating in the same area. They don’t take the initiative to ensure that every Indian State does have a fully equipped team and good facilities for daily practice of the interested young people. Huge funds may be there but these are diverted for purposes other than the sports item itself. I have been in touch with sports persons that were kept without a confirmed flight ticket till the day before the actual flight to the venue. Some of them had given up the hope altogether when eleventh hour arrangements were made to save the nation’s face. These are mostly related to getting corporate or institutional sponsorship or of bureaucratic origin. In India for instance 90% sp[orts persons are self propelled and get along without getting umbrella sponsorship offers of any kind the remainder are lucky in having the same. Having no sponsor to help you realize your Olympics dream is a huge handicap but in my observation no one bothers about such issues in the overkill of politics and trivial occurrences that make up a day here. Conclusion: I have already told you about the peculiar Indian lifestyle in which the casualty is a colossal wastage of time. In the ancient world too this free time available at hand in a simple living mode played havoc. The habit of holding on to some mooring through one’s religious faith came about this way. Hinduism invented the notions of afterlife, rebirth and Nirvana and much else that its founding fathers hoped would give some amount of solace to the Hindu in future years. [Christianity elsewhere gave birth to the notions of Hell and Heaven with the one deity concept sandwiched between as the intercessor element.Islam also adopted the single deity with the difference that their god is entirely formless and invisible.] Let me just say that all these notions are entirely unverifiable to us even today though they do give a degree of certainty in this uncertain world of ours. The single note of caution here is to guard against getting baselessly overconfident on account of faith alone when you aspire for the Olympics, the mother of all competitions on Earth! Rejecting the unverifiable and going all out for the verifiable, attainable and the achievable -- - that is what the determination to win in the Olympics actually involves. This has but advantages that can accrue: better use of one’s time for a specific aim, freedom from woolgathering about Destiny, action packed lifestyle, participation in a hectic daily schedule etc. So dear kids, mother forth a movement to ignite in all your neighbours and colleagues the desire to excel in some sports or game, especially one of the items in the Olympics. See Indian youth perform! Jai Hind! 28/06/2012 The Indian Suicide Muppetgate! Hi dear one! Good morning to you and to your so-pretty companions that have made it to this bald hilltop of mine! Warming Up: This is a lovely unforgettably pink-gold morning here, just as our so-short human lifespan happens to be! Life is a blessing in many ways, and you’d be surprised to say that I say this, in spite of all that I have gone through in observing its sheer injustices in multifarious ways! Was Francis Thompson also going nostalgic about his own life as he chanted these lines? Summer set lip to Earth’s bosom bare And left the flushed poppy on her cheeks! [Francis Thompson] I’ve deliberately called our present discussion as a suicide muppetgate for a reason, dear kids! A dismissed employee at Goldman-Sachs revealed in a silly frustrated insinuation that his colleagues at that investment bank form used to call all their clients as “muppets”—an English slang word meaning “fools that are vulnerable and easily influenced by others”. Muppetgate was the scandal that burst forth in connection with this mass employee-firing tendency of the firm! Of course you may know more about this term from OED! In what sense is the present scandal with its whiff of notoriety unendurable? Because we can sense it occurring in most Indian States! So many men and women find themselves so cornered by circumstances that they feel like taking their own lives. The Suicide Menace: Recent reports in the press indicate that four Indian states –Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh—comprising 22% of the nation’s population, recorded 42% of suicides of men and 40% suicides of women in 2010.A total of 1.87 lakhs committed suicides in the country during 2010.The average of the men that killed themselves is 34,which means they died in their prime. Another 15% comes from Maharashtra and West Bengal together.28000 kids above 15 killed themselves in Andhra, while 24000 died of their own in Tamil Nadu. Lancet observes that suicide is the second leading cause of death in India. The more educated a person happened to be, the higher were the chances for his or her taking own life! Death as you are aware not only keeps us a steady company all through life—and especially so when we take a ride or drive long Indian roads!—and speaks a plethora of languages too. A survey of the dead tells us that men prefer self-poisoning with pesticides, while women hang or immolate themselves. As you can perceive this is a crisis that needs to be dealt with urgently, either by banning deadly pesticides or training rural communities on the safe storage of these chemicals. I’ve my suggestions too in this area, as you will hear! As GM Hopkins sang, on behalf of Death, Some find me a sword, some The flange and the rail, flame Fang or flood goes Death on drum And storms bugle his fame ................................. But we dream we are rooted in earth-Dust! [The Wreck of the Deutschland] Our attempt this morning is to explore why human beings feel like taking their own lives and what could be done to ameliorate the demoralizing scenario! Aetiological Factors: Stress Demon: All over India, except possibly in our hinterlands which are still in their nostalgic hibernation mode, life has become stressful to a large extent. Women folk in our country India are stressed because Though equality, empowerment and sustained development are linked as Bella Abzug US Congresswoman, pointed out at Rio Summit 20 years back, they are denied these under their own roofs. Their right to be involved in governance and major decision making, environmental accountability, land rights and food scarcity, consumption patterns and reproductive health are also denied to them and They are denied access to family planning too under some pretext of tradition! Men folk play naughty Pucks in the Parliament too regarding their Reservation Bill—both due to the deficiency in cultural attitudes needed in government, institutions and leadership to even acknowledge gender equality if not try to engineer a drastic change for the better!(Thais Corral ,Brazilian activist, also tried to put women on the agenda of sustainability without much benefit. Beijing 1995 also failed in this aspect.) As a result of the glass ceiling, plus the fewer opportunities women get at the workplace, they are not happy and this persuades them, once their threshold gets crossed, to take their own lives too! Our men folk are stressed too, though perhaps less in some cases, by the prison walls that they themselves seem to have erected with a vengeance! It has been reported that as career women in top jobs grow slimmer their men folk pile on more and more pounds till they die first! I shall speak about that point next! Man-made barriers: Suicide can also be triggered in some by frustration caused by these barriers. To cap what I have told you just now, stress is 99% self invited in mankind’s case, because our big brains weighing around 1200 grams are specifically evolution engineered to enable us to solve social problems, and not physical ones. How do you say something that won’t displease anyone in a large audience or classroom, different as those individuals are? How do you successfully negotiate and go-get a tricky deal in the teeth of global competition? How do you convince a nation teetering dangerously on the brink over a precipice that it can’t hope to develop by turning out two missiles a day? As you may observe a PC can’t solve these dicey problems. And all of us are doing it all the time to stay sane and socially accepted too! [Between you and me we are making use of our massive pre frontal cortex in this connection by simulating social possibilities and choosing the optimal course!] Man-made barriers are so many today that I recall what Voltaire said about Man—that he is born free but everywhere he is in chains! The way our democratic version operates and the restraints we are put under by whichever faith we happen to be born into also make for man-made barriers since we are not free enough to speak out what we dislike about them! I suspect that at your age, you may tend to gloss over many of these, yet we can’t ignore them! Take a cool look around at our own country! Think about how to overcome these pitfalls for which we alone are responsible! Satyameva Jayathe lies dismembered and butchered to shreds of meat by vested interests. Lewd jokes are screwed into primary school texts. PDS grain is plundered by trained ‘squirrels’ of institutionalised corruption. Open drywells invite kids to their untimely deaths by asphyxia. Black marketers hold sway at our airports. Booze destroys thousands of family units in our States. What more is needed to make the woman of the family feel that her life has been a flop and she had better depart? Marital bonds are more fragile than a gossamer strand. Thousands have taken their lives for this reason alone. Just three words—“Sorry!”, “Thank you! “ and “ All Right!” can set right more than 50% of them but the partners simply don’t know! Aloneness is of course distinct from loneliness, but the latter can mother forth a phobia that can lead to suicides. We are so bad at timely decision making in high places that a sandalwood smuggler sold 10,000 tonnes of it on the sly and ran with iniquity ivory trading business netting USD 2200,000 and yet we caught him only after he had done incalculable damage to both the ecology and the pachyderm species! Faith Confusion: Most Hindus have no clear conception of what exactly their faith happens to be, whether it is more a way of living than a code of conventions, and nebulous terms like the soul or Nirvana. Christians are bound to believe in a single Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which according to some are one and the same! Many of them do not know that their religious text is actually an action book than a purely religious one to be used in church hall on a Sunday morning. Muslims follow their holy book, which unfortunately imposes many restraints and controls on their daily dedmeanour.N3eithger Christians or the Muslims are actually independent enough to point out any deficiency in their own faith. This causes not a little confusion in reality—and also adds to the stress they may have-- since it’s but human to desire peace of mind and clarity of vision. Some individuals start questioning the rituals and conventions in their faiths and communities and end up as unacceptable persons. Unhelpful conventions/Notions: Any of these, after a period can frustrate a person to such an extent that the person will take his life to escape the misery! Apartheid was a South African invention but sub surface apartheid does exist in India too to this day, though it need not always be based on colour bar! Caste difference is the usual villain –and there are hundreds of their subdivisions to make any person go all barmy—but it can also be a family tradition of bonded labour as in the case of those manual scavengers in many Kannada villages! It may be based on army tradition as ion the case of orderlies posted to help officers! It may also be based on other weird criteria. Dowry and domestic violence are another pair, though they needn’t be logically related. Many girls’ families are effectively bankrupted by dowry once the girl gets wedded, which leads the parents to kill themselves. Domestic violence tells upon the mental health of the victim not a little. Official red tapism—sop shamelessly accepted by us as a convention here can actually make a retired person so unhappy that he will hang on the nearest rafter after a while! The higher education sector is ensnared in such delay which explains why capacity can’t rise to meet demand. Result is student frustration from college cut offs touching the stratosphere! Recall the Delhi University College where the cut offs insisted on 100% marks in all subjects for getting admission to a graduate program? Delay in project clearance has led to economic slowdown too! Fixated Paradigms: Our parents and grandparental generation tend to accept some notions that they say are come down through tradition and custom. One such, accepted till quite recently, was applying gold and sugar to newborn babies apparently to infuse in them a yen for gold and happy experiences !Bah! Another relates to the breaking of a coconut shell on the prow of a newly launched boat or ship! Still another says that black magic—performed through incantation and fire—gives birth to wild wasps that will sting a quarry to death! Phobias and manias also come under this class; these are in reality mental aberrations which we mistake to be the result of possession by the paranormal and supernatural forces in the air! If you observe but keenly enough you may discover that many of these fixations –like for ghosts and the spirits of dead persons loafing around in the courtyard of a new moon night—have absolutely zero basis! Gender Discrimination: In this country gender discrimination starts at a girl baby’s birth; the sweets distributed on the occasion—cheap candies-- declare aloud the femaleness. A male baby’s birth is announced through the liberal distribution of costly sweetmeats such as laddus. This discrimination is often carried forward as a refusal or indifference to the girl baby’s school education hopes and then into her desire for earning on her own. Many parents openly say that they want to ‘dispose’ of their girl in some manner and hurry to find someone that is male in looks, as if that alone is enough eligibility for being able to marry a girl. Dowry became entrenched in Indian society through the association of disposal and low quality goods. Glass ceilings also came about in this manner. This gender discrimination, which can reach atrocious levels in certain communities and in certain situations, often drives young women to suicide. Illnesses (Infectious & Non communicative): India has millions of diabetes patients—out of the 10% global population affected—and most of these give up all hope at some moment in life since they have to cough up the amount for drugs all through life. Accidents also incapacitate but I am yet to hear of persons that take their own life for that reason! Lack of Opportunities: Recently there was news that many projects tailor made for self driven entrepreneurs had to be shelved in this city for lack of interested persons. Some of these –Rabbit Restaurant, mobile veterinary emergency unit and specialized advisory cells for livestock breeding –seemed quite viable and feasible to this me! Why don’t our youth take up these promising projects unless they are terribly risk shy? Among the educated its “unemployability”—or low employability quotient as it is known as—than lack of opportunities. Many choose to sit idle right at their parental homesteads after having a few not to successful stints at some workplace and then returning home in some frustration. We call them the boomerang generation for convenience! The Boomerang Generation is creating trouble outside India too. Exploitative social evils: Corruption—in a million avatars—is one such exploitative social evil that we have helped dig in deep! Itching Palm syndrome as common as the 7-year itch among the married men and women and mischief among growing toddlers! Absconder from your college classes, are you? No problem, for you can buy out the clerk in the University Office with a cool few thousands! Capitation fee under the guise of voluntary donation has become a norm in all private educational institutions even for admission! Even the mortuary watchman demands his customary “cut” if he is to let us carry away a corpse! Political intrusion is another evil, which we Indians have come to acknowledge the importance of and even mentally accept as needed for almost all situations! Dowry is a social evil, a community convention and so highly exploitative both in theory and practice that it literally kills off thousands of young and middle aged women .The shame of this is that there are tough laws in place to fight this menace, but the custodians of law are usually bought over with clout and money! Female foeticide and infanticide—both heinous crimes if any-- are hotly denied in the open but secretly practiced in households in TN, Punjab and Haryana when I heard last! Faith triggered Suicides: Our religion also is responsible for a large number of suicides for various reasons. Religious festivals drove a family in the north of our home State to suicide, driven almost senseless by the noise that they couldn’t bear day and night for over a week. A faith may put in place customs that are virtually fatal for many believers. 30 days Ramadan fasts are deadly for the young and the ageing. Many pilgrimages –like the one to Amarnath and Kailas Mountain--are so arduous that it’s humanly unthinkable to perform them for any person. Some festivals –like the Bharani at Kodungalloor temple—are accompanied by masochistic practices such as wounding one’s own heads or upper hands in a devotion high that incapacitates many. Suicides by starvation are permitted in Jainism creed. The Samurai in Japan perform hara kiri for honour and religious reasons. Poverty: This is a major reason for taking one’s own life. You may recall my telling you on a previous occasion about why the peasants of Vidarbha chose suicides over the threats from their banks to take over their home and hearth!’I don’t think I need dilate on this point since it is something that is commonplace in this country even today! Bear in mind however dear children that the key reasons that lead to suicide may be brought about by the prospective victim himself or herself! Evil company: Many adolescents and teenagers readily fall victims to evil company that at first looks tempting and pleasant. Such small groups on the school and college campus may well be linked to drug mafia or killer gangs of the Italian mafia type. “Quotation gangs” ---the local equivalent of “supari” gangs in Mumbai—take a “quotation” to maim dismember or murder a person for a certain amount. Mostly running in their twenties and roaming around on motorbikes or ill-maintained Indian SUVs, they are ferociously protective of their territories, fight on the streets, and operate 24/7. Kerala has many such gangs. Ask yourself how much intimate company a 20 year old girl needs to turn into a callous and inhuman killer! I feel crime has become cool among today’s Indian women! I often also wonder if our over consumerist and zero-enterprising lifestyle has something to do with this curse! Once a boy or girl falls into their company, he/she becomes into a professional killer within months. Parents, what with the numerous calls on their time do not monitor the activities of their kids too. Such kids often kill themselves once they get informed that they would be arrested and imprisoned. Isolation through social media: In most middle class homes today we have computers and Internet connections, but this makes it possible for the growing kids to live a second life without parental knowledge. Gradually many such kids get socially isolated and try to find happiness and company through the social media in the cyber world. This makes them failures in actually reaching out to their classmates and also brings them down on the academic excellence scale. Many such kids end up on a rope or take poison to kill themselves. Conclusion: Suicide poses a grave social problem in this country. Much thought hasn’t yet gone into this because cases are noticed as individual aberrations of some kind. But I contend that this is part of the social milieu in the country firstly because we have never heard of our own forefathers that chose to commit suicide to escape from some embarrassment or hassle. In addition families used to be large and jointly managed 50 years ago. Joint families made it impossible for growing kids to lead secret clandestine ‘second’ lives. Today’s nuclear families mean that he parents are over stressed most of the time ,which in a way gives sufficient latitude to the young to get the wrong kind of company either directly or through the Net. Much thought needs to go into the key hidden factors that persuade the growing kid and the successful householder to give scant respect for life, and also if expert counselling in schools can prevent this unneeded tragedy and curse. Could we have extended families now that joint households are gone for good? Is it possible to minimize marital breakups by making pre nuptial counselling mandatory before the ceremony? Will geriatric counselling be necessary? To what degree can the State and Central governments get involved in helping us redress this evil? My personal conviction is that we can eliminate this through a multi prong technique involving the following factors: Initiate informal discussions for bring about refined commonsense Provision of Social Support from the neighbours Group Therapy for the suicide prone Goal orientation for the educated youth Work life balance for the employed men and women Family Planning for families having 2 kids Training for effecting Family harmony Crisis counselling services to one and all in townships Facility for treating depression within accessible distance. Kindly think deeply about each of these points and the limits within which we must operate to get a clear objective. Think also of the degree of assistance that we can seek in this effort. And then take a stroll tomorrow morning and come over for another brainstorming session! Jai Hind! 29/06/2012 The Mahi Message for a Blind, Deaf India! Hi dear one! Good morning to you all! It delights to see that you all look happy and not too stressed up this morning! Young women like you are intensely self conscious in many ways, which I can understand , but millions among your sisters and mothers also lack a sense of self worth in this country India—but they have no reason to be so contemptuous of themselves! You know that social evils concerning women persist thanks to this lacuna! Millennia ago it was Confucius that observed “Respect yourself and others will respect you”. You dear kids are snow geese by birth: you needn’t bathe in milk in order to be milk white! You need be but your own honest selves, but are you so yet please? Still, I’d felicitate you on managing it this far in your lives without many bruises—probably owing to your uniquely Indian jugaad--, since Mahi ,far younger to you by age, was not as lucky for no fault of hers! As the typical superstitious Indian would have it, Destiny was unkind to her! India as you know is a funny nation in many ways. At least 70% of the time some court of law somewhere in the nation is constrained to take up a Bill on its own in public interest and tear it to pieces for being nonsense. Of course, the Parliament’s withers continue to be un-wrung by this shame, though they do have some allergy to judicial activism of this kind! We do have civil servants aplenty –pink cheeked young men and women that have not lost their hope yet for the nation—but they are cogs in a grandfather clock machinery with creaking toothed wheels and zero lubrication on purpose, and a pendulum aka the State or the Central government. If they are conscientious, which is about 1% among the lot, they lose all confidence and yet pull on for their dear career behind the IAS/IPS mask. They no longer care a damn for the nation or its people, but play the limpet par excellence to their much- touted authority! Not that they don’t have the authority to force implementation but they aren’t interested! It’s that elementary! This machinery consists of the district collector sending a circular to the office superintendent in the collector’s Office, who dispatches it to senior assistant and it moves to junior assistant and then is sent to the concerned department head. There it goes of its own into cold storage unless there is some monetary benefit—honest or dishonest-- to be extracted out of it under one pretext or another! And the Chief Minister is a mouthpiece of what the concerned department clerk informs him through an improvised non committal report, whether it makes sense or not! You see he’s also there in power simply for the “juice” to be made out of his position and not for the deluded fools—the voting public-- that elected him to power in Micawber-like optimism. India became a “What’s in it for me?” nation many years ago in reality though you may not feel like that today, deluded as you happen to be by the elaborate celebrations that are whipped up or lathered up on our Independence Day and Republic day! Mahi, the girl and Mahi ,the symbol: Mahi was a 5 year old Haryanvi girl that fell accidentally into a 70 foot disused drywell in Manesar near New Delhi and died a death in darkness by asphyxia. No doctor was there to care for her and no priest to bid her a tearful goodbye! She had no choice but to pay with her life for (a) the discrepancy between the effort mounted by the authorities in their last ditch attempt and (b) the national incompetence that lack of ability to team up that we Indians are notorious for globally! Recall the 700 day old Supreme Court verdict directing her home state to cap all such dry bore wells and which the State government chose to hatch eggs over! Mahi stands as the symbol, as KJ Alphons observes in his perceptive piece, “of the hapless Indian citizen at the mercy of an indifferent state”. What a commendably pithy observation! Death speaks many languages as you know but a nation beset by many hornet-like issues buzzing around its head learns under sheer compulsion of circumstances to soon ignore it. How many of you identify your own selves with the burnt brides and victims of domestic violence belonging to your own gender please? Have you felt weepy on reading about them? How many Indians have you heard in the last many years saying that they are gratified to be born and to live here? How few do you see on the street actually smiling in joy, except those wily contractors, the sucker fish on the underbelly of the State? How many of you dare to be descendants of Shehla Mazood, the RTI activist and whistle blower that got shot to death in Madhya Pradesh recently? Do you have any experience in being committed to any all –India cause so far? Isn’t it more true to say that most of you allow your own selves to be deliciously distracted in some manner—by your job, your family tasks or friends-- from dawn till dusk? Have you yet chanced upon anyone that shed a scalding tear drop for this country? Mahi’s death –supposedly the 20th such “tragedies—is also mostly forgotten in the much- harassed Indian psyche! In of his poems Robert Frost speaks of a freak accident that kills a young man in these lines: The doctor put him in the dark of ether. He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath. And then-the watcher at his pulse took fright. No one believed. They listened at his heart. Little-less-nothing! And that ended it. No more to build on there. And they, since they Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs. [Out, out by Robert Frost] Death is always like that: it makes you think and makes you feel for a moment humble and human-helpless! The question of our callous neglect of basic human rights—the right to live safely in this instance—and our individual indifference to others’ pain and suffering we shall take up later in this discussion, OK? She was the umpteenth kid—the statistics trotted out in this connection is demoralizing!-- to fall victim to such man-made accidents, which ,once they are over, we ugly Indians tend to write off as her “fate waiting to happen” ,institute a magisterial inquiry as an analgesic remedy, and we move on shamelessly! Thus she joined Roshan in Kolkata, Darawah Mahesh in Warangal, and 12 year old Bakul in Gujarat. Pray did the Americans write off 9/11 this way? Didn’t they play the tenacious bulldog in chasing Osama till they did him in, right in the Pakistani rabbit warren he chose to stay? My questions in this connection—you expected them, right?—are the following: How many of the officials concerned in all these cases have got their well deserved comeuppance till now? Oughtn’t the contractor that dug this bore well and left it behind with indifference to face the music? Which officials in Haryana have been guilty--- and culpable for administrative callousness— for the crime of observing the Supreme Court verdict in the breach? How man y more such instances that actually kill off our people remain unattended and waiting to kill us—such as dangerously exposed power cables hanging by the roads, antiquated fuses that can cause a devastating blaze any time? Warming Up: Icarus, son of Daedalus , has no reason to be ambitious enough to fly and when he did, his contemporaries must have viewed him as a nut! His death therefore, when his wings made of wax melted in the hoit sun and he fell down into the lake below, was no item for even casual conversation of an evening. Little Mahi’s death ,on the other hand, set loose a storm of righteous indignation all over the country simply because unlike Icarus--- probably a Greek mythological figure-- Mahi lived in Haryana, a relatively more developed Indian State and because she was playing when she slipped into the dry well left behind by the bore well contractor for another promising site. As a little girl she might have been a normal kid, though a girl; this alone is reason enough for social discrimination in many parts of the country. Probably her parents were a bit introvert in the sense that they had not bothered to speak out against having a dry well callously unattended and uncapped right in their courtyard. We Indians never learned to ask questions, though Gandhi eminently did, till the British left for good, to put it frankly! Its only now that we are beginning to insist on getting convincing answers from those that govern us locally, State wise and at national-level! Probably also they had done that but had been snubbed off impertinently by the local panchayat officials. Being an introvert ,as we know only too well from the indifference of the millions among us that are stoic enough to suffer and endure for no fault of theirs, is a definite social disqualification in our over voluble nation, unlike quieter cultures as we can observe in Japan, South Korea and perhaps China too and unless you are constantly talking about something,--and not only about your own self, and not only directly one-on-one but also online—you can’t hope to be heard far enough for your own personal expectations. Introverts have but one earthly use: they help us invest intelligently and foresightedly! Ha-ha!(But life is not all investment except for Warren Buffett!) Shame? What’s that please? If such small issues affecting the life and death of our kids or our women folk do not qualify for the attention they do deserve by all civilization criteria, it may be because of the parallel, highly time stressed careers—known as conflict of interests-- our parliamentarians are leading. Political pretensions, especially for the major party in power can get anyone a second life with a parallel income and zero obligation to the nation as a –OMG!- parliamentarian in the Rajya Sabha in the delusion that it is an Elders’ Council of sorts! Sachin helps boost Coca cola sale through endorsements and then goes for a stint in the Parliament.MS Dhoni plays cricket but also makes millions through product endorsements. Many parliamentarians are imports from Bollywood, which means that, for them the Indian parliament as well the obligations of a parliamentarian are but a pair of cushy cosy income- earning distractions than their core competence activity! India’s Rhino Hide! After all our country lost our sense of shame long ago when global indices pulled it down the rank list to tail position. It has no shame in saying that it has flawed democratic structure because of nation-specific demographic issues galore. It ignores the fact that all our metros are accused with dirty evil smelling slums inside and outside them. It weakly dreams of being a global power some distant day but has no growth matrix that will help her in approximating to that target in any way. A Prime ministerial hopeful –and such are galore—has, 90% of the time, no clear cut idea of how he will help India transform and metamorphose during his tenure or what action program he will follow if chosen! Tribal persons that crossed party allegiance s worse than the Hibernian priest ---Vicar of Bray did---- and who probably lack a national holistic vision and mission objective recalled with sheepish look to the former party or its rival and then stake a claim to be –phew!--the President of the nation shamelessly! If Mahi were saved, what might then happen? In one sense, though I feel a bit ashamed to put it so crudely and without any euphemism, Mahi was lucky she died of asphyxia because India has never been that friendly to a woman as she has been to any man, even an idiot! Even sports women of the Sania-class are seldom extended the respect and appreciation they truly deserve! I am therefore anxious about the fate of all female kids in this country and hundreds of questions bedevil me whenever I think of them! Would Mahi have been trafficked or clandestinely sold as a child labourer? Would she have been shanghaied away for organ harvesting? Might she have been tricked into some unwed pregnancy later on by some local Don Juan through honeyed promises and pledges of immediate marriage? Would she fall victim later on to freak road accidents or be cold- bloodedly murdered as so many of her gender are? Husband: unpredictability is his middle name as you all know! I wonder if Mahi, if alive, would be forcibly married by a person that lives on a different mental planet and see her only as a nocturnally recreational toy! Would she end up as one of the millions of Indians that prefer to take the line of least resistance and chase mythical deities lifelong or on the contrary would she be brutalized killed or dispossessed by mindless violence as a direct result of religious dogmas? Might she have grown ,if lucky, to be just one of the millions of underutilized clerical staff in a decrepit government office, an under paid school teacher with her creativity killed by her employer or one of the 48% Indians that regularly tell lies at the workplace to attend to some handsomely earning hobby? If she were such a clerk or bureaucrat, would she be an asset or a liability to the nation, her real employer? My point is that if India lacks power generation capacity to her needs, it’s because the clerks or the officials in the forest and environment ministry hold up clearances regularly for upcoming projects or their counterparts in land acquisition do their worst! We need to take up the role that clerical class play in being determined wet blankets to a resurgent impatient- for-growth India! The Human Rights Angle: Did Mahi, as an Indian citizen have her human rights by virtue of the Indian Constitution and by virtue of her domicile here? YES! A democracy means a Pacific Ocean more than what we all take it to be since its basic raison d’être is that the government we choose through election is our trustee from Day One onwards and that it is our bounden duty to guide them administer us efficiently. Every citizen, thus, has the right to live safe from harm of any kind, the right to tell the truth, and take the government to task in any manner, including the spansule approach that I’ve espoused to rectify their wrong course or direction! Human rights form part of the democratic process and strengthen a democracy, demanding transparency in the legislative process and calling to account elected representatives when their political judgement falls short of expectations demanded by their citizens! Human rights recognise that not only must states not kill, torture or discriminate against their citizens directly; they ought not to kill their citizens via indirect means by, for example, allowing them to starve. They also articulate positive rights such as the right to a standard of adequate living, including the right to food, housing and shelter. Our Parliament has established the laws, as it alone can, in relation to our human rights – especially the obligation to take all necessary steps to save citizens from harm--but then the will to implement them conscientiously is sadly missing as happened in the case of the Haryana State Government. The Supreme Court ordered it to cap all abandoned dry wells 2 years ago but it didn’t! [Between you and me I feel a bit gratified that the PM has graciously accepted my suggestion that the medical education of this nation dopes need a radical overhaul as I blogged about this a few months earlier! [Ref: www.speakingtree.in , Sadasivan’s blogs, “Medical Education on the Operation Table!”] Tell me dear kids, what are the human rights that the Indian you meet in the street enjoys? Does he have the right to live without fear? In theory, yes! Does he enjoy the right to education? Yes, again but subject to unmentionable exceptions! Kindly change the topic of our conversation! Is he having the right to food? Yes, if the person is below poverty level of Rs 32/ income per day! How can we ensure free food for the others? We can but tax them! How about his right not to be discriminated against on gender basis? NO, but then we have our own glib elucidations you see! What do you say about his right to demand equal opportunities for education and employment? No, sorry, but you see, we are a developing nation still! So where do we stand in relation to a 234 year-pedigreed democracy like the US? Again far behind! I leave it to you, dear kids, to come to a conclusion on your own if our societal progress has kept pace with our human rights, if single parents with low assets and income source are being cared for, if we have yet a Citizens Human Rights Charter and if the governments both at the centre and in the states are doing much to mitigate harshness of Nature or man! Conclusion: Ideally Mahi ought to be the last Indian kid that has fallen a hapless victim to such neglect and indifference. But you are as certain as I happen to be that many more kids need to be sacrificed in this country to the insatiably blood thirsty Aztec deity called by various names such as “official apathy”, “bureaucratic indifference”, and “ministerial complacency” and “governmental distraction from their primary obligation to protect the citizenry”! Jai Hind! 1/07/2012 Opiate Dreams of Academic Excellence! Hi dear one! Good morning to you and to your so-pretty companions in the bevy! This morning we are face to face with a theme much near to your own hearts, since it will take you back to the days of your university education heyday! The Kerala High Court has decreed that all engineering and medical colleges where the pass percentage falls below 45% must down their shutters and close their education service cum business forthwith. This verdict comes in the wake of many thousands of engineering college students never making it beyond the first few years, some taking their own lives, many indulging in crimes, and others consistently getting low ranks in University held final examinations before passing out to lead a pitiable life and get a bleak future. Why is tertiary education across India such a shambles? How come so many syndicates and money making rackets manage to get away with Mickey Mouse academic programs that don’t hand-hold and lovingly escort a freshman to a guaranteed job position or lifetime standing in society as an ace in his major? Why are our potential employers puzzled by the tame performance of the graduates and the post graduates churned out by our ubiquitous colleges and universities? I could tell you one thing. Academic excellence in any subject comes only through a kind of penance, a commitment route with some effort involved in it. Goddess Lakshmi seems, though not eager to please us, to be easy enough for anyone to please but her choosier more fastidious counterpart doesn’t relent that easily to Tom, Dick or Harry unless they come up with some real elbow grease! Actually a reading of our own epics can help us towards commitment to our all too earthly causes, and walks in life! The Bible also has its narrations of much suffering undergone by Christ to reach out to his Creator on our behalf! In reality the way He talks after He has prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane is far different in tone and pitch from how he talked as a kid and youth! It reminds us strongly of a forgiving willing-to-suffer-anything fatherly figure! Going on the nostalgia magic carpet is no fun for me at all for many reasons but I shall reveal to you how I evolved into the person I happen to be as a diversionary route to approaching what is really awry with our university education. I hope you will see something helpful in what I am going to say! I was, at 16, enrolled at my Dad’s desire in BA Economics since he dreamed that with my Sanskrit input at post graduate level—infused through extra coaching--, I’d make for a great civil servant. What I found out soon was that Economics seemed to be too hazy, theoretical and over conceptual a subject for my taste. So I was enrolled in B. Sc Chemistry since Dad—and this me-- did not know what I really loved to do in life! I discovered soon that Chemistry was all right by me and vice versa but that Mathematics, so integral to Chemistry, looked gloweringly from a corner at how I thought of it. I also stumbled upon my forte – English—by thinking back from my high scores in that subject to how I could score so high with practically minimal effort. Ms English thus became my lifetime sweetheart and companion whom I could rely on for driving home any point I wished to put across in the most colourful manner it could be expressed! My point here, as you may have noted is that an adolescent discovers his/her true strength only after adequate exposure to a vast variety of subjects and even then only if he or she is allowed by his/her parents to opt for whatever he/she likes best to do in his/her life. In today’s world there is a million-dollar worth rainbow career awaiting anyone that can commit his/her life to doing anything—even washing cars! Professional aptitudes are no exception to this universal axiom. But the moot point is to what extent our parents are open minded enough to let their wards choose on their own! My observation is, most parents, in our nation any way, turn out on scratching the surface, to be just horribly abominably self centred forked bipeds under their natural skin and sartorial ‘skins’! If our arts and science programs as well as professional ones remind you of a Pandora’s Box of no mean dimensions, with no guarantee at any point at their end, it is because of a few all too glaring lacunae that anyone with enough commonsense can notice.[But I strongly suspect such commonsense is as rare as rubies these days in high ministerial places.] The observable lacunae: Absence of the Hanuman Spirit: If you are familiar with the Hindu epic Ramayana, you might be familiar with the monkey disciple of Lord Rama by name “Hanuman”. Tell me what his USP was! It was what has been called as Scotch efficiency—the habit of remaining tacitly obedient at all times, that of never being weak enough to give in to braggadocio for its own sake, and being totally committed to any assignment or task till it was completely accomplished o some other person’s satisfaction! Admitted that this characters might have been introduced into this story precisely to bring home this invaluable principle to us, the simian deity does teach us and our kids the same lesson with numerous examples. Today however I have found this level of commitment to be almost totally absent from the teenagers in our arts and science institutions on the one hand and engineering and medical colleges on the other! 60 to 80% of youngsters in our arts and science colleges and universities simply don’t have any clear cut career plan in front of them as they pursue the program mechanically like zombies crossing the London Bridge in Eliot’s poem The Waste Land! Those in English Literature and Language graduation courses have been openly telling me that they are doing so purely for some relatively sinecure clerical position in the Government before wedding a girl and settling! Ditto for the girls as they say they are doing so to pass time pleasantly till they chance upon some Mr Right ready to take them! Bah! What a colossal waste of human resources I think to myself as I smile outside in ostensible sympathy! Professional college students come after running the gauntlet of high parental pressure and persuasion to their hearts’ liking till they pass through some entrance examination after mugging up thousands of questions and paying high fees amounts through their very noses! Ironically enough, these temporarily high strung parents tend to vanish into the blue from the college campuses once their wards get admitted, assuming like that naive girl Pippa in Browning’s poem Pippa Passes --that God is in his heaven and all is right with the world! They don’t meet the teachers teaching their wards and ask them to pay special attention to their kids, right till their wards get some row or brawl, get beaten black and blue or get involved in some greed for grain crime and get arrested by the police! Or when the kids get murdered by their own classmates for political reasons! Then they do show up with more than required glycerine in their tearful eyes! Bah! If our youngsters have been effectively felled by people’s representatives and political parties for ready use as their cats’ paws, and potential martyrs, it’s because the youngsters lack purpose in their lives and are merely drifting along the heady Gulf Stream-warm current of youth! About 5% of the students in our colleges fall prey to murderers and supari gangs of various kinds; another 20% to 30% get involved in drug and alcohol addiction and thus end up useless un-employable material and still another 50% bother to manage only 50% of the input and skills they would require for getting any job at all! Only the remainder—hovering about 10 to 15%-- are of any use to their society, this nation or the world! Some parents even start counting out the imaginary bundle of cold cash they would demand like a Jew and contrive to extract from some other couple by way of “all-so-Indian and mandatory” dowry for their “engineer/doctor sons”---like Old King Cole or that Phrygian king Midas in his chamber—or, if they have daughters--- gradually go blue in their faces mulling ruefully about the amount they might have to shell out to some bridegroom in the future for their daughters! Some others are so wily that, instead of monitoring their children’s studies and encouraging them to master the skills needed, they start to look out for some average-- looking boy, though nincompoop, that can be easily coaxed or tricked into a marital alliance without any outflow of money! Some others fall at the feet of deities or fake swamis for help in finding a way out! “Stupid, human trash! ” I say to myself and introspect about the parental eligibility criteria needed to be satisfactorily met for anyone to be permitted to be a mother or father at all! If you query them they tell you that they are studying because they wish to be known as engineers or doctors in their lives! I would like to query them why they find their individual Nirvana by doing so, but then they start getting puzzled by my Socratic style of calibrated-intensity questioning. Even after they are graduates in their respective disciplines they stand at career junctures and not knowing which road to take and which to jettison! I know this from my many years of training them in English language skills for CAT and other management aptitude tests on the one hand and for GRE/GMAT on the other! Don’t you understand that the true Hanuman Spirit is so blatantly lacking in our youngsters as a class and also why they lack it now? Distractions overkill: Value addition refusal is what has made all places of worship with stashed-away wealth or valuables veritable cynosures of the burglar community; it’s no different from snatching a heavy gold chain or necklace from a fat slowly walking woman who is out to make an impression on the lay public with her gold assets! It’s this same unwillingness to add value to one’s CM job that has recently cost Mr. Chavan—former Maharashtra CM- his reputation too. This is the same that has landed many former ministers in Tihar prison! Many new recruits into the bureaucracy or clerical cadre become virtual liabilities also in this same manner—through their refusal to self upgrade using the opportunities offered in-house! Such value addition of one’s life in one manner or another from A to Z especially in one’s chosen major subject is why our youngsters are there on college and university campuses for, right? Such a value addition necessarily needs focus, and unwavering focus at that. Both you and I live in a world brimming over with distractions of one kind or another—TV channels, SMS, cell phone relationships, Internet, feature films, program requirements and academic exigencies and examinations. You have the free will to either beguile your time or use it fruitfully on any day in a year. As far as kids with no particular academic aptitude are concerned, anything other than academics will look glossier and more pleasing than the world of books and teachers, laboratories, assignments and homework. They naturally look out for anything that promises adventure—and our queer brand of politics does that to an exceeding degree. There is the adventure of chasing or fleeing policemen, burning buses, breaking glass windows and destroying public property with impunity plus the all too tempting likelihood of hobnobbing with members of the opposite sex without any parental control and fear. As far as our wily politicians are concerned, they badly needed adequate youth energy on an unpaid voluntarily offered basis to get their voices heard through protest marches, fund raising efforts, processions, publicity campaigns etc and to apply pressure on the powers that be. They were keenly conscious of the attrition percentage of their party cadre or party members due to various reasons including death by natural causes, hospitalization, disability of various kinds, unavailability for party publicity work due to migration overseas, employment elsewhere or any other--- and also due to loss of some of their erstwhile party companions owing to murder by rival parties. Thus unknown to the youngsters themselves, they wanted some youngsters to take the movement forward and get beaten on their behalf! I feel that they—ALL our existing Indian political set ups irrespective of their labels -- must be given credit for having observed our youth in this category quite keenly for sometime before they raised their voices to bring down the voting age to 18! Once in the youngsters, unknown to their parents, are groomed through many off time class sessions and “youth camps” into the kind of goons or party force the party wants them to become. The naive easily gulled parents remain at home entirely unaware of what transformation their well-beloved son or daughter is undergoing in clandestine camps and how they acquire—in lieu of the academic skills they were enrolled on campuses to acquire—bomb making and terrorism skill sets. Politics, however, is not the only distraction available to our youngsters on school and college campuses, but also purposeless boozing with companions with similar interests, flesh trade during after hours for “fun”, drug trade, operation in ‘quotation gangs’ as mercenary killers or the spiv market, women trafficking, ‘purposeful’ philandering for supply young women to the brothels of Mumbai or Kolkata, MLM operations, participation in marketing surveys, and a thousand others. They do all this under the mistaken impression that they are being denied their pocket money for vices by their miserly selfish parents! What they are supremely unaware of is that they lose their life in the process! Hormonal Tangents: It has been discovered in psychology research studies that every baby passes through a series of phases ranging from total helplessness to the parent in infancy to a passing phase of contempt for them during youth and middle age and then returning in mellow autumnal years to admiration for them once more as they chart their own life span. The inevitably transient phase of youth and middle age is when hormones—those Arabian thoroughbreds of Life Force-- play villains to each one of us, twisting realities and making us what only lunatics can ever possibly see! Not only do we experience an apparently unending free fall in what we choose to call love but also create sufficient noise in the world immediately around us to get whatever or whomever we take a fancy for. We tend to turn outright Robin Hoods in rebellion, openly refuse to obey wise tips of any kind, indulge in the wildest antics and tantrums, and even come to delude ourselves that we can change the face of this existing world in some way! This tendency for self delusion—of the Hitler or Ozymandias megalomaniac kind as you may observe!—is what the political class taps into fore their own benefit and zero risk! Unfortunately it’s youngsters passing through these choppy waters of Pacific-deep emotion and U235-dangerous hormones that we are fated to get on our college and university campuses. We owe it to ourselves—as parents, teachers, sisters or brothers—to actively help these kids in adult clothing successfully emerge from their cross currents! We need to believe in our hearts that the rebellious teenager daughter or son is the same baby that grew up in our homes cheerfully and that this phase will pass to yield us the same son or daughter with an adult vision and a sharing mindset! The Abuse of Missionary Zeal: In the college I served for a while as an underutilized faculty member, some students of a students’ union collected funds ostensibly for sending to Fidel Castro to help him recover from his cold and fever! Ridiculous as it was, all my teacher colleagues had perforce to donate, fully knowing the consequences of not doing so. I told you about distractions, but this was one of the worst on that campus—fund raising for boozing by students under one pretext or another. How many, do you think, of their parents knew that these kids never attended class sessions for a whole week under that pretext? Less than 1% as we came to discover later! Doesn’t that mean that these youngsters told black lies to their own parents? Yes! Missionary zeal for good causes such as minimizing infant mortality, eliminating dowry or female foeticide is certainly life changing and nationally a service too but what about raising funds for Castro? In reality all developing nations have thousands of problems waiting to be addressed and solved in record time. There are several unresolved vexing issues like female infanticide, girl kid dismemberment or sacrifice, domestic violence, low educational levels and poor nutrition. What stops our college goers from speaking in public and from staging street plays against these all-too-obvious injustices against our own kind? Can’t they raise public awareness also against some of our archaic laws? Here is one burning issue of today for you. India ranks 98 among the world nations in allowing women to call the shots in the parliament. There has been a 75% increase in the number of women MPs between 1995 and 2012,but in India it is a mere 10.96%.Why can’t our girl students campaign for better awareness among the citizenry for changing this discrimination till it reaches a healthy 50% women along with 50% men? Here is another. Today’s Keralite men and women go along with the flow of patronising many fake spiritualists, listening to their blah- blah and donating liberally rather than ask them to be more actively involved in the struggle to change India’s illogical and often Methuselah ways. They tend to tolerate superstitions rather than gird up their loins to fight against them. They surrender to all vices readily in an effort to keep stress- free and risk free at all times till they die. If the Devil himself, what with his squamous black shiny exterior, and long double-hooked tail trailing behind him, were to come up to their front door as a guest they tend to host them cheerfully rather than ask him to get out! But why please? Why can’t our college undergraduates campaign against this tendency to connive at injustices and close your eyes at obvious suffering? Pirated CDs of films and pornography CDs are big business. What stops our college students from protesting against this nefarious habit of pirating films and selling them without the knowledge of those that produced them? You may ask me why I never went along this track of missionary zeal and if I was a poltroon! Well, I have an honest answer for you! I was not free enough to waste any minute in this manner simply because it was mandatory for me to secure a First Class in every year if I wished to study on a Government of India Merit scholarship— and if I lost it, I knew I could never hope to study in any college at all! We were that down and out in those days as a family of 5! So, when ever student unrest broke out on our campus in my student years, I ran over to the nearest University Library and read books till 4 pm! It was sheer necessity to survive and master all the knowledge and skills I’d need for a job. As a result I never changed the world around me but passed all tests with credit and got posted at the first opportunity! Well, that was the only way out for my parental family and my siblings! Misdirected missionary zeal---in the mistaken belief that they can change the complexion of the world in some way they like---is one such hallmark of our youth. This is another reason they never touch the excellence level they thought in their freshman year to be capable of achieving! Ill Equipped Escorts: To what extent are our teaching faculty members committed to their own specialties? How many of them have taken up their teaching profession with the conviction that they will study and master additional skills by whatever means available and accessible all through their career and if possible all through their lifetime on an ongoing basis? Many surveys in academic institutions across India have confirmed that less than 30 of the faculty in any college are totally committed to improving themselves in their subject skills and a considerable percentage lose their initial motivation once they are given job security by their employers. This latter discovery tells us volumes about their real motivation and their God given forte being elsewhere! How can the Indian universities and colleges hope to do justice to their wards if their in-house faculty are deficient in the needed personality traits and skill sets to an alarming extent? How can they justify their own existence and claims to being educational institutions at all? On the home front, how can our parents demand governmental protection –and acquittal from conviction--for their errant kids after having turned a Nelson’s eye to these youngsters all along during their formative years? Both the parents and the teachers are obviously failing in their self chosen tasks. What is the way out? I’d advise the parents to love their kids enough to share some valuable time with them every single day, ask after their interests and challenges, and assist them when needed to get out of their often-hormonal miseries of various kinds. And I’d advise my teacher brethren and sisters to get Hanuman-committed to whatever it is they have chosen to teach in their universities and colleges! My radiant friend Ms GN has sent me a poem—The Oyster and the Pearl-- by some unknown person, which encapsulates the true function of a teacher; it’s that of an oyster, which, instead of cursing its fate, screaming for re-election or asking for a judicial inquiry into why it has to suffer, covers its irritant intruder sand particle with as many layers of iridescent nacrum—or mother-of-pearl-- to turn out a luscious pearl without demanding any credit for doing so! Some of the lines that struck me in it are: Since I cannot remove it, I shall try to improve it. ..................................... For isn’t it grand What an oyster can do With a morsel of sand? What couldn’t we do If we’d only begin With some of the things That get under our skin. I hope all teachers and parents will read this and tone up their relationships with their students on the one hand and with their teenager kids on the other! Parental Crime of Presumption: Most parents live in their self made fantasy lands about their kids, which never come true. They may or may not share these castles in the air too! The moment a kid is born dreams start go form in the parental psyche; if it’s an Indian kid the dreams have their own dark or bright shades too depending on the gender. This habit of presuming goes to ludicrous lengths too, often persuading parents to overestimate their sons’ worth and also take their daughters’ lives or dispose of them to some brothel. Once the kid makes it to a college, these dreams take on earthy tints of cold cash inflow or outflow and associated trauma or joy. The parents around us tend to presume that their wards will automatically be eligible for any job and thus start to apply pressure on the kids to appear for tests for which they may or may not be fit by attitude or aptitude! Parental interference used to be a reason for high teenager stress levels till recently in the choice of life partners too, which is now somewhat resolved except in some Hindi films of the Rajesh Khanna period! It is imperative that our parents do better justice top their growing kids by trying to understand the tempests they are encountering eyeball to eyeball and helping them tide over the critical years somewhat smoothly. Conclusion: In connection with what I have told you just now I’d like you dear kids to read for yourself a recent write up by Nathan Taylor titled The Dishonesty Disease! He is an Australian writer and journalist. It appeared on a media website too! You may easily access it on the Net! The gist of that eye-opener write up is that 98% of humans will, across the board, lie, steal and cheat if they think they can get away with it. This is true of “all areas,” as he says, “where social compliance is necessary, from public transport, water restrictions, and picking up dog poop through to corporate governance arrangements”. It is merely because our students in colleges and universities are allowed by parents and the society around them to graze freely on whichever pasture that tempts them the most that our graduates fail to reach the standard of excellence they ought to achieve otherwise! Training classes and ethics programs alone have zero effect on human behaviour. Smudging truth –by telling lies to own parents that is,--is something youngsters indulge in or keep away from depending on (a) the truth telling or falsehood telling social situation they are in (b) the moral persuasion and sage counsel they receive back home from parents as well as from kith and kin at all times and (c) the possibility of being caught red handed and subjected to punishments of one kind or another. Please think deeply about the thoughts that both you and I have shared so cheerfully this morning dear kids and come tomorrow for another brainstorming session! My spirit, as it has always been, shall be in tune with Tamaso Maa Joyithir Gamaya (=Lead me from darkness to light!)!Please be assured on that count, heirs of Future India! Bye! Jai Hind! 5/07/2012 Garbage In, Garbage out! Hi dear one! Good morning to you! Ah! Your companions are also coming this way laboriously up the hillock! Welcome to all of you! Come to think deeply of it, the general axiom referring to PC-view--- that it’s Garbage in Garbage Out—is also applicable to life in general across the nation! Taking up an old dog-eared 1969 version of the Chamber’s Dictionary I find that clean is a very productive word with expressions like clean up, clean-limbed, cleanliness, clean-timbered, clean slate and clean hands, come clean on something and show a clean pair of heels! Towards defining “Garbage” The same dictionary defines garbage as “refuse, as animal offal, any worthless matter”—and contains the expression “garbage man” to mean “a dustman”! Today, almost 50 years later than then, we are at liberty to extend the meaning of this potent word to denote “anything or anyone totally out of tune with the surroundings in some way”! Garbage is, indeed, anything in the wrong place and time. A processor is OK within a PC but not in the local water source! It’s garbage! Saliva is all right when it remains inside your buccal cavity but its garbage if you place it on your neighbour’s face! Cigarette ash is all right in the ashtray but garbage on the boardroom floor or table! Fish remnants are all right behind the house near the compost pit but its garbage on the dining table. Fresh meat is all right at the local butcher’s but its garbage if it’s left on the jeweller table or bank cash counter. Normally we apply the term to torn carry bags, shards of plastic buckets, coconut shells, worn out shoes, vanity bags with huge roles made by rats, discoloured rubber toys from China, old clothes dumped in the yard behind the house, bric-a-brac, rubble that has been collected from demolished buildings, rusted tins, chicken feathers, offal meat, the body fluids from the just hanged convict, and even disused and damaged electronic goods and PC parts. If any of these is allowed to remain the open without being incinerated, buried or disposed of in some manner, it supports a fast breeding rodent population, and also it gets re-used by female mosquitoes to breed its young larvae and that brings about diseases galore. It can also be the perfect square peg put in the nearest round hole. It can be a non performing official, a minister that gets carried away by his tongue, the public servant that refuses to serve the public in his office, and the CM that announces the most ludicrous “reforms” in the name of governance! If an official is allowed to have job security (This is a performance killing tool!) and to remain in power with no monitoring of his performance at any stage, he also causes as much damage as the garbage dump left in the open for months at a time! If an athlete is conceded the right to remain the captain of the team though he never performs on the field except nominally, the team starts to consistently non-perform thanks to demoralization and de- motivation! The same thing happens if a super batsman or a wrestling legend or an ultra golfer is transplanted overnight to the Upper House of the Parliament, with the government fully knowing that he doesn’t know of the Articles and numerous clauses in the Constitution or the policy initiatives and their scope or end users. A performer in one realm need not be an equally stirring performer in an entirely disconnected area of activity, but this is only commonsense you see! Infinite possibilities of illogicality, irrationality and imaginative eccentricities of the queerest kind open up once you cross the border of common sense! This is what is happening to many things in this country, including grandiose sea face schemes, A to Z food items through the PDS, policy initiatives like the MGNREGS, unheard of administrative reforms, crass populist measures labelled democratic, and unviable schemes to be a global supplier of power through a series of parks for nuclear reactors! “What is garbage please?” The typical Indian has a low civic sense—and a tendency to depend too much on government shoulders for any help in leading a clean life-- because of many factors. One of these is misplaced, pathologically aggravated piety getting articulated as an obsession with Afterlife, Nirvana and such, as if it were a reality more easily open to personal experience than reality itself. This preoccupation effectively divests us of the need to keep our home premises clean and hygienic. Nay, it incises off our ability to think rationally about what will happen to us if we let our home premises become breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents! The living catalysts here are the spiritual persons that make it seem to their hypnotized and hysteria-prone listeners that these things are real and alive! Another factor is the male supremacy notion. Outside India it’s the householder himself that cleans his premises laboriously almost every other day and takes pains to keep them clean and hygienic. It’s the unwritten law of every home that every hubby helps his wife wash the dishes, and remove the garbage in the barrel or barrow while the wife prepares something to eat in the kitchen area. It’s not enough that Jack utters a solemn “I do” and ties the knot but also tacitly undertakes to assist his wife in every little way to the best of his ability and knack. He owes it to himself to deserve his wife from A to Z. He must conform a bit if needed if he has been familiar so far with a Bohemian lifestyle as bachelor, cheerfully take up responsibilities by the dozen and make himself a success both during the day and during the evening hours! Here, on the other hand, the prevailing paradigm dictates that no hubby ever does such “degrading” and “menial” chores and always insists on getting his coffee or tea hot right in front of him while he is going through the daily news or watching the TV like a global Indian couch potato! Modelling themselves after their lazier parent—usually the father—kids also do likewise with ridiculous demands for getting everything on a platter with minimal effort on their own part! It’s a miracle that our long enduring women folk haven’t yet divorced their men on this ground! Another driving factor here is the sense of all round mess he observes in administration, bureaucracy and even personal transactions. Ministers are seized for embezzlement or corruption, files get interminably delayed for no logical reason or justification and social evils ride rough shod across the land like individual Juggernauts, causing death and destruction. Even marital alliances are engineered through shady “understandings” and “considerations” that can’t be spoken of as honourable in a court of law! Still another is the hidden tendency to pay back in directly----to believe that the chosen government must be held accountable in one way or another for individual or regional problems. Related to this over dependence and screaming criticism for governmental incompetence is the admission that the individual is not interested in doing any dirty work under any circumstances and that he is interested solely in passing the salmon! This point that I have mentioned last is the real root of a mad hankering for purchasing lottery tickets in the hope that overnight one can become a millionaire with no effort at all put in and not even a single drop of sweat on one’s brow! Your search for the mysterious reason for persistence of the social evil known as dowry--- and domestic violence over dowry underpayments—also stops at this point of desire for getting unearned income in some manner, honourable or not! In North India it surfaces as female feticide or infanticide! The principle ht holds valid in all these cases is “Something in return for nothing” or “No Pain, Maximum Gain”! Electing human garbage to power: WE have suffered adequately by doing this all these 64 years! Let’s bring about the electoral reforms to ensure that not even a single criminal or murderer will be able to sneak into our law-making body! Who wants garbage in the puja room? The Garbage Crisis: My home state is wrestling hands-on with the problem of accumulating garbage of both the biodegradable and non-biodegradable types in large heaps, mounds and veritable hillocks. It is everywhere on the roadsides, in waste plots along eh roadsides, in neighbours yards, and in huge open spaces where meetings are held occasionally. Dozens of rats can be observed searching sincerely for and feasting on food remnants in these. Hundreds of mosquitoes can also be seen hovering around these mounds. The government machinery is humming away overtime to instil a sense of hygiene in its citizenry, but with herculean difficulty. Citizens vs. Garbage: The citizens in my State have an extra organ for sensing garbage arriving from any other route than from their own backyards. They can see the trucks arriving from afar and also know how to block them on their way to dispose of the garbage in some disused granite pit or railway platform. They are extremely good at cleaving the air with their right hands and screaming away at levels louder than the ancient Roman herald Stentor could. They raise a hue and cry that they are being deliberately left in the lurch by the government that they chose with a million unfulfilled expectations! Environmentalists have made it their mission in life to stop any garbage disposal at any cost in the name of environment conservation! Granite pits remaining disused? No problem even if they are silent death traps for any unsuspecting youth going to swim there! A factory set up for converting garbage into fertilizer? No way, because the resulting fertilizer smells unpleasant you see! An uncomplaining peace loving neighbour with a vast plot, have you? OK, you may dump our domestic waste there! Media sleuths smell something wonderful to whip up popular passions with here and so even garbage in Kochuveli or Murukkumpuzha –places near Trivandrum, the State capital--snowballs into a crisis of global proportions by the end of the day. Since the very principle of vote-bank politics means that the voter can turn away from you at any moment, the government caves in and stops garbage disposal. Once again garbage starts piling up by leaps and bounds and the same crisis surfaces once again! Which fool ever quipped that life in India is so dull and free from having something to do? Life is certainly hectic here in India ,what with our conscientiously going round the mulberry bush again and again till the crack of doom –through elections, I mean!-- but not ever getting anywhere in the process! Generations are born, they grow and die but nothing much happens on the ground to show the rest of the world! Observes a journalist on the situation in this way: “For months now, mounds of garbage have been piling up in public places across Kerala, from the capital to district headquarters to scores of small municipal towns. This is happening in a state that topped the Indian Human Development Report of 2011 with high scores in health, income and education, and which in 1996 pioneered decentralised planning at three-tier local bodies. It is these local bodies that are now struggling with solid waste management amid local resistance at the traditional garbage yards.” [Shaju Philip: The New Indian Express: Kerala Dumps its waste does not collect it] The same problem--- of how best to remove waste at source--- is giving headaches to officials in all other districts also with the same intensity. What evolution has happened to the Malayalee , so famous for taking daily baths and for being so health conscious? If my home state Kerala is eyeball to eyeball with this garbage crisis today it invariably means that the same problem exists in other States too since we the Indian people have so much in common though we may not admit to it. They must either be individually struggling with it or choosing to ignore its existence. We Indians are able to ignore the exigencies of our own daily life for the Afterlife, Nirvana, soul’s eternity etc., aren’t we? During my short stay in Cossipore, Kolkata some years ago, I saw the same problem being deliberately ignored by the State government since it had a hundred other challenges to attend to for the purpose of remaining in power! I am told that the typical Mumbaikar has developed an extra insensitivity to the whole idea of garbage and chooses by habit to be blind to its very existence in a smelly heap along the road that he takes to his office. The hawkers and vendors in the local market are also totally unaware of the garbage heaps near which they sit and sell their fish or leafy green vegetables! I am sure that Delhiite is relatively lucky in this respect because it is the seat of the national government and so it would be remaining clean to all appearances on the surface at least though unseemliness—in various spheres and in various avatars-- can be seen still if you go out of the main highway by even one kilometre! Lifestyle Factor alone, eh? All across India when the men and women are seen to take everything easy and making persistent unending demands on the ruling ministry of the day it can’t be solely because of some change in their lifestyle. It betrays the weakness—actually its effeminacy-- of the Central government to implement reforms on the one hand of course but also shows that pressure grouping for any earthly reason-- justifiable or not-- is seen to be delivering results in the citizenry’s ever vigilant eye! It’s not that our change in life style has nothing to do with the increased production of garbage today. Today we are sedulously aping the West in espousing a market oriented lifestyle and following their habit of getting everything from the shops in sachets and packets instead of from Nature directly. Milk comes not from the cow in our shed but from a factory in sachets. Vegetables come in pre-weighed packets with holes. We don’t rear cattle to consume our kitchen waste. Neither do we bother about angling for fresh fish in our neighbouring steams nor do we de-husk coconuts on our own! Food consumption habits have taken a bias towards the non vegetarian side with the result that vast numbers of chicken, water buffalo, and cattle past their prime age are imported from neighbouring states into this State today. Smelly slaughter house waste is also dumped habitually away from the butcher’s shop. Over 10,000 tons of waste is produced in a day in this small state@ 300 grams per family. Kovalam alone near the State capital generates over 300 tonnes. How do you dispose of this huge waste by the end of the day? Why not generate cooking gas from such waste? Yes we can but there is a severe space limitation in urban houses and apartment blocks on the one hand –so that a biogas generator can’t be installed conveniently—and rural homes don’t have the initial investment to make towards such a biogas generator too. Pipe composting is being tried out at present. Only time will tell if this has been a resounding success since the implementation of this Corporation project takes a long time. The Way Out: (a) A Collective Poultry Farm: Both chicken and ducks can be brought up in the poultry yard but in separate enclosures. Funds for maintaining the farm are collected from every house at a fixed rate –say Rs 100 to Rs 500 per month—and the eggs or dressed poultry given in return for the amount. Vegan and vegetarian families can opt out if they don’t need either eggs or meat. One of the homes, which may happen to have enough free space, must make space available for this facility at a fixed rent every month. (b) Ward level Dairy Farm: Dairy farms can also be run on the same model by the local cattle rearing farmers along with their own cows. Village level milk societies can also be run successfully if half a dozen farmers—and their wives-- decide to do it. No garbage is created for everything can be sold outright. Cow dung can be sold fresh or dry as cakes. Cow urine is a fine fertilizer too for vegetables of the spinach kind, like cabbage and cauliflower. It also can be sold directly to those that have home gardens. The expenses are met from the funds collected from all homes in the ward and milk for the contribution given in return. The single condition to be abided by here is that only high yield hybrid cows can be used for the purpose. The total requirement for milk is to be calculated in advance and the cows yielding a little more than needed to be bought. Cattle food can be bought from State agencies if it is high enough quality. Grass for hay can be grown in the premises. Our college graduates are so un- ambitious that they try to get a sedentary job under someone, but instead they can have a rainbow future if they take up farming or rearing cattle for milk purposes. Learning to manage such collective ward-level farms can be a great beginning to starting out on one’s own. Have you heard of Ramilaben Govindbhai Patel of Gujarat, incidentally, dear kids? She rears cows and delivers the milk to the local dairy farm. At 43, her annual income is over Rs 1.10 crore, to be precise Rs 1, 10, 17675 /00 according to a recent TOI report! Why can’t you encourage your kids to take up this business as early as possible then? (c) Attitudinal Change: The crux of the crisis to be overcome lies in the vast change in the attitude of our men and women. On the one hand, our women must help their men folk by making available all the kitchen garbage at least once a week in huge buckets. The men can take this to the nearest biogas facility available in return for a monthly quota of cooking gas through hoses. Huge trailers or trolleys can also be taken on rent for this purpose once a week. On the other, the men must also be willing to accept a more active lifestyle by assisting their wives in whichever ways they can and learning a bit of basic cooking for unforeseen contingencies. Kids are also to be involved in home maintenance in every way they know. The men can undertake to keep clean a small part of the road in front of their own gates if they live on the roadsides. All men in the same ward can decide on a day in the week to start the day with this physical exercise. Residence Associations can take this up and make it a success if they set their mind to it. (d) Ward level Compost Pit: Composting with earthworms can be done on a collective basis, if the garbage is dumped in a huge yard set out for the purpose and if maintained by some unemployed youth. A fixed ration of the fertilizer can be given to every home in the ward too. The only need is a friendly understanding that no politics shall be permitted for anything connected with such services. (e) Male-Female Equality at home: The necessity to change our present day lackadaisical mindset also involves playing a more active role as the heads of our families. If our wives are not against it, we can help them wash the dishes, with our kids also chipping in, and make the occasion a grand occasion for laughter and fun. Both the wife and the hubby can collaborate in cleaning up the courtyard, if they have one, and in removing plastic items in a separate bucket. Whichever activity requires a collaborative labour –like washing clothes for the next week at one go on a Sunday morning or Saturday afternoon -- can be shared. This can be also for fun activities like washing the cows, feeding poultry, mimicking the familiar birds, singing together or acting out mini plays. It can also be for cooking contests held right at home! (f) Once-a-week Cleaning Day: I spoke of our own State because I am so familiar with what it can do partly thanks to our high literacy but this can be replicated in all other states if the State governments determine to implement such projects for upgrading the people and the State at one go. Once a week cleaning days are eminently possible for every home in every little locality in our villages or townships. Let’s understand once and for all time to come that no deity or angel is going to clean up the mess we create on our own thanks to way we choose to live, whether that mess happens to be dog poop or bird droppings, that the government alone can’t make a success of such projects without our freely offered and cheerfully given assistance. Make use of our ward councillors and panchayat members, and even our spiritual persons for involving themselves in such garbage removal work in their own localities at the expense of their so-boring lecture sessions. Do encourage all men and all women in a weekly shramdaan effort so that we shall be proud to come to our homes after our work along clean roads every weekday. Garbage is part and parcel of our life today and removing it safely and cheerfully is part of our responsibility towards our own lifestyle. There is no dishonour in doing one’s own thing at any time, mind you! Any labour is honourable, even cleaning our septic tanks, pruning our trees in the yard, or feeding our poultry of an evening. Any domestic chore is OK if it helps tone up the home ambiance by even a little. There is nothing to be ashamed of having some sweat on one’s brow before taking a coffee or tea! Conclusion: Co-operation is what is needed— both at home, within the family and at ward level-- badly to cultivate a go getter spirit and to replace the policy of confrontation that we have today. Mindless criticism of the deficiencies in our existing regional underdevelopment in varied forms is no help to solving the garbage crisis. No State government or Corporation authorities can assist us unless we are willing to help ourselves one bit! If we in the same ward and residential housing colony put our minds to it, we can certainly transform this present day problem into something that supplies us with enough cooking gas, enough joy at home and enough work culture mindset for our growing kids to last them through their whole lives! The Sreedharan Approach—that work within deadline to everyone’s satisfaction in the true religion for all of us—is what must lead us forward like a beacon in the darkness. Taking different sides in a political fashion is not going to help us move forward in any manner. But agreeing with all our neighbours to work together for the betterment of the whole place is. Let’s ask ourselves whether we don’t wish to live in cleaner homes, have happier families, face fewer arguments over trifles, have healthier kids and also see that our whole neighbourhood is much friendlier place than it is today! I am sure that your answer, dear kids, shall be a resounding “YES!” Garbage removal holds within it enormous potential to bring down drastically our family breakdown rates, family court litigations, and to raise the tone of the home ambiance for almost all families in the nation today. It need not all be labour undertaken unwillingly; instead it can be verily a fun activity like kite flying, chess games, shuttle badminton, snakes and ladders and even sex! It can be as satisfying too to one and all! Housewives, so highly stressed-out today, shall be the happier than they are today to share life more actively with their hubbies, and kids will grow into skilled cooks on their own. Municipal wards will be far cleaner than they are today and the men and women more positive too in outlook through sharing effort and refreshments collectively once a week in the shramdaan. I hope that you will go back from here as changed, proselytized and transformed kids back to your homes and offices, determined to lead a happy healthy and more satisfying life style. With active assistance from—guess what—our humble domestic garbage! Oh, please don’t speak any longer about it; it’s so smelly, isn’t it, dear kids? Bye! Jai Hind! 06/07/2012 Noisy India’s Multifarious ‘Noises’! Hi dear one! Good morning to you and a hearty welcome to your friends too! Introduction: The world of noises and ‘noises’: OTT—Over the Top—is the single epithet, though war-derived, that can possibly apply to the noises and sounds we live surrounded and besieged by both day and night, because it means “extreme, excessive or outrageous” and faithfully brings home to us the intensity of some noises we get assaulted by. I am fully aware of the negative implications of this epithet as I dare to use it. Have you ever thought of how noisy a world we happen to live in today? Kids are pushed by expectant moms into a world of traffic snarls, sounding horns, the tat-tat of the machine guns, the bang of explosions, the whoosh of pyrotechnics, the screech of sudden car brakes, and the screams of stymied job aspirants! They are fated to survive a steady barrage of noises of every kind imaginable from a plethora of sources simultaneously too. Weddings are expected to be happy occasions for socializing but even they are often accompanied by vehement demands for more and more dowry and arguments relating to its justification or otherwise! Even funeral celebrations ,which need to be solemn affairs at least in part, end up as noisy insistences on one ritual or another and furious arguments as if it’s the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world as we know it by 12th December 2012! One useful reminder of the vast variety of noises, sounds and voices we get to hear in the course of our lifespan is this God’s plenty of neologisms: Locapour, Munchausen Syndrome, Code Blue, Code Red, Code Black, Horo dance, Easter Island Face, QUERTY Tummy, Bolo punch, Software entropy, Horse latitudes, dumping, Pancake people, Flash mob and flash crash, Xoogler and Noogler! Think in depth about them and try to find out their possible meanings! And then imagine how the noises I spoke of are having ‘stories’ as interesting as those these expressions have! You may listen to the subtle noises and sounds metaphorically suggested by the lines of even such a poem as “O Captain My Captain” by Walt Whitman, supposedly about “Honest Abe” Lincoln. Listen to the words and then try to trace the O Captain! my Captain! Our fearful trip is done; The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. What is a Noise? While in cybernetics we are told that a noise is any unwanted signal, the familiar lexicon defines it as “sound of any kind; an unmusical sound; an over loud or disturbing sound; din; frequent or public talk; rumour” and explains that the Bard used it to mean “report, a band of musicians”. You and I are familiar with big noises in the corporate world, in politics, in science and many other area of human activity and we also know that some persons are trying to make a noise in the world in their own specialties too! Noises of the metaphoric kind invariably cause some distress in some quarter, be it the common people’s lifestyle, baby health, ambiance, climate, farming practices or education! These can be motor mouth people’s leaders pledging heaven in exchange for votes and then quietly retracting on their pledges! They can be faulty elucidations from ministers glossing over an evident reality like Coalition Paralysis, pooh-poohing the need for urgent electoral reforms or promoting a wrongly conceived project; they may also be out of sync neighbourhoods of any kind. Noise A: Climate Change, Environment, Pesticides: As you know well, I chose to live in this quiet neighbourhood because I loved to listen to the chirps, warbles and twittering of birds as I woke up every dawn. Bird cries are not noises in the strict sense, though they may be raucous or cacophonous because they are after all our elder cousins on the evolution ladder. Animal sounds also go into the same category whether it is the mewing of a cat or snarl of a famished tiger! Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962---thus mothering forth the environment movement; that book deals with the ornithological loss triggered by DDT passing from one generation to the next, but I don’t think any of you have passed a silent spring , summer, autumn or winter after you arrived in this world![ This is because the sounds that we used to listen to in Nature earlier have been largely replaced by artificial man made noises today to such an extent that every sparrow takes care to hide first in the undergrowth before daring to chirp and twitter and even a nightingale is afraid to warble at nightfall lest it get shot!] The PR machinery and scientists in pesticide firms made a big noise against her as we all know; we also know of what a Rutgers University don observed that if Man were to follow the teachings of Ms Carson, “mankind would return to the Dark Ages and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth” Today we know that humanity is faced with a series of epidemics in which even endocrine disrupting pesticides and toxics of all kinds may be involved: asthma, autism, hormone- related cancers, ADHD, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and learning disabilities, just to name a few. Climate Change threat, about which much noise is being made today on both sides, is of course real but hopefully slow to engage properly with our world .Kyoto Protocol and Rio Summit gave place to another Rio+20 recently but nothing much has really taken place by way of action –or even accepting a lifestyle change to save the planet from sea level rising. Given that Man today is too helpless to change his ways, it is going to spell disaster for our coming generations in no small measure Many baby products are obviously suspect in ingredients. In this sense they let off a noise that all moms must be able to hear distinctly! Maia Szalavitz of TIME observes that baby soaps, baby shampoos and Head to Toe baby washes are suspect—even those made by Johnson and Johnson!—because they cause baby skin--0 and urine as little as 0.1ml--to test positive for marijuana. Noise B: Home, Neighbourhood, Traffic Home arguments, their counter arguments, recriminations, accusations, irrational demands and flippant conversations having no purpose and leading nowhere except into mutual animosity are noises. Sobbing weeping and wailing aloud are certainly noises that have an obvious effect on all those that get to hear them. The sounds made by growing kids are certainly noises of the harmless kind especially because they don’t pester unless beyond the threshold of endurance, which is rare. One may live in the national capital--- even at Mayur Vihar East End--- but that does not mean that one is happy. One may have to put up with unpleasant, unmannerly, pompous, pretentious and snobbish neighbours too. If you are in the suburbs of a smaller city or township you may get neighbours of varied temperaments all around you. Some may be Peeping Toms par excellence, casting wolfish eyes on your daughter or wife, or be outright drunkards and disciples of John Barleycorn. Some others may be having some pet bees in their bonnets and lose no opportunity to buttonhole you once you step outside your villa or independent house. And mercilessly bore you to death with egotistic descriptions or opinions. Another may be a frustrated middle aged wife, always complaining about her own hubby’s performance levels! All these make up noises of a different intensity and complexion! Traffic noise, in Ms Alexandra Sifferlin’s view based on a research study in Denmark spearheaded by Mette Sorensen, is linked to heart attack risk. For every 10 dB increase in traffic noise, says she, there is a 12% higher chance of a heart attack. Around 40db every day foir4 weeks and the heart gives in to an attack! Traffic noise doesn’t need to be deafening to affect your health. A bird call is 40 dB, a vacuum cleaner is 70dB and a 65km-running car generates 77dB from even 25 feet away! Even after the researchers accounted for gender, weight, exposure to air pollution and diet, the 50,000 men and women in the study experienced a first time heart attack unless they lived in the quiet suburbs of any town or city! But I could add to it by observing that it also adds immensely to the stress level of the driver and the co-passengers, especially when breathing in the fumes from other vehicles. This high stress level triggers road rage. It tells upon one’s blood pressure and level of adrenalin in the blood. It has a negative bearing upon the lifespan, marital harmony, adaptability quotient, decision making finesse and essential humanity. It also prevents one from getting adequate REM sleep at night. Noise C: Profession-linked creaks and crashes Noise, in its literal sense is, a deadly life suck whichever angle it is viewed from! India is a very noisy country in her workplaces, markets, offices, open spaces, street junctions, festivals, ordinary roads and even homes. How does this kind of noisy living---- which we get used to right from the hospital bed where we start from journey from---, affect us adversely? Simply put, it kills us day by day in what Hindu Scriptures might term “ a slow infernally cruel obliteration by fire”!! If you, God forbid, wish to die earlier than your Creator designed you to live—and that too of CAD, heart attack, or violent chest pain due to rise in inflammatory proteins in the blood--, you need only reside or spend many hours daily working next to a jackhammer or amidst incessant din of industry, according to Ms Annie Lowry of Slate University! Think, dear kids, of how many of your parents get jostled on train, get nauseous in a congested bus or get cut off in traffic at the peak hour? Think of the scuffles and noisy brawls they may get sucked into too! Think of the cheerful young men and women they once were and how they forgot even to smile after living in this country—and risking this occupational hazard-- for years! You also risk dying early if you commute for more than 45 minutes daily, usually as a result of an oversized waistline, high BP and less immunity to chronic illness of any kind! Let’s forget death now and turn to your family life. You run 40% more danger of divorce, developing Loneliness and Depression syndrome and risk more intense migraine if you have to make long trips daily because it deprives you if the time you ought to spend with your loved ones! You also turn into a sleepless zombie of sorts! Please pray, dear kids, silently now for all those millions in the Mumbai Suburban trains, Kolkata metros and Delhi metro ‘plodding’ on their weary ways in life now! Mammon does make a scream now and then! Let’s look at his money markets! The recent LIBOR scandal ,triggered by gecko-like greed,--and the investigation into a highly technical and hitherto opaque financial process-- made the pro-active media bash the banks in general and also caused the heads of both the Chairman and CEO of Barclay’s Bank to roll. It got revealed that London Inter Bank Offered Rate or LIBOR –and its Euro derivative EURIBOR—were actually great white shark operations managed by 18 banks in a secret cartel to slice off undue profit for themselves from housing, vehicle and small business loan amounts! It has been a noise of no mean dB as long as it lasted! Though it’s not directly related to any specific profession or occupation but probably to all of them: the relative failure of the Reservation Policy to bring about any visible change in the ambition of the SC,ST, and OBC classes all these years is a silly noise pestering us all, since its taxpayer funds that go into educating them! If anyone in India dares to add up the billions that have been doled out in this socialism-redolent community up gradation project launched on a misinterpretation, and THEN also estimates the ROI—anyone can see it to be a zero sum game! 64 years have passed since it was launched, and reservation for admission for almost all courses has been instituted and YET 48.5% of all posts reserved for them are remaining vacant because no one qualified enough for these posts is forthcoming! What went wrong so horribly then? Inference: Either the monetary drain since 1947 in this regard with much expectation has been totally in vain or it’s has been the wrong approach altogether! Maybe it was a combo of nourishing food plus equal opportunities that they really needed and not socially discriminatory and divisive spoon feeding at school or college! Noise D: Life Style related That India has the largest number of stunted kids in the world--61 million—according to a 2009 UNICEF Report is certainly a horrible noise, because (a) stunted growth is the consequence of long term poor nutrition in early childhood, (b) such a kid is likely to experience a lifetime of sickliness and underachievement and (c)it betrays the poor anaemic health status of the mothers too.[China has 12 million such kids.] Where is our famed adherence to the approach of “democratic socialism” please? Is this iniquity the price we are paying for having the luxury of democracy? Decisions taken from a great height with utter disregard for the consequences of that decision on the ground below comprise another unforgettable nightjar noise—this is the well acknowledged IMF axiom--, but this is familiar not only to the people of this country we have a policy initiative drafted without any consultation with the end beneficiaries of that policy at any stage but also to the people of Pakistan who bear the brunt of missile attacks from drones high up in the air. Commercialized education methods are another cacophony. The jinx here is that government run schools are understaffed and underequipped and are not able to do any justice to the needs of students thanks to official red tapism, undertrained teachers, employee disunity, factious teaching community students’ union and lack of progressive vision. India is incredible as a nation because you only need enough liquid cash to buy any degree in some “universities” without any studies or assignments or practical sessions. Even schools exist in the private sector partly for generating profit for the management and are never run on a no-profit no-loss basis. There are schools, where a monthly expense hovering around Rs 50,000 is normal. Dubious marine engineering schools offering job guaranteed programs at hefty fee rates but located in spots far away from the sea as such are another queer freakish hippie noise we are hearing today. Here kids are expected to learn everything about the inside of a ship and some oceanography too to boot without knowing even the rudiments of swimming, survival skills and without ever seeing either the sea or a ship in reality. Where else in the world can you hope to see such institutions please? Capitation fee is a euphemism for outright donation of a hefty sum in advance for booking a seat. But there are a hundred different types of donation—building donation, Welfare funds for the poor, vehicle purchase donation, laboratory expenses and anniversary donation. The monsoon hide-and-seek being experienced by one and all at present is also another noise of sorts –and singing of Raag Malhaar is helping resolve it!--because (a) water and power shortage is making our lifestyle uncomfortable, to say the least, and also it diverts governmental attention away from administration exigencies as such for part of the year and (b) It pushes our farmers into sowing and tilling blues. The SC Commission Chairman’s unpredictable nightmares over school textbook cartoons of 60 years ago are another unpleasant noise in today’s India because (a) it laid open the internal lack of virility of the UPA and (b) it brought home to us the way out importance the SC people give to Ambedkar whom they are trying to elevate from being a human being and deify at any cost! Let’s turn to still another noise! 2012 Global Peace Index ranks India at 142 out of 158, proving our society’s perceived criminality, easy access to weapons and bias for fighting it out rather than talking it out![Bangladesh stands at 91 and China at 89 but Pakistan is, as you’d expect, at 149!] That my home State is having the country’s second highest conviction rate –65.2%, next to Uttarakhand’s 65.5%--need not be anything but a jarring noise because (a) it convinces us that a high component of our polity here consists of criminals born and (b) the defence lawyer community is too under-skilled to do justice to their profession in the courts of law. The fact that many burglars have squirreled away stolen goods worth Rs 1152.5 crores during the previous year must be enough of an electric shock to most of you, and instantly take away all your hopes of sound sleep at night! The danger from having so many archaic laws in our law volumes and IPC is another noise that we shall ignore only at our peril. The right to seek assistance in euthanasia for a loved person in terminal illness and suffering indescribable pain day in and day out is one such Committing suicide is still a crime in our books though every such dastardly act in any nook or corner of the nation throws up more questions than answers—and these questions demand to b e answered convincingly by the powers that be. A suicide can tell us volumes about instances where justice is suppressed under coercion, where something has gone radically wrong without the world outside coming to know of it, where a dug in convention is taking away civic rights rather than help preserve them, or where one citizen has been terribly discriminated against in some agonising manner! It’s a dull reality that in our booming India we have too few toilets in our towns and cities. This is a grave health issue, and part of the soft infrastructure. What is it if it’s not a stupid noise? That we have consistently blindfolded ourselves to the infinite energy potential of solar rays is a terrible noise indeed. Except for Gujarat--- the only Indian State seemingly to have discovered this on their own--only some temples and ashrams have made use of it. Do you know that the Sai Baba Ashram at Shirdi Nasik is using 73 parabolic dishes to generate steam enough—3600 kg-- for clean- cooking enough food for 50,000 devotees daily, and save another 100,000 kg of LPG annually? What stops all housing colonies from using this same source for distribution to every apartment kitchen area? What stops all housewives, who can afford the initial expense, to plump wholeheartedly for solar energy for cooking purposes, especially when firms like Gadhia Solar can supply such parabolic dishes for homes at competitive rates [It consists of mirrors to converge solar rays to a central point where the raw food is kept in a container painted black!4-6 dishes get cooked to perfection simultaneously within 45 minutes on a warm morning.] Why can’t we use the solar energy for wastewater evaporation, crematoria, desalination, air conditioning, incinerators for bio medical waste and for garbage recycling purposes? The nation is located in such a region where we get abundant sunlight; solar energy for practically every purpose—cooking, power generation and sterilization purposes to begin with—has been a long standing open invitation. Yet we haven’t made use of it as much as we have needed. I make this observation in the light of the unpredictable supply of LPG cooking gas, the prevailing culture of all truck drivers to go on lightning strikes for even imaginary reasons. the astronomical rates at which kerosene is sold in the open market, and the scarcity of firewood in urban and semi-urban area Noise E: Himalayan Blunders in Language Language is what distinguishes the human animal from all his relatives in the Darwinian chart and as such language alone holds the key to his advancement or forward movement too. Every time I chance upon a goof in the English language, which is simpler than our mother tongue Malayalam by far, I feel like hearing a quite jarring hyena laugh or the hoot of an owl or the irritated tch-tchoo of the infuriated vervet monkey when it sees a human coming its way! Listen to some such I have kept precisely for kids like you and then tell me whether you don’t agree with me! Since I have to go to my village to sell my land along with my wife, please me one week’s leave (compiled from Infosys) As I want to shave my son’s head, please leave me for two days!(CDAC) As I am marrying my daughter please grant a week’s leave (HAL Administration) As my mother in law has expired, and as I am only responsible for it, please grant me 10 days’ leave! ( Mantralaya, Mumbai) Since I have to go to the cremation ground at 10 O’clock and I may not return, please grant me half days’ casual leave!(Dept of Industries) I am suffering from fever; please declare one days’ leave for the company! (Government Office) As I am studying in this school, I am suffering from headache. I request you to leave me today!(Engineering College) I am enclosed herewith along with my leave letter.(Pharmacy Research Institution Dear Sir, with reference to the above, please refer to my below.(Home Science College) I am well here and hope that you are also in the same well.(Government Office) My wife is suffering from sickness and as I am her only husband at home, I may be leaved. (Veterinary Hospital) “This has reference to your advertisement calling for a typist and an account male or female. As I am both for the past several years and I can handle both with experience I am applying for the post.”(MNC) Noise F: The nation All over the nation, house prices have risen (=potential for a bubble!) along with the debt level. Sustainability, as Bhaskar Balakrishnan (former Ambassador) puts it, has clamoured to be built into our economic growth matrix but we haven’t done it yet! The pace of change from inaction to action is at bullock cart speed. Poverty is still riding over the land like a virtual and veritable Juggernaut. To match outflows of money by the big groups like the Tatas abroad, FDI needs to be wooed and courted on bended knees. Gender disparity is only growing, and not mitigating in any way. Internet penetration is still a trickle at 0.2% or slightly higher and severe sanitation issues dog rural households and leaching from open defecation is contaminating our drinking water with e.coli. Caste system has warped human relations through and through our society too. It has divided our people hopelessly and offloaded individual merit in favour of one’s birth caste! Subsidy culture is a pestering noise from time to time, and it seems that New Delhi is using it as a vote canvassing tool of sorts Subsidising A-Z is not the way to take a nation forward but showing the way to our people on how best to avoid any subsidy! Introducing alternative energy sources for domestic and commuting purposes will bring down the demand in fossil fuels. Opening up agriculture to the latest techniques of production and proper land reforms will boost production and provide enough motivation to the peasantry. Stabilizing the population growth rate through bold reforms and aggressive marketing of family planning will enhance quality of living. Boldness, as an Arcelor Mittal ad has it, changes everything ! Drafting tough non-negotiable regulations for the health industry will pave the way for better, more responsible and more patient friendly hospital complexes. Toning up the syllabi and university curricula on the one hand and adoption of a Kaizen approach to improving the quality of the faculty members in service on an ongoing basis till retirement will catalyze a transformation in the education sector. Conclusion: Towards a Champagne Moment? Whether it’s a corporate firm or a nation—intermingling for symbiosis can’t be avoided between governance and management anyway!-- it can have its own champagne moment – the moment of all round success when you can pop the champagne--if it sets its will to it. In order to attain it you must set specific measurable actionable and realistic time bound goals. Such a Champagne Moment can be defined for any State or nation simply as” This nation/State shall reach this Metric or level of growth—X-- by Y moment within Z period by fulfilling N number of decisions”. Defining the goals at the outset and setting baselines for each sector is as crucial as tracking the implementation velocity! Populism may catch votes initially but it will cease to click all too soon. Leaning on party icons may also help but only for a while. Only such a goal setting really helps, followed by all round collective synergistic implementation of every decision. NM’s Gujarat has such a set agenda to all appearances and going by all media reports; this explains their progress. None of the other States seems to have any such; Mayawati , striving to used Dalit vote bank as her magic carpet to accede to power, never even cared to hear of a Growth Matrix for her home state! Hi dear kids, I have but lighted up for you the path you may follow, may be with my small flashlight, but it remains now for you to take up my suggestions in a patriotic spirit and strain your utmost to translate these into a vibrant reality-- if only for your unborn kids and grandkids of our common national future! Will you, for the sake of this long suffering Mother India? Jai Hind! 9/07/2012 Pray for a ‘God Particle India’! Hi dear one! Please consider yourself welcome here. Also it delights me to welcome your companions! Introduction: The search for the Higgs Boson, christened the God Particle (by error from Higgs’ actual observation “Goddamn Particle”) is finally over and we know it exists. Think about why it is so magical. Firstly it gives mass to matter’s building blocks. Secondly without it being invisibly present elementary particles won’t stick together as molecules. That is it cements diverse elements into a unified whole! It’s an invisible energy binding infinitesimal entities. A great one-of-a-kind India, lying hidden in all the heterogeneity, eccentricity and irrationality that we actually see here, is our own God particle. Don’t we have quirky human characters, like those quarks? Don’t we have fast moving (corporate) electrons? Don’t we have a New Delhi nucleus, pray? But what are the different God Particles that we in India have been passionately searching for all these years and which we are yet to lay our hands upon? Is this the nation that we like to leave to our posterity pray? We shall take a bird’s eye view of the scenario today, a child’s eye view of what can bank upon, and a worm’s eye view of what can befall us in our search for this India of our imagination. Bear in mind the hitherto- imaginative and unfulfilled India that Tagore envisaged in 1912 also while we brainstorm over this exciting theme! Lets imagine India to b e a giant atom with thousands of electrons travelling around in a cloud, ballasting cool protons giving them a raison d’être, and mischievous adolescent neutrinos. In addition to these there can be many more particles as you realise though we are searching hard for that one mysterious particle—our own Boson-- that can keep all these in equilibrium! At the moment we have both Devil particles and God particles here, the former more in number than—and counter balancing -- the latter. It’s these that make for governmental ‘policy paralysis’ ,Coalition “allies” tht are actually enemies in disguise, the inhuman commodification of womanhood as a commercial item, fissiparous tendencies among large swathes of the population, discrimination in the name of equality of opportunity, the anti democratic practices such as birth-based priority treatment of persons paraded shamelessly as democratic ,the lurid Mammon halo all over our schools and deemed universities, ‘um-uh’ marriages, fake spiritualists selling Nirvana opium, upside down thinking about bringing about national integration, clumsily drafted policy documents, and the boas for choosing senescent persons for the top decision making positions. God particle is nowhere to be found. Imagine that it stands for an ideal India which we can bring into being with far more success rate than Tagore could. What would it be like? An India, where dishonesty is minimal: Keats sang of beauty and truth being synonymous in his Ode on a Grecian Urn in these immortal lines: Beauty is Truth and truth beauty That is all you know on Earth and all you need to know!” India dutifully accepted political independence from its former colonizer Britain in 1947 but she continued with the old 19th century bureaucratic systems and processing style that they followed, primarily to keep records and to provide clerical jobs to the natives. Thus we have let ourselves get overloaded with too many persons in clerical subordinate positions below the actual decision makers and thus made for circumlocution offices where delay is the axiom and speed is the exception. We have also, in our socialistic vehemence, allowed corruption to fester freely at the lower levels and thus vitiate the very intention behind government initiatives. By giving in to this pseudo culture and false thinking for decades we have nurtured the Itching Palm syndrome to an almost incurable degree too. how corruption grew into a hydra monster in this country, how it manifests its manifold heads, how it is related to the infiltrating and intrusive politics convention in the nation and how it can be cauterized –as Hercules is believed to have done--and eliminated. If for instance Maharashtra has the highest number of abandoned newborns in the nation and is the sixth in cases of infanticide and feticide---as per NCRB records and IPC 315, 316, and 317---, it’s because common people and especially families are finding it difficult to support the kids once they get born Of course well off families also practice this in no small measure, and so this inference has to remain unsubstantiated for the time being. In a nation cankered from inside through and through with transactions that are not honest in one way or another, the economy ceases to be on a stable growth orbit, and large number so common people get adversely affected. Their trauma is also caused by discrimination based on gender, religion class and locality and religion. It gets various kinds of external expression too. Don’t you pray for an India that is free of this incubus sitting on its shoulders and clinging top it fast come hell or high water? Advertisements of our schools and universities conceal the harsh reality of educational mortality---triggered by social luck of birth in caste A or B—and inherited group of inequalities from Day One. Birth based Reservation has shuffled the admission criteria by far with SC/ST youth contriving to get admission in IITs though having lower scores in the Entrance test while high calibre youth from general category fail to make it through thanks to shelving of merit alone. If our higher education seeks to perpetuate inequality of opportunity, it’s because some parents have managed to amass far more money to donate for admission than others, which means that these parents have had something to do with dishonest sources of making surplus money too. IpaidaBribe.com became India’s Felt Need in the light of this rampant corruption in thinking, words and practice across the caste and community and faith spectrum. Anna and Ramdev ground swells also happened thanks to this deterioration. Misdirected love, friendship or community or political camaraderie is one of the major reasons for corrupt behaviour in this country. “Misdirected” it is, because, you are the gull being taken for a ride or sold down the river in every case. A young man embezzles money from his bank to appease his lady love. Mothers steal office stationery to provide for their school kids. PWD contractors shanghai away vast quantities of government allotted cement for erecting a house for their sons-in-laws or grandkids. Outdoor caterers pilfer from the public water supply for fattening their pockets. Temple commissioners flee with gold ornaments or hard cash donated to the deity in temples buy devotees. The love one politician feels for the farmers – in return for their votes--makes her cry foul over an industrial project. Another, under the umbrella of being a State CM , nurtures his blackguard son to be his successor. The attachment the Indian Tamils felt for the SL counterparts—merely because they also spoke the same tongue-- resulted in the former being used unscrupulously for murdering , sorry assassinating, the PM of India in 1991. Such misdirected love between a major political party in the nation and quotation gangs resulted in the murder of more than 100 persons also in my home State or elsewhere. Greed pure and simple for more and more material assets is another cause for corrupt behaviour. Let’s ask ourselves this question now: What is honesty? Is it speaking the truth and abiding by the prevailing rules? No, dear kids, it’s a whole culture of thinking straight, speaking truthfully as a lifelong habit and also carrying out honest intentions. Officials tell lies because they fear that they might land themselves in discomfort, bad blood with their superiors or invite wrath from vested interests if they tell the truth or if they speak out against what they are also convinced of being injustice. [I exclude here those occasions where telling the whole truth is not required for diplomatic reasons and even those where it is morally wrong and intensely painful]. If we are to rid India of dishonesty in thought, speech and action we need to give this reassurance to our officials in government run departments and enterprises including the largest ones like nuclear reactors and steel firms. It’s imperative they are free to understand and judge on their own the lay of the land before they speak out against an act of injustice, and also equally free to report to the government what they have to reveal in connection with the latter. In that case dishonesty shall be minimal. [Between you and me, being honest and relevant is essential for being authentic in what we say or do too!] An India where all citizens shall be free to contact the CM or the concerned decision maker directly at all times if needed is the God Particle we are searching for! An India free from fear: “Chinatown” became the nickname for the Mizo boy that studies in Std. IX in a local school here; he found life unbearable for bullies till he got up to confront his Malayalee tormentors. Yannick Nihangaza remains hospitalized in Jalandhar after having been thrashed black and blue by Sikh boys in a xenophobia upsurge. The single Muslim household I am friendly with in this locality doesn’t have even one Hindu family as their friends. All for no fault of theirs! But this is our present day India even in the city suburbs. It’s no secret that the frightening pre-Nitish Bihar with goons carrying 12 bore revolvers is a fitting symbol for much of India even today. Our national dirty little secret is that xenophobia, nepotism, racism and ethnicity still rule the roost and determine life or death for many persons. Fear prevents many honest persons from telling the truth about public services such as officials squirreling away vast quantities of office equipment—usually stationery and computer parts-- for private use. The desire to continue in the job seals the mouths of the employees with probity and integrity. Boys and girls belonging to varied castes, communities and faiths are still afraid of being parentally ‘honour-killed’ if they tie the knot. Un-touchability—apartheid if you like to christen it so! -- is still a reality that we pretend to ignore or not to know of. Aren’t we truly classic Humpty Dumpty clones sitting precariously on a wall? Thus an India that is totally free of fear for the honest and the clean would be a consummation devoutly to b e wished for! An India that is health conscious: Today our nation has thousands of couch potatoes, mouse potatoes and idiot box addicts with the result that our individual health has taken a hit in its solar plexus. If India is to stride forward we need to change this prevailing paradigm. Daily workout plus work must be the new mantra that we chant through life. It’s not that we wish to be a Sparta that killed its own babies if they were born underweight or premature but that we need to do better justice to our own lives and optimize our performance. Power yoga is what today’s Indian people ought to espouse across the nation at as many venues as possible since our lifestyle is killing us inch by inch. India’s own contribution to the world of heath--- Ashtangayoga—has evolved today into Power Yoga, an up temp aerobic workout, where yoga poses are done faster and in continuation. It’s a cardio vascular toner and can be done for a maximum of 90 minutes and no longer for a day. Mindful breath controlled movement along with working up a good sweat is the objective of every session .In some cases strength training can also be attached to a session. An India with resurgent States: Today we see States floundering in the waters of social gangster culture, and struggling hard to overcome the limitations brought about in the wake of the previous government’s policy deficiencies. West Bengal is a victim of such way out party promotion at the expense of State level ministerial authority, connivance of criminal elements to prop up the ministry and acquittal of rapists too. The recent murder of the schoolteacher Barun Biswas in that State for championing truth and honesty mind you is a telling reality we can’t ignore easily. Crimes against women, according to TOI editor, “seem to be on an upswing in Bengal. Political terrorising overwhelming administration is accelerating the State’s slide into lawlessness may begin resembling Bihar in the dark days of Lalu Prasad regime” As a result they are furiously complaining about the injustices they have been meted out but this has to change for a more trusting reconciliatory policy which is oriented towards State level resurgence rather than courteous indifference. An India where kids are happy to grow: As it is, kids run 50% chance of being eliminated if they are female and are killed even after they are born for their gender. Child labour and child marriage has put our kids in a catch 22 situation in their parental homesteads. The more affluent and well heeled the family happens to be, the higher is the risk!Thankfully they are not much aware of it but they are not in position to demand their rights for getting a good education and for having good health thanks top age old prejudices and home making for parental convenience and luxury rather than for the kids’ interests too. Our educational sphere is in virtual shambles today with the traditional rattan cane overuse and flogging for even minor faults, staid laid back teachers and ill equipped teachers. India needs a lot of effort to bring this situation around and all citizens need to be fully involved in extending co- operation towards this transformation. At tertiary level the employability quotient refuses to climb up due to archaic curricula, stale teaching material and too many distractions from academic activities on almost all campuses. Vocation skills apart, even life skills never get mastered enough for the need. Survival skills also are coolly ignored. A spin off of this is the frustration our young people feel and their surrendering to wanton destruction of public property and national heritage items. A God particle India shall be world class in its educational content, the campus ambiance and learner motivation. An India where Politics is Patriotic: Right now the single comment that comes to mind about 90% of the politicians of this country —forget their mother party set up or the colour of their flag-- is “human muck”;this is simply because they are so narrow visioned and so hidebound on the one hand and so retrogressive in thinking on the other. Most of them look—on Lok Sabha TV-- like illiterate guys unfamiliar with the nitty-gritty of the responsible obligations they get assigned to undertake and even speak and behave in an uncouth fashion like the bumpkins they might have been before getting into the parliament. Listen to one hopeful for Raisina Hill--- conveniently forgetting his own culpability in desiccating the government--- condemning his rival candidate in a veiled innuendo as a failed FM aspiring for Raisina Hill—typical mudslinging gimmick as you can infer--,while another minister lamely admitting that his mother party grievously lacks young leadership. Still another Opposition Party is gnashing its teeth over imaginary grudges and searching hard for Hamlet ghosts in the undergrowth. Some regional parties are openly casteist or incorrigibly provincial in outlook but unashamedly and fiercely so. Mini-States have been forcibly sliced out of larger States under the pretext of language/ dialect differences and attempts are in full swing to carve our still more such mushroom entities. Our God Particle India, yet to come out of the maternal womb, will have well educated parliamentarians having a holistic vision of this country and keenly sensitive and responsive to her people needs. All of them will be intensely patriotic, willing to serve the nation across party distinctions and carter to the needs of their constituencies rather than to their party supporters and personal Wish lists. An India which thinks alike of its common future: Of course the ruling party remains stymied and in a bottle neck mentally through its dynastic family addiction but then how far are our expectantly-chosen leaders capable of seeing this nation as whole? The Tamil thinks today only in terms of boosting Tamil culture, language and thinking while the Gujarati thinks only from the angel of having business in all opportunities. The same principle applies to people’s representatives from all other parts of the nation too without much distinction as to be spoken of. This is the pre 1947 India striving hard to survive even today in thought, speech, action and behaviour in these persons .It has made for our national unwillingness for lack of integration and maintenance of our present disunity even on the silliest of common issues as well as for protracted exhausting negotiations ending up in a zero sum game. Political murders have become commonplace and scams are losing their news scoop value! Hurling footwear at or slapping a minister is nothing out of the ordinary! Most government run hospitals have but jeremiads of inadequacy to tell the visitor. Even your life is at stake once you get into a hospital. Steel and glass facades of our private hospitals conceal the patients over charged and kept as virtual hostages on their beds with no freedom even to go out! Our elections trigger a festival - like response that reminds one actually of a people that views it only as another mega show or grand circus and has never even heard of that screening process anywhere! One report says that every second kid is sexually or otherwise abused in this country. Shame! Shame! What a mighty fall has been there all around us , my dear future countrymen? Let’s pray for an India—the God Particle we are seeking-- that thinks alike about her commonly shared future and a nation that is absolutely prepared to work shoulder to shoulder towards materializing that national dream. An India where discrimination is unknown: Discrimination and division— both these terms can very well be synonyms for our nation, for it’s been a combo of a temperament for divisiveness and a bias for practicing discrimination that truly defines our people and national policies. Caste community, creed, food consumption habits, sartorial oddities, faith, religious rituals, skin colour, ethnic origins, language, cultural peculiarities – you name it, it helps to divide us but never to unite us! When did we think of ---and also fervently pray for-- a great India that is our homeland, mother land and father land? Never except sometime during the lonely nights! When have we sat together under a tree or in an open space to even discuss how we can overcome the deficiencies we have and to what extent we can take the nation forward before we close our own eyes? Never! When did our Stats moot a proposal to peacefully co exist not as 28 States but as, say, 15 States, after having assimilated smaller entities that struggle to exist? Never! Have we ever bothered to think of the vast common ground that we all share—and which can build upon for a united strong India? Not at all! No clause in our Constitution by which leaders hasten to swear to justify what they do, ever mentions such rampant discrimination as a national policy and assiduously perpetuated till God only knows when. Our people –and elected representatives--are divided hopelessly in interpreting the same things in a hundred thousand different ways and also are passionate in arguing for hours on end to justify their own stance too, with no regard for basic commonsense, reason or logic. They are good at marshalling all kinds of natural and supernatural reasons too, but what have we gained so far through that exercise, pray? Nothing but the nickname “An underachieving over gossipy lackadaisical nation deliberately hiding its potential and not letting its government perform to their needs or satisfaction”![Newsweek,11/2012] An India that is open to innovation: Now that the Centre has conceded the right to decide which areas in a State can be leased out to industrial purposes, and where farming areas are to be maintained for over all food production, it remains for the States to decide whether or not they want to invite multi brand FDI for their further advance and for marketing their farm price at competitive rates. This paradigm shift, which recognizes that a policy of one size fits all won’t do in all States, bodes well for the States since it will end policy paralysis at State level owing to stagnating applications from industries and business houses on the one hand and on the other waste land wont remain disused. Anti retail Bengal is today but it will change if Kolkata is handed over the reins to control the stallion on her own terms. Getting ahead must be our dharma unwaveringly at all times since we can really live only in a far more prosperous India than the one we are having. Conclusion: For India to mutate into a great nation—not necessarily super power—she has to ensure that her people follow the needs of their profession or occupation in letter and spirit. Only then can a God Particle India surface, like another Atlantis, from below us for the benefit of our own posterity! The following traits must thus be cultivated and assiduously nurtured: Patience to learn things thoroughly and master the skills associated with it Forgiveness—not vengeance-- towards the person that has insulted you in some manner[“Dayadhwam”] Self control over inner debasing propensities.[“Damyata”] Unwillingness to take an unfair advantage over one’s fellow men in any way The habit of keeping one’s mind as clean as possible of negative thoughts or emotions and maintaining one’s body in cleanliness at all times. Resistance to temptations of all kinds no matter one’s age. Maintenance of the milk of human kindness through a benevolent intellect that helps a society get regenerated in every way [“Datta”] .A positive approach that stresses knowledge and wisdom at all times—in humanities and science-- rather than illiteracy and ignorance. The habit of telling the truth at all times in preference to even white lies. Resistance to anger, except to stop unholy activities happening around your home. Dear kids, your performance is the only thing that really counts—not your being party cameos. Self discipline is the only thing that delivers you long life. Modern India is impatient for results, petulant to see personal calibre in its leaders and glowering by habit at the human dead wood in whichever positions they have climbed up .It’s not hoaxed by pledges or platitudes, lip service to Gandhi or Nehru or any one for that matter. CERN scientists laboured for many months and consistently to lay their hands on that God Particle--- and similarly we too have to sweat a little to bring our God Particle India to the front door of our homes! Kindly discuss the area that we have covered today together and come again tomorrow! Jai Hind! 11/07/2012 . .
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