Sunday, May 14, 2006

'Skill' drives Business, not 'Reservation'!

Whats all this talk of the Government poking its nose into the private realms, dictating whom to employ and whom not to? Could we have a crazier idea than having reservations in Private organisations? Is this some journey back in time heading for the good old days of stone? Are people in responsible positions in their right senses?
It was a time of fun, that of a cool relaxed, laid back attitude years back when every country had constructed barriers on its borders, virtually creating an illusion in the minds of its citizens that the world comprised just one Nation and no one else ever existed at all! And those days of yore are well past. People even in the remotest of locations are forced to feel the pinch of an undeniable force called 'Competition' from businesses across National borders. Globalisation is no more a buzz word - it's a fact of life and it's a way of living. One is not left with a choice to choose from - You live with it, or you cease to exist!
Companies are becoming acutely aware of this reality and are adapting themselves and mending their ways to rise up to the big occassion. Multi-national deals and collaboration are the norm. And business success spells the success of a Nation - and that of a Government.
But, the Government that represents its citizens in International Forums such as WTO's seems to be getting into the weird habit of forgetting the purpose of its actions, of it existence. These days, 'populistic moves' and 'opportunism' are seen as synonyms when one 'Right-clicks' in the word "Government" on a word document. And that is a disgrace!
The role of the governing body is, well, to govern. Regulating the free market and creating a conducive environment for businesses to succeed is the sole job of politicians, when it comes to its involvement with the corporates. The guys out there are sweating it out to succeed in their endeavours amidst hectic competition, both domestic and international.
So, respected 'Netas', limit yourselves to the job at hand - and you have more than your handsful anyway. Look at what needs to be done to get the society in one piece. Get the infrastructure right. And stop taking bribes. That would do wonders to our Nation. To get into business is none of your business!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Show Cause: Why should you not be Hanged?

They really are having a tough time. Imagine someone having to work round the clock, day in day out! All that would remain with them as spare time would be just enough for them to close their eyes for a while and stretch. They are pressed into action in full force. They have tough deadlines to catch. All of this when the summer has just been turned on by the weather Gods! Imagine the stress, the perspiration, the humidity! But the worst part is, they are never used to doing anything similar - something even remotely similar, or even a fraction of the work load that they have been burdened with!
We are discussing the cursed beings called "Public Servants"! The scene is that of Election preparations and garnering of all the votes that one could. To be fair, the election workers must really be feeling stressed out - for the poor things are not used to working at all for the rest of the time that they exist.
It actually is like the Cricket - the game in its slog overs, to be precise. Batsmen keep taking their own sweet time for the rest of the game, till it's 35+, when they suddenly realise that all that remains is too short a period to save face. Then begins the blast - at full go. Rules are forgotten - "a run is a run is a run" is the mantra - no matter how it comes, as long it keeps coming. The difference between the game in the stadium and the game these benedicts play out in the streets is that, at the end of the former, the crowd gets to cheer if the home team cruises to victory; in the case of the latter, the only people who celebrate are the players. The spectators are left to fend for themselves and count the days till they get a chance to watch another match in five more years - knowing for certain that they are going to end up in the loosing side!
In all these years of cheating the public for your own cheap benefits, what have you contributed after all, to the society? How do you muster the courage to face the electorate again, despite the dismal performance for the past five years? Do you really feel that closing your own eyes and suppressing your consciences to suffocation would make the public not realise the effects of your dirty deeds? Election after election, you go street by street, pleading for votes. You shout, you scream, you drive all traces of tranquility off the air! What have your achievements been? Dirty roads, beggars and hunger stricken kids on their sides, broken pavements, villages so remotely cut off from the mainlands that they look gruesome, like the remnants of a pre-historic age, schools with no ceilings . . . is this what you could do in all these years of your "Public Service"?
Here you are, all set to beg for votes again that would make you rich and leave you enjoying the fruits of power, gleefully oblivious of the very purpose that you find yourselves where you are for! Don't you think it's time you all committed mass suicide on stage, for all the crimes that you have committed, that you are yet to commit? If you have the guts to arrest peaceful protestors on charges of "Attempted suicide", how many times would you have to be hanged on counts of Hoemicide and Breach of Trust of billions?
Mend your ways - or don't show your faces the next time you gear up for the next begging spree - the roadside kid may spit into your face!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Opportunity Lost

It always is a safe route to advise others - and keep advising others. It gets better if one could find the position that authorises one to dole out advices. The best is when one is awarded with the authority to advise by Mother Nature herself; or so is one tempted to believe as one's hair turns grey and the head, bald.
By no means am I to demean the elders. With all due respect to the leaders in my life, I salute the elders who are responsible for what I am this day. They showed me the way; they pointed out the flaws in my making; they stopped me when I was supposed to; they chided me when I lazed about. Courtesy, respect, sacrifice . . . and all of those virtues were introduced to me by elders in my life - as would be the case with most, I guess.
So, my objection is not towards elders; I have no antagonism against advises either. I admire and have tried to emulate some of the great aspects that I have fould in different people. I have always felt inspired in their presence.
But, is too much emphasis being placed on the responsibility of youngsters, too much cynicism being showered on the their attitudes while the lack of action on the part of elders is being condoned, conveniently? If we choose to generalise a generation or two that preceded mine, how well have they fared in showing the youth, the right path to travel?
I happened to travel by train a few days ago. There was a group of men returning home from the day's work. Talks were on of their impending retirement, their son's marriage, the house that was being built, of office politics and some of local politics. It was more than an hour of commuting; and I could make out that they were a regular gang that used to make their ways to their offices and back home on the same route. I had no idea where they worked - but somehow, their lethargic attitudes made me think they were government employees.
How many of such gangs move about the various cities of India? How many man hours would have been spent on such or worse idle talks? Is anything constructive at all being discussed by these responsible gentlemen/ women? As the saying goes, "A lot could happen over coffee" . . . a lot more could happen when experienced heads put their thinking caps on and spare a thought or two about our Nation and what could be done about the state of affairs!
Of course, elderly travellers always make it a point to rue over the irresponsible behaviour of students when they commute to their schools/ colleges. Aren't the behaviour of the elders irresponsible as well? Responsibility is relative and not absolute.
As it so happened, just as I walked past the group of old men to alight at my destination, I could see what a mess that they had made of the wagon with the fruits and nuts that they had consumed in the course of their missions. No wonder some youngsters feel lost; and 'Legacy' is not an accident - it is intentional!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

We, the Donkeys

Days turn into months, months into years and years dribble into eternity. Lives of those who seek justice and wait anxiously for the word from the ultimate Institution of Justice seem to have gone all awry, twisted by the queer turns of fate, crushed beyond recognition by the grinds of time, with the faint glimmer of hope all set to fade away. Those are souls that go through the horrors on a day to day basis, in different parts of the geographical divides, under unrelated circumstances – hence, they never make it to the news.

The Institution of Justice in focus is the Court of Law, where piles of pending files know no bounds. Reasons abound for the tepid pace in dispersal of justice. Judgements are based on solid witnesses that are verified; and verdicts written in stone, indelibly marked in History, need to be spelt out with caution. The Prosecution and the Defendant play with words, create alibis, allude towards scenarios, paint new pictures and colour them garishly with the brushes of imagination. The powers of money, position, society, all play roles in cases that are born, brought up, fought for, buried and laid to rest within the walls of the court room. And the guiding principle, amidst this entire ruckus, is “Justice for all”! To see through the masks, enliven the principle and make people breathe again with all of one’s sagacity is the trick that needs to be mastered by the Judge, every time.

That was the theory with the practicalities involved. Still, it remains just the theory. In all earnestness, to be a Judge in a Court of Law is to play God! The Judge has the discretion to either send the man back to life or to banish him to the cells of hell. The Judiciary plays the role of sanitising the society. That’s no job but is social service!

If the court is sacrosanct, if judges are to be revered, if justice is always to be served, why are judgements being overruled? If the number of pending cases indeed reflects the strenuous search for the hidden truth, how can the divine words pronounced from the Halls of the wise men be proved otherwise?

A recent verdict in one of the District Courts has been overruled and the sentenced has been set free by the higher designate. The accused was charged with rape and murder and was awarded with Life imprisonment. The sentence was appealed against in the High Court and was negated there, setting the prisoner free!

There is only one question here: Who is crazy? We do have some options to decide from – Judge 1, who sentenced an innocent man to Life Term imprisonment; Judge 2, who released a dangerous prisoner into the society; We, the people!

That we are dumb was diagnosed long back by the social doctors who got Power as the fees for their diagnosis. But, how can a Judge be crazy? What has happened here is termed, in judicial jargon, “Contempt of Court”! Can the High Court be charged with ‘Contempt of Court’ for releasing a criminal attested by the District Court? Or, can charges be levelled against the District Court for doing grave injustice to the guiding principles of our judiciary – “Justice for all”, by sentencing an innocent for life? What would the judgement be, if the case is given a fresh lease of life in the Supreme Court? Once a judgement is pronounced at any court, should it not be taken as the final word? Ought not a wrong judgement to be penalised?
The one question does give rise to a series of questions. Not every question would be answered, not every one would be comfortable being questioned. But, this is not a matter of an isolated incident. Every verdict can be appealed against; and with every judgement that counters another, we have a statement that labels someone, an ass!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Harnessing the Power of "I"

When things get as bad as they possibly ever can, there arises a need for a complete overhaul. Anything short of that would address the symptoms, leaving the disease intact. That brings into focus, a phenomenon called ‘Revolution’

The last time one gave some serious thought about ‘Revolution’ must have been during India’s struggle for freedom from the imperialist regime. It was a phenomenal uprising that resounded in the one call for the British to leave. There was force, there was focus, and there was momentum. And the upsurge was strong enough to dethrone an empire.

However, that force took years to grow strong enough to rock the foundations of a well-heeled system. Brown skins had been conditioned to submit to authority; for some, it was a question of survival, for the rest, it was the key for social status among the natives. Religion and caste were obsessions for the Indians; they were in their blood right from their birth and they could not see themselves compromise on their positions in the caste hierarchies. With the cultural differences came rituals and practices; and they saw no reason to merge. Indians announced their linguistic origins with pride, making the divisions thicker and more visible. People identified themselves with the regions they belonged to, a norm that could be attributed to the numerous provinces and their rulers who wanted to safeguard their own territories and see them expand. The ground was just fertile for the British to exploit. Atrocities were committed in large scale, the poor suppressed and the weak eliminated. “Divide and Rule” might have been their explicit policy; but all that they had to do was to rule – the Nation was already divided on numerous counts!

To overcome all these factors and lead the Nation to Independence was Mission Impossible! But our leaders were capable and they made it happen. They had a vision in their minds, conviction in their cause and the enemy was out there, all over the vast country. They had to mobilise people, target him and blow him away. How they went about doing it is history.

In the 58 years since the British left, the country is still divided on the very lines that let the foreigners rule over it. Only the oppressors have mutated into a whole new genre of malice. This new syndrome is multi-faceted, has adapted itself to the nuances of the new world and is emerging a lot stronger than what most would suspect of it.

The wound of partition is still fresh, bleeding every time it is ruptured; prospects of a long term solution are out of sight in the near term. Inter state disputes on basic issues such as dams and rivers are still the order of the day. Income disparity keeps widening, with the wealthy getting wealthier, the middle class getting richer, and the poor spending nights under the sky. Globalisation has led to new opportunities that promise to make life a breeze for the millions stepping into the work force, with western life styles reaching out to the aspiring youth who are in frenzy about making the most of their lives that are ‘too short to waste’. Corruption is increasingly being looked upon as a way of life, as long as it doesn’t come under media glare. The powerful assume no limits to themselves and are gleefully oblivious of the purpose that they are where they are for. Infrastructural issues continue to haunt the nation and hamper the way business is done. Well meaning people who try to make some difference to the state of affairs are targeted in the name of 'representatives of the masses'. Politics is being branded a dirty game; people no longer look upon politics as a means to bring about change. Coalition politics is the norm that comes packaged with its own constraints.

Complacency is all about relaxing a bit too long after an achievement; it’s just been carried too far in India - way too far. People seem to have got used to the patterns associated with it. And the cumulative effect of the trends is far more dangerous than the threats posed by the occupying forces from the United Kingdom were, half a century ago. At least, then, we had a power at the Centre that had its fundamentals right so that it could work on governance rather than bother about infighting. Now, the enemies lie within and are very much intangible!

Revolution starts with the Individual. Living life to one’s satisfaction is all okay; but relinquishing one’s responsibility towards the society that one belongs to is crime – more so, when the very society is in dire need of all the support one can muster. When the task ahead is Mission Impossible-2, it takes a lot more super heroes. We’ve read a lot about revolutions – it’s high time we chose to be part of it!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Why we are not there yet!

When every Indian child can celebrate life, smiling this way
With rural standards as high as that of the urban dweller
When the demon stands beheaded and evil washed away
We will proudly declare our Nation, a “Super Power”!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Massacre by Gentlemen: Kashmir

It is disheartening to see the way things are moving in Jammu & Kashmir. One website aptly threw the question for vote by the public - "The current distressing situation in the Earthquake hit areas is a result of - a. Natural disaster b. Man-made disaster".

There needs to be a fundamental rethinking done on the way we go about doing things. We sometimes get so used to the system we are in, that we never get to sense things when everything's gone awry. There are so many impulses bombarding our senses simultaneously from all directions that we fail to pick the grave ones up.

How else would we explain it, when people in power are busy knocking out the modalities of transfers of power in a State, rather than going all out putting things back in order after the massive tremors struck? When the Chief Minister states that it was a "gentleman's agreement" and it would be taken care of, he definitely is not talking of the implied agreement made between the State Machinery and the electorate at the time of the elections that put him in the seat. The parties involved are discussing the change of ministries, as per the despicable haggles in the concept called "Power sharing agreements". Commentators and the public have left it at the discretion of the Power Centres to decide whether to go ahead as was scheduled or continue with the present ministry, reacting to the exigencies of the situation. The person lying beneath the rubbles, the one who moans the devastation of his family, the child rendered destitute, the mother who has got her limbs amputated, the elderly patients who spend their nights out in the cold with no shelters, none of them would give a damn about whether the 'Gentleman's agreement' is honoured or not! The fact is that the Government which they thought would support them in the hour of need, is pre-occupied in embellishing their offices for a few new faces all set to enjoy the hearth.

The Deputy Chief Minister of Kashmir is on record stating that there are just 3 companies making tents in India! And he has something to say about placing orders! Excuse me! Is he talking of tents for some private party? Does he mean to go about visiting those 3 tent manufacturers and take a catalogue to place orders? Is it possible that there can be just 3 manufacturers of a commodity in a country as vast as India is? It just plainly underlines that fact that people who are supposedly holding positions of responsibility have resigned to fate - not their fate, but the fates of the thousands who are left stranded! If that is going to be your stance, do we need someone in power at all?

One click in the net gives us the list of tent exporters in India. And the list definitely seems to be more than 3! Is this the sort of (mis)information that one would expect from a Deputy Chief Minister of a State? Alright, he has said there are 3 manufacturers. How many of the 3 have been contacted by him/ his Party/ his Government?

The Government is nothing but a group of people sitting merrily out there, supposed to serve the rest. This group of people is supposed to be having the database ready, and is expected to move swiftly into action the moment something on this scale happens. Government was not supposed to be about self-preservation or about resignation to fate. People who participate in public life need no special privileges, if the only thing they are efficient at is on the ways of keeping their positions safe - be it through hard core politics or through any 'Gentleman's agreement'.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Licence to Kill

It’s not a fad. It’s not even a trend. It seems to have got deep seated in the brains of people - many people, should I say? It has become a part of their personality. It manifests itself in the form of their outlook. And they consider themselves above the 'rest of the crowd' when they make statements!

That’s the shabby reality of the people here (many people, I stress). Money does not differentiate people. Social status is just the garb. Poverty is no stigma. Corruption is omni-present - in every corner of the world. Hunger for power is not peculiar to any set of human beings. Even the noblest of souls struggle to eradicate ego. Terrorism thrives in any environment. Injustices prevail everywhere. Freedom is crushed in any society. Sex trade is the staple business in many parts of the globe.
Why then, should anyone carp on these, when it’s one's own country that is affected? What makes one pine and whine that our country is beyond repair? Why do people make a fashionable statement out of the dark realities of the society? How mean could one be, to complain of one's own home and do nothing about it at all? How can one make fun of one's own burning house?
Let's stop thinking that India is incorrigible. Let’s not fool ourselves into believing that India is corrupt to the core. To hell with the rankings on corruption - no one is big enough to judge a society that has all the riches of a dream civilisation. No one needs to prove anything to anyone at all; can you justify your acts to your own self? What have you done to drive the evils out, which haunt us? If you find something rotten, clean it up. If you find filth in your country, it reflects you and no one else! There is no demarcation between your country and you. India is an extension of every Indian - and it’s your body that the parasites are feasting upon!
If your face shows even a trace of smile the next time you mention of the defects in India, you do not deserve to live any longer!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

We have empathised with our neighbours and have been noble in our intentions in the wake of the disastrous tremors in Kashmir. It is indeed a gesture of enormous goodwill that we have offered assistance to Pakistan in whichever way they may find fit. We have set our rivalry apart and have demonstrated that opportunism has no part to play in human compassion.
However, how prepared are we, if and when a similar disaster strikes India this day? Are we equipped to deal with a catastrophe? Is our disaster-recovery machinery well-oiled and maintained to meet any contingency? Do we have the resources and the network to react, if a disaster strikes at this very moment?
The nation gets together and pours help through whichever channel is available whenever pushed into action after a calamity. In a matter of a couple of days or three, money and material would have been offered in surplus of what is necessary. There are just a couple of issues to be addressed:
1. With the material available, the problem remains of the infrastructure and the modalities of making help available to the victims.
2. Two or three days may not be as simple as it sounds now. Two days is a period when families are bereaved of their loved ones; when those in distress lose their hope and give in to destiny; two days can mark the end of the world for thousands.
If those two days can be removed from the scene of the disaster, it would mean the difference between life and death. If those two days can be sufficient for the nation to accumulate the resources necessary, we do not have to wait for a disaster to strike before we have them ready.
Not everyone would be moved to give things when it really is not pressing to do so.
It is here, Mr Prime Minister, that we would like you to take the initiative. We want you to conceive of a campaign that drives the value of '48 hours' home. We want you to oversee the campaign that culminates in Day 1 and Day 2, where the country sees a "virtual catastrophe" when one is yet to occur. If the government machinery can be driven towards such an effort, if people can be motivated towards building up a "Strategic Disaster Relief Resource Reserve", and if you personally take the initiative, the two days would see massive resources - money and material - get together that would be more than sufficient to tide over any conceivable disaster.
Further, Mr. Prime Minister, if you yourself can head the National Disaster Management Programme and make sure that the network is in place, the people trained, equipment maintained and resources strategically positioned across the country, just the way the military is always in a state of alert at the borders, managing any strike by the nature can be a breeze.
We will then be able to set an example to the rest of the world and boast of being a country that is truly indigenous, when it comes to Disaster Management.
You hold the honours of having lifted legions out of poverty through your economic policies. It is now your chance, Mr Prime Minister, to lift a lot more of them out of misery, even before it strikes. Thank you.
Citizens of our Nation.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Obliquely Straight

It does baffle me when responsible people in responsible posts exhibit behaviour that I believe, is irresponsible.
What would you expect to happen in the following scenario?

With evidence loaded against him, X is sentenced for an imprisonment of 10 years by the High Court. X appeals against the order in the Supreme Court. When X has already gone through a year's sentence, the Supreme Court finds new evidence in favour of X and pronounces X innocent.
Would you not, in this case, expect X to be released immediately? But, there comes a twist.
The Supreme Court says, since X has already been for a year in prison and since X is still in prison, let X spend the remaining years of the sentence in prison. That is, though the Supreme Court over rules the High Court, though it, in effect, says that the High Court is wrong to have put X behind bars, it still says X can go on in jail, now that X is in jail anyway!

If the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly was unlawful, if the Cabinet or the Governor or any other scapegoat was wrong in trashing a democratic verdict, then, it should be a matter of the least botheration whether elections are underway or not. The fact is that some people in power committed a crime and they should be brought to justice. Even if every preparation for the elections is over, even if elections are to be held this day, they ought to be cancelled and the party thrown out of power must be brought back.
I find it strange that every lawyer, every politician, every judge and every commentator talks of the verdict expected in the coming elections when the Supreme Court has annulled the prescription of the Governor in the first place - where does another election figure in the picture here?
I am not an Accountant; but for some reason, the term "Sunk Costs" keeps ringing in my ears. There is enough drama going on in this country - let's not add further mockery to it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Worst Organisations

"You get into public life to better someone else's life - not your own. "

Nice words these are, by Vijay Amritraj. They leave no ambiguity as for the substance of Public Life; its sad, however, that it has come to signify a Utopian scenario, rather than the normal walks of life.
Talking of the 'substance' of public life, what we see these days are the haggles and scrambles in places supposed to be the centres of power and the hubs of activities. Should I say, a total disorientation and a complete lack of strategy? When one finds oneself in the Parliament or the Legislative Assembly, the Representative can only be expected to take some time before he/she comes to the grips of what's going on around. Faced with huge responsibilities, loads of data and a total chaos for ambience, organising oneself can be a daunting task, let alone doing something productive.
"What are the roles and responsibilities? What is the job description? Who am I reporting to? What is the order of priority among the scores of issues? What is at stake? What is the law? How will my argument be evaluated? . . . " These could be a few questions facing a Representative who's just joined the Parliament. Doesn't he need an orientation?
How about framing a few rules of conduct, in the first place, and enforcing them? To begin with, introducing the position of the 'speaker' to the members and explaining who he is, why he is there and how he is supposed to be treated? I suppose there is a 'leader' of the ruling party and a 'leader' of the Opposition. How about making sure that they are the two people who can bring issues forward and the rest are not supposed to clap or thud or boo(ze) when either of them talks? Of course, they do not have to have their fingers on their lips, but might just as well be instructed to remain silent. I wonder if anyone in a corporate meeting room would exhibit any sort of misdemeanour while at the discussion tables. And definitely, the members may be taught of the dangers of plunging right into the 'well'.
The numbers in the Parliament are overwhelming! Are they being broken into Teams to discuss issues? Do the parties apprise the members of the 'agendas' that are to be brought to the table and expect the 'teams' to bring in perspectives, before they go to the Parliament? Does every person inside the nice, spacious room know what is happening in there?
When people get together to discuss matters of lives and deaths of a billion people, the first thing to be expected of them is to get themselves organised. Would any private organisation dare to adapt the structure in the Parliament for its Sales Meeting? Are we not being crazy to let this happen for so long?
Political parties are organisations - and they are supposed to be organised. Garnering a specified number of votes must not be the only criterion for parties to make it to the Chair. They have to prove that they can be productive, that they have a working organisational structure with proper hierarchies in place, that they can come up with new ideas, that they have the structures to generate ideas from every person in the organisation, that there is complete freedom of expression, and that the functioning of the parties that get to run a democracy are, indeed democratic. We do not need a group of people in the Parliament, who when left to themselves with their present structure and resources in the corporate world, would not even be able to raise a single Rupee from shares in the market or turn a paisa in profits.

Monday, October 03, 2005

When the Spine turns Vestigeal

The first time one hears of a murder, one is shocked. The next time one hears of a slaughter of a dozen, one may be awe-struck. The third time, it may take a massacre to move the person - anything short of that might be just news.
We witness a similar situation now. Rapes in trains, cars and temples are nothing more than pieces of news. For the media, they are sensational news - flashed all over, generating more revenue, more web hits. However, the implications for the society are grave. People are getting used to it, becoming immune to its impact and taking it in their stride!
How many of the news papers and the media have carried an incident of rape on the front pages all the way till the culprit is caught and prosecuted? Which website has gone the extra mile in covering the news, garnering public voices and making sure that the criminals are brought to justice? Have we become so dumb and numb that we cave in meekly to the atrocities to be mere spectators and nothing more?
If rapes are becoming more and more common, if women are increasingly vulnerable to these assaults and if some bastards have developed the audacity to commit such crimes repeatedly and increasingly in public places and in broad day light, it is the Government's indifference to the crimes against women and the media's negligence of its responsibility that are to be held accountable. Laws are not for punishing after the crime is committed - they are supposed to thwart them in the first place. If the present laws are not strong enough to make criminals hesitate, trash them and get new ones that work!
I challenge the media, any one in the media, to take any of the recently reported series of rapes on its front pages in highlighted boxes till the day the case is closed and the criminals are sent behind bars. That, and only that, will make people listen and think. Flashing the news for a day and moving on to the next victim will only make the public insensitive to the issue and encourage the voyeur to get more practical. For once, let us think beyond money and business!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Not the Mirror - Not Now!

It is nice and warm to be at the hearth when the whole environment is pitch dark and cold.
We invented the 'zero'; imagine a world without zero, especially in this age of 0 and 1! We are a land of great people and 'Avatars'. We had the valour to win over the mighty Empire and drive them out. NASA is what it is because of our brains. The most dazzling diamond found out here is capable of buying out a couple of Nations!
When it is nice and warm at the hearth, it implies that the environment is icy cold!
Let us not fool ourselves with all these cliché’s. It doesn’t take an intellectual to point out to us where we really are. We are getting used to protecting ourselves with the shields of our past laurels; it's too dangerous an exercise - the past is already 'past' and what remains is just the trace of it. It can only provide an illusion of safety - when the rest of the world is moving fast ahead.
Let's not talk of "our 7% GDP growth when Europe toils in 1% and 2%" - growth percentages are gruesomely misleading when we do not consider the relative positions from where we grow. Our problems at hand are too obvious to be listed down - they are to be acted upon. The more time we spend looking in the mirror in a speeding car, reflecting our past, the more do we lose our focus on the present and the future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

All in the game

It is India's religion. It is a force that can bring people together. It unites and makes them rise in one voice.
No prizes for guessing what that is about - Cricket. And this phenomenon is in shambles. The country witnesses the worst crisis that the game has ever been in. The board is at cross roads. The captain and the coach are at war. The vision and the very purpose behind the Board are being questioned. What's more, the 2007 World Cup is approaching fast in, you guessed it, 2007!
Hold it folks! Enough of all the hype. The issue has been getting more than its share of the media glare. Shall we get down to earth?
Cricket is a game. Period. Eleven men dress up, fight it out with another set of eleven, and either win or mostly lose - before they dress up again. They endorse brands, smile in the media, go touring round the globe, build up their egos, fight for their slots in the team - and also play. Cricket is their profession - just like Medicine, Engineering, Sales . . . you name it. Of course, no one would be prepared to watch a Doctor or an Engineer on the screen for as long as they would be, to watch these guys. Naturally, companies pour their budgets on them.
Apart from the eleven players and perhaps the coach and the Board members, cricket doesn’t decide the destiny of anyone. (It has given rise to a new breed - the Bookies - that makes money out of people and makes fools out of fans). Cricket satisfies the need for entertainment - just as Movies and soap operas do. Cricket takes up the major chunk of sponsorship - and leaves the talents of other forms of sport in the lurch.
Cricket is nothing more than a game - and what goes on at the moment is an exercise to prove that politics is omni-present. There are a few people who have their destinies tied to the game - let's leave the job to them to sort themselves out of the mess and get on with their lives.
Traditionally, there are spaces allotted in the media for sports - let's try to keep cricket where it belongs and have the front pages filled with some useful stuff instead.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Authors of Destiny

The anxiety of Mr Cho Ramaswamy, the veteran political commentator, towards India becoming a model Democracy was understandable. However, he seemed to have jumped the gun when he suggested that Democracy was ailing the nation and the solution to fixing the woes of India was in a temporary 'Emergency' being declared - something akin to the ''shock treatment''.
The solution is too simple to be plausible or practical. Cho. has a point there, though. Democracy lets anyone walk out, anywhere, any time. Union workers, lawyers, doctors, Honourable Members of the Parliament . . . they all can choose to shut down their systems and go on strike, at their whims and fancies. Whether their claims are right or wrong is secondary - the fact is, that the implications of their actions are being felt by the weak and the hapless, those who are totally unrelated to any aspect associated with the strike.
But the solution doesn't lie in bringing in an Autocratic system that bans the freedom to protest outright, even if it is a temporary measure. Who would choose such a system? Who decides on its rights and tenure? How can such a system be trusted upon? And even if we answer these questions, would we then not have to rename our Nation from India to some “..istan”?
Temptations to come up with a 'Quick fix' for chronic ailments ought to be resisted. The patience and perseverance needed to "fight the system while staying in the system" have to be developed. We can not hope to change the course of a Nation's destiny on its head, in a matter of months.
What India faces now is not an aggression or suppression as it did in History - it suffers from Cancer; and its population is gleefully oblivious of the fact. Shock treatments may work in cases of external exigencies - not when the enemy is within. The results of short-cuts are bound to be short-lived!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Re-branding and a New Logo

We don’t blame just them.
It's their way of life - that they pose for snaps in the slums, whenever they pay a visit here. They are so used to it - that they want to be in the news and be seen all time. They are rich and wealthy - that they want to highlight it with their supercilious attitude.
We look upon them with awe - that their lifestyle is advanced and are glib in their language. We dig ourselves in the inferiority hole - that they are fairer, richer, taller. The media wants cover photos - that they adorn them with garlands and place them among hapless kids.
They are most welcome to tour around. But, let them not think we stoop down to beg. Its been years since we were divided and were ruled over. Its been centuries since our wealth went on to adorn their crowns. It’s time to face the new realities.
We are in the process of re-designing our Logo. Once we are done with it, they are bound to know.
Till then, we just don’t blame them.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Weighted Voting

Why should the knowledgeable, socially responsible citizen be having just the same say over matters of National interests as a raw human being who doesnt care to think beyond himself/ herself?

Accepted standards are available in the forms of Bhushans and Vibhushans and Ratnas. Why waste them? Why not incorporate more of those into the system? Its not about education. It is by no means about social status. It has nothing to do with personal wealth. Its just about a way to measure social awareness, sensitivities to issues that affect the common man, service to the society, contribution to the Nation. Its about selfless behaviour.
Set a system up and running that identifies people, recognises their efforts and awards them extra voting rights!

Friday, September 16, 2005


"The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems"

These words, by the Mahatma, sum up the world today - or the world, rather, as it has ever been! This is a statement that reflects the past, the present and the future. We failed to do what we were capable of doing - we ended up with the problems of today! But today's problems can be solved - because, we are capable of doing what it takes! As they say, Strategy is the bridge between where we are and where we want to be.
The statement, however, poses as much of a question as it spells out the solution. The toughest of it all - "What are we capable of doing?" In simple words, that is, "Who am I?"
If you find a common thread that runs through Philanthropy, Philosophy and Management, it is no mere coincidence!