Monday, February 20, 2017

Why We Say No To aadhar

No one could have said it better about demonetization than the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen; he said: “Telling the public suddenly that the promissory notes you have, do not promise anything with certainty, is a more complex manifestation of authoritarianism, allegedly justified — or so the government claims — because some of these notes, held by some crooked people, involve black money. At one stroke, the move declares all Indians — indeed all holders of Indian currency — as possibly crooks, unless they can establish they are not.

There runs a parallel between this attitude and the attitude shown by the government which has joined hands with the corporate world to declare that a biometric measure - usually used to profile crooks, criminals and terrorists elsewhere - may be used and often forced to profile and account every single citizen of an entire nation. 

Despite the Highest Court in the country - the Supreme Court - ruling that the infamous aadhar card cannot be made mandatory or demanded in offer to services that cannot be restricted, reserved or reprimanded otherwise, Nandan Nilekani seems to be using all his tactics to push, pressurize and use all his manipulative tactics - including one stunt where free sim cards were offered if one presented the aadhar card - to make citizens bend, stretch and break into having the aadhar card - almost forcing his idea up the throat of every Indian. Though the democratic rights of every Indian - further reinstated by the judiciary and promoted by the media - attempts to protect citizens from this exploitation, government machineries - including educational institutions, employment bureaus and even services offered by public as well as private agencies, have been convinced to demand the aadhar through various means by giving people no other option. This makes me wonder how the country was running so far without this card(?!) Is it not one's right to decide whether to own or NOT TO OWN something? Is Nandan Nilekani and his associates above the law in this country at the moment?

The Ten Reasons Why Not To Own the aadhar:

  1. Under the Citizenship Rules of 2003 it is the Registrar General of India who has to maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens and issue National ID cards. (And not Infosys, Nilekani or his unwelcomed allied associates)
  2. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Aadhaar card has rejected the Aadhaar exercise. There is no legal sanction or budgetary sanction
  3. Aadhaar does not guarantee anything. It merely becomes yet another obstacle in obtaining services from the government. (Now a new excuse and comfortable justification for red-tapism in the government machinery)
  4. Enrolment agencies, sub-registrars, registrars and UIDAI have no legal liability for any theft, fraud, crime, and compromise of your security or privacy that may be perpetuated through Aadhaar
  5. The use of Aadhaar by various agencies will now expose all your IDs, information, properties, entitlements etc. to misuse in one go thus exposing you to unprecedented risk
  6. Money transfers from Aadhaar accounts will not be audited if there is less than Rs10 lakh transferred in a year. This means subsidy, bribes and black money may go to shell accounts that may never be traced! 
  7. (Risk further multiplies when you get to know that...) Your money can be moved from Aadhaar-to-Aadhaar electronically without your knowledge
  8. You have neither control on who uses your Aadhaar nor any way to know or verify its use by anyone
  9. Your entire data and biometric is handled by non-Indian companies :)
  10. "In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the  fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar Card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant." - Supreme Court Order in WP 494 of 2012 on September 23rd 2013

Today I get to read that a majority of Indians own the aadhar - at times, numbers that show more aadhar holders than the population of the state it represents - these statistical anomalies that eventually reveal more than it tries to hide among these dubious claims. Even if considered true, a majority having successfully fallen into the trap in this bargain, does not give anyone the right to ask those who haven't, "Why not you too?" Further, this also definitely does not mean that the thousands of Lawyers, Social Workers, Professors, even previous Government Staff and other (very few) people who still maintain their sense to think and have decided not to have this silly card are in anyway less and careless fools.
Like the illustrious Annadhurai, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, once said in defiance to accept Hindi as the national language when pushed by the majority of the topied North-Indian babus in the parliament, "Just because it is the majority does not mean that it is right. If one were to go just by majority, then the crow instead of the peacock must have been India's National Bird... isn't it?" There is still space in this majorly confused world that a minority can still be sane though profane.
And after reading all this, you (if you still) have the nerve to think that you are smarter than me by owning an aadhar(?!) Well my friend, the fact of the matter is that now the card own you more than your assumption that you own it...

Here are some more interesting media pages that reaffirm why the aadhar is never as mandatory as we are made to believe if you would like to explore:
   
Aadhar card not mandatory, rules Supreme Court
IndiaToday.in, New Delhi, August 11, 2015 | UPDATED 16:26 IST
The court also ruled that the information obtained through UID can not be shared for any other purpose except for criminal investigation and that too with the court's approval.
In a major judgment, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Aadhar card can be used for availing government schemes, but it is not necessary. The court has also asked the government to give widespread publicity through various media that Aadhar is not mandatory.
In its ruling, the court said Aadhar can be used for Public Distribution Schemes (PDS) foodgrains, kerosene and LPG, but it was not mandatory to avail the benefits of such schemes. The court also ruled that the information obtained through Unique Identification D can not be shared for any other purpose except for criminal investigation and that too with the court's approval.

Supreme Court demolishes Aadhaar card: Judges rule card NOT mandatory for government subsidies 
in Dail Mail by Harish V Nair
Former Infosys honcho Nandan Nilekani may be hoping for a great political start, but the future of his pet project, Aadhaar, which cost Rs 3,494 crore till September last year, looks quite bleak
Former Infosys honcho Nandan Nilekani may be hoping for a great political start, but the future of his pet project, Aadhaar, which cost Rs 3,494 crore till September last year, looks quite bleak
This is one card game the government looks set to lose.
The highest court in the land on Monday pulled out the foundations from under the United Progressive Alliance government's flagship Aadhaar scheme, directing the Centre to immediately withdraw instructions that make the cards mandatory for availing government schemes or subsidies. 
No less significant was the fact that the court directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) not to share biometric or other personal information with anyone without the permission of the cardholder. 


Do You Need Aadhaar Card? Govt Says Yes, Supreme Court Says No
Business Insider by SANGHAMITRA MANDAL

How many IDs must one have before the Indian authorities are appeased? My apologies to Bob Dylan, but the Supreme Court's ruling on Aadhaar Card once again highlights how we tend to lose our vision and put in efforts where it is not needed. 
Only yesterday, the apex court ruled that the Aadhaar Card is not mandatory to get government benefits and services. The interim order was passed after a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court filed public interest litigation (PIL) as some of the state governments like Maharashtra are mandating the Aadhaar Card as a compulsory requirement without the Parliamentary sanction. 
The National Identity Authority of India Bill was introduced in 2010 but it was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee a year later. Till date, our understanding has been that Aadhaar is voluntary in nature and has a different purpose altogether. So the sudden attempt at the Orwellian-style imposition is a bit scary. After all, many of us already have Voter ID cards, PAN cards, passports and driving licences. So why do we need yet another compulsory validation? Aadhaar should be the prerogative of the under-served India living on the edge while the rest of the country can adopt it at its own pace. The macro vision should not be lost either - we need a nationwide social security network and unique identity numbers must be generated to leverage its benefits. 
Launched by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the chief purpose of the Aadhaar scheme is to ensure a broad economic inclusion, not enjoyed by millions. Considering the vast Indian population outside the immediate administrative radar and living below the poverty line, it makes sense to have an all-purpose identity proof - a pass key to the direct benefits transfer (DBT) scheme. According to the central government, Aadhaar has been launched to "promote inclusion and benefits of the marginalised sections of the society that has no formal identity proof" and Aadhaar-enabled service delivery is linked to various government schemes such as scholarship, pension, janani suraksha yojana , payment of social security benefits, distribution of LPG subsidy and more. But we have not progressed very far as things can only move slowly in a vast and thickly populated country like India. Once the permanent enrolment centres come up all over the country, the 'inclusion' will happen fast. 
But there is another hitch. The Supreme Court is of the opinion that the use of Aadhaar should not be made mandatory as illegal immigrants may leverage it to legitimise their status. Here is one observation, though. Aadhaar is just an identity proof, not a citizenship proof like a Voter ID card. So when the Aadhaar mapping is completed, a second and more stringent level of scrutiny should weed out that problem. 
However, one must remember that the consent of an individual is indispensable for Aadhaar. Unlike a Voter ID or a PAN card, one is under no legal obligation to get an Aadhaar Card. Therefore, the sudden and forceful implementation may actually violate one's Fundamental Rights. Also, a lot of people don't want to opt for it as they are not too sure if their biometric data (required for Aadhaar Card) will be secure with third party service providers. So the best way ahead will be priority-based adoption and gradual inclusion of the entire country. But how long it will take to reach that goal is anybody's guess.

Adhaar Card Not Mandatory, Supreme Court Rules
NDTV by Divyanshu Dutta Roy 
The Supreme Court said the government will now have to publicise widely that the Aadhaar card was not mandatory.
NEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court today said that the Aadhaar unique identity system will not be compulsory for Indian citizens to benefit from government services.
Hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar as a compulsory system to receive government subsidies and services, a constitution bench of the top court ruled against the government.
The government had contended that the biometric-based system of unique identification was an essential tool to ensure transparency in its services.
Rejecting the government's plea, the Supreme Court said it will now have to publicise widely that the Aadhaar card was not mandatory.
It also ruled that no authority shall seek Aadhaar cards from citizens to accord any services. However, on the discretion of the card-owner, it can be used for availing the subsidies in the public distribution system, gas cylinders and purchasing kerosene.
The biometric data collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India cannot be used for any other purpose except in criminal investigations with the permission of the court, the judges said.
Amid concerns of private contractors hired for collecting biometric data, the court said the data will have to be safely retained only by the government.
The use of the Aadhaar as a mandatory system by several states and the Centre had been challenged in the court by retired High Court Judge K Puttasaamy the Centre for Public Interest Litigation.



Monday, February 13, 2017

Possessive Parents And Their (Slave) Boys

'I don'no... what if she can't get along with my family,' 'what if she and my mom have a fight,' 'I dun'no... what if she can't adjust with my folks; and I have to make a decision between the two(?!) What will I do?' '... that's why my mom insists on searching for a girl from the same religion and caste for me, you see.' 
... These are doubts that I get to hear from 30 (plus) year old grown-up, soon-to-be married, eligible bachelors who are at the (arranged) marriage prowl these days. I was puzzled at first to hear and see so much of reservations and considerations that at times I wondered if these were just excuses to delay their marriage - probably because they were in a relationship that they couldn't reveal then. 
Seems like I was wrong until lately I discovered that these fellows who reserve their choices in their never-ending tireless quest for finding that perfect woman, found issues not in these poor unknown women they met but incidentally knew the unwelcome and hostile conditions that prevailed in their own homes way too well. These were fellows who were not confident of their own families and in that forage, attempt to find fault with other's, their families and ultimately end up questioning the other's upbringing - at a time when they should be questioning their own. Cognitive dissonance at its best.

I pity these midnight's children seeking brides or at least who seem to be enjoying the drama of bride-showcasing that seems to happen once in a while - when clueless parents parade their daughters before these boys and their parents only to soon hear that those paraded grapes are sour. These are hair-receding, pot-belly bulging, confused Indian boys stuck with their parents often out on this social exercise hunting for girls - who get to see water, water everywhere yet know that they will get not a drop to drink. 

Then there is the advanced level such families reach when they do find a girl 'fitting' for their son... Often after a certain age, every family has a victim-child - a child who turns out to be the driver, watchman, handyman, bills-paying delivery boy and who at times is also the wage-earner too that no parent can afford to give up so easily - definitely not to a woman or that child he manages to have who are seen as a hurdle to direct parental access.This is usually that same son of their's that decides to stay home dutifully 'to take care of the parents' with mounds of parental sentiments and displaced love misdirected and showered on him as a compensation for the offered services and rendered duties.
Ask the parent's and they will defend their child and his claim to (self) righteousness with their utmost might and claim that everything that could possibly be wrong are the wrongs of their bitchy daughter-in-law; who else could possibly destroy their otherwise abnormally 'normal' home?!
Ask the stray few who might defend these parents and they will quote this child and his reckless betrayal of his own family (his wife and child/ren) to nest his parents as a sacrifice beyond human imagination that needs to be worshiped and will add on that the Earth is in dearth of such kinds.
Trying to make sense to these people, is more like singing poetry to a scarecrow all day long when you are short of an audience to sway. 

Perhaps they do not realize that it reveals more than it covers how fragile and pathetic those parents who want to sacrifice a child as a means to fulfill their own needs and meet their own ends are... even if it means breaking the home of their own child to have their way. 

May such parents get well soon or rest in peace at ease... 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Antiques And Its Familial Route

The antique market has surely picked up these days. What once was considered old, today seems to fetch gold. Recently, I was at a shop that sells antiques in Nagercoil - everything this guy sells, he buys for the price of scrap ('aakar' in Tamil) and sells them for almost their weight in gold - a cheapo in buying and a shark when it comes to selling. With a refined hobby that has been reduced and commercialized, today we get to see the market and the fellows who control it, unable to distinguish between class and crap as both get mixed into a heap.  

Recently, there was the impulsiveness in me to complete (or so I temporarily feel) a vintage watch collection with that Henry Sandoz I finally found in one of those antique corridors. Now, along with the Favre Leuba, Pagol, West End, HMTs and a few pocket watches sits the latest Henry - to be wound time to time - that springs to run all well and fine even now... some way past a hundred years. 

This fascination went out of control recently when I started eyeing the pendulum clocks too. Soon I was to understand the time consumed to preserve these pieces of art that have withstood the test of time and had to give up on not wanting to accumulate beyond my capacity to care. Trust me, reviving an antique without letting it lose its essentials or character while at the same time preserving it, is always an art that needs constant learning.  

Then I ask myself, why does one treasure what another decides to give up or throw away(?!) Would it be the delight in the ruins? Would it be the pleasure derived from seeing beauty of imperfection in art? Would it be the unsaid joy in holding something from the pages of history? Would it be the energy that passes while connecting to something that has witnessed a hundred stories and a thousand dramas in its life time and still? 
Somehow I do not have one objective reason to justify this craze and as a matter of fact, I don't know and I don't have to... hahaha.

At times, I wonder about the journey these articles must have made before making their way to the dump, the antique dealer's shelf or to a collector's home. Some of my friends who have a wonderful collection of antiques have pieces that are mostly passed on - from generation to generation within their family - or handed over to them from people who are tired of having them for long and want to replace an old, place-grabber with a more functional, compact modern equipment. 

Keeping antiques is much like holding the traditions, values, morale, ethos, culture and relationships within a family; anyone trying to keep one, will know the struggle that requires plenty of patience and lot of winding and polishing that is required just to keep it working - the reason perhaps why many give up so easily or opt for exchanging it for one that suits their life style. Very often we do not understand nor comprehend the value of the one that is often too close. 
Stealing words from Kavignar Kannadhasan, 'though the closest, the eyes never get to see the eyelids.' 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bull$hit On The Menu

Off the Ground to the Menu

Interesting turn of events - at least in the Jallikattu front - with Tamil Nadu in the line of fire. The cow and the bull have been giving the Prime Minister quite some trouble these days it seems. From the time he tried to give a menu card - of what to eat and what not to (banning a few in the mean time) instead of abolishing hunger, diversion from issues that needs to be in focus seems to be the central theme about his moves and a stray part of the country seems to sway to his tune.

For starters let us take some hunger facts into account.
According to FAO estimates in ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2015” report, 194.6 million people are undernourished in India. By this measure India is home to a quarter of the undernourished population in the world. 
Now, add these facts too. 
  • India is home to the largest undernourished and hungry population in the world
  • 15.2% of our population is undernourished
  • 194.6million people go hungry everyday
  • 30.7% of children under 5 are underweight
  • 58% of children stunted by 2 years of age
  • 1 in 4 children malnourished
  • 3,000 children in India die every day from poor diet related illness
  • 24% of under-five deaths in India
  • 30% of neo-natal deaths in India
(Source: https://www.indiafoodbanking.org/hunger) 

Does banning a category of meat solve the issue of hunger (?) or help feed the hungry (???) Well then, I would gladly spare not just the bull and his mother - the holy cow, yet also the buffalo too. Kerala rose up to roast this silly plan in its own style and platter. The moment the ban shot up, there were beef-eating fests taking place all over God's own country; so much so that even Yama Dharma's vehicle would have been at stake had he dared objected.

Off the Menu to the Ground

Then came the clipping of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and Kambala in Karnataka. Why bother? Why interfere? Especially in areas where mass sentiments, traditions and rituals are part of a life-style for Indians - even if it does not fit into the measure of sense, sensitivity and nevertheless - sensibility of a minority-few... 

I remember a certain ritual followed in Karnataka where more than 500 devotees arrive at the Kukke Subrahmanya temple in Dakshin Kannada to take part in its trademark three-day ritual called the 'made snana.' 

The made snana ('made' meaning leftover and 'snana' meaning bath), in which people roll over plantain leaves with leftovers of food eaten by Brahmins. Devotees, believe the practice will cure and protect them from skin diseases, infertility or a family curse. 

The religious tradition became controversial in 2010 when, pushed by social and Dalit activists, the state government tried to ban it. The progressives criticised the ritual as being caste-based, against hygiene, and against human dignity. Traditionalists have argued that the government must stay out of matters of personal faith.

The state government's ban on this practice - in a pretext to be progressive - caused a hue and cry, especially among the forest tribe community called the Malekudiyas. The Malekudiyas, who played a significant role in temple functions refused to perform their duties and demanded that the ban be lifted. In 2011, BS Yeddyurappa, the chief minster at the time, relented to the pressure from devotees, priests and members of his administration and reinstated the tradition. Ironically, the ones for whom the ban was imposed, were the ones who fought to lift the ban which followed and allowed them to roll there and here and anywhere as they please. 

Demon-itization

Recently, the one and only (or so he feels) Modi'ji used the media as his medium to announce his idea of a demonetization drive with no other consultation, parliamentary resolution or consensus required from people or their representatives - or so he felt, marking his spot and take on where he sits in the fine line of democracy quite clear to any political observer. Once again with 97% of the notes reaching the banks, perhaps the remaining 3 lying in the hands of curios collectors and those retaining a few notes for sentiment-value or with the likes of the poor tribal who neither knows about this demon-itization drive nor has a bank account to exchange his life-long savings of a few thousand crumbled old notes rolled into a small stack. Everyone exchanged their old notes for new and easier to store pink notes now available in higher denominations - the rich somehow managed to fill in their store before anyone else could - a few stray incidents showed the unbelievable quantum of pinks the sleuths could trace to the doors of rich people when most of India was waiting like beggars to draw their own money in giant queues in front of No Time Teller Machines that seemed to be always out of cash; the rich seemed to have benefited from Modiji's plan before the poor and the really ordinary middle-class - the one's like me - could even get a glimpse of those hard to exchange, girly-pink notes. 

According to a recent Indian government committee constituted to estimate poverty, nearly 38% of India’s population (380 million) is poor.

For some more relevant statistics:
  • 50% of Indians don’t have proper shelter
  • 70% don’t have access to decent toilets 
  • 35% of households don’t have a nearby water source
  • 85% of villages don’t have a secondary school 
  • Over 40% of these same villages don’t have proper roads connecting them.
and still my country's representatives claim a 9% annual growth rate.
(Source: https://www.poverties.org/blog/poverty-in-india) 

So basically at the end of the day, through this demon-itization exercise, the keeper of the welfare state managed to get the sensex crashed, businesses drop, got the government to spend quite some stack to not just print yet also destroy over 15 lakh crore in cash (of 500 and 1000 Rs notes) that came back to the treasury's shelf that will be of no use to anyone anymore; somehow the government managed to recall no black money at all with absolutely no point in this exercise. Meanwhile, the incidence of poverty and its effect remains the same with no Modi-fication done in that front... history seems to record a classic Thuqlak'ian blunder once again.

End Note

Now there is an ongoing digital drive and a subtle forcing aadhar up your (whatever) drive that is going on. (Shall write about that soon.) In the meantime as I await the next ban, before the final ban on thinking happens, I think the bull is going to lock horns with the one who released it - as they say, 'the one who lives by the sword will die by the sword.' As for the people of Tamil Nadu, ironically, the biggest and best Jallikattu seems to have happened this year - where they have tamed the undemocratic beast let loose from the centre with people power at the state. Someone has to bell the cat or the bovine as the case may be... isn't it?    

Monday, December 19, 2016

Crossed The One Lakh Mark In This Blog

Now with that one hit, this blog registers its crossing the one lakh visitors mark. The journey was long, sometimes tough and during those tough and trying times, writing was my only way through those crooked and tiring roads that kept me going. I have not written the best pieces; yet, I believe, this blogging business just got my writing get better than what I started off with and I wish to learn to read and write a lot better in the future. At times I wrote for others and mostly just for myself and have been glad to get the feedbacks, comments and criticisms that helped shape my writing and those that did more in shaping me. Thank you all!
With that, here is a song that is quite important and close to my heart for it helped me in a day when I needed to restore one of the most important relationships in my life. Incidentally this song  also reminds of the journey I had with this blog. At the end of the day, not too heavy cos it just made me strong enough to carry... 

Here is that song for you (the lyrics and the video at the end):

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where

But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy he's my brother

He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my brother


- by The Hollies 





Monday, December 12, 2016

Invictus




This is a poem that is said to have kept President Nelson Mandela going during his time in prison. Perhaps the one that helped save a nation at the end.


A beautiful poem that I just adore that I have recorded and am presenting in the form of a video. Most of the clippings were shot around the place where I stay and the voice is a result of an experimentation in my make-shift studio. 

This poem is titled "Invictus" - a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). It was written in 1875 and published in 1888.

Out Of The Night That Covers Me  (Invictus)

Out of the night that covers me,
   Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
   For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
   I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
   My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
   Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
   Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
   How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
   I am the captain of my soul.

- By William Ernest Henley  (1849-1903)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Secret To Being Still

The unethical have a lot to speak about ethics. This is my learning from a set of recent events.
Maybe they do so to cover-up their own misgivings by pointing their fingers at others, to deflect the audience's attention from them or perhaps this is their defense mechanism of denial that is at play or maybe they should be diagnosed with selective amnesia where they forget their own wrongdoings that they beg to be reminded of.
No one is a saint and everyone has a skeleton or few hidden in their own cupboard; every saint has a past and every sinner a future; yet, we like to point out to the small slips and accidental falls of others trying to wear a halo around our head as we carry our self with a 'holier than thou art' attitude while speaking a hypocritical and sacrosanct language all the while.
Do we ever forget to look at the log in our own eyes (?!) before we try to pull the speck out of other's???
Every fellow manages to somehow reach a point of dissonance to justify their stand while criticizing others - the easiest being, 'I did it for his/her own good' statement that is often made to justify their cruel and rude actions. (Bull crap). However, how good are we in the first place to pick on others and/or criticize? Best left to oneself, the least one can do is remain calm and not condemn. If our concern is to help build and change the other, we better do that with gentleness - this takes time. Fruits don't ripen by force.
Why can't our concerns be real as we deliberate a peaceful way to help people.
Some people take this patience for granted and use their very nature to manipulate and get things work their way or they are too stubborn to change or perhaps filled with a heavy and blinding ego, they refuse to see the consequence of their action. Sometimes I wonder about any other choice we have other than being more patient in situation such as these that tests our patience even more. This situation tests us more than it tests the other I suppose.

"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.
And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." said Fredrick Nietzsche.

The universe that must support our plans must be supported by our plans too. If energies around can have an effect on us, wouldn't it work the other way around too? To bring the mind to rest, thoughtless and to be still, seemed difficult and impossible at first. With a little bit of reflection, the mind does become still and when we pause, the universe does control the rest around us. If goodness is in our heart, peace can be spread even in silence - while riding a bus, while making tea or even while walking away from chaos - without the need to even set apart any time for deliberating it. There is always space and time for goodness and peace. Perhaps this is zen or perhaps why bother to name it at all...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pros and Cons of Abolishing 500 and 1000 Rupee Notes

Yesterday night was a bit of an excitement mixed with frenzy for many as  a NEWS spread in India during the midnight hour, once again, since the declaration of our independence. The NEWS was that Modi has abolished notes of Indian Rupee valued at 500 and 1000 overnight - the highest denomination in the notes currently printed. Everyone who has these notes, have time till December 31, 2016 to account it and exchange it in banks or post offices.


The Pros: 
  1. Black money stored in the form of currency notes within the country will be flushed out as people will not be able to account the same or exchange it unless they put in a lot of effort to do so
  2. Future storing of black money in the form of notes will be difficult as Rs.100 would bulk up more than 10 times and consume as much space than the situation is at present
  3. Price of gold will raise; as this will be a safer and more culturally common and relevant way of storing excess money now. This means more returns for people who have been investing in gold already
  4. Money might be easier to handle and track with debit card transactions that might become more common as card transactions might be preferred over bulky cash transactions - making business faster and waiting in queues shorter
  5. The use of plastic money might boost e-commerce and cashless exchanges - the new trend for start-ups in India
  6. Thefts and pickpockets might go down taking crime rates down with it

Thats all.

The Cons: 
  1. There is a hint that the notes have been replaced with 'new' 500 and 2000 Rs. notes. Then this whole thing is a humbug. Point 2. of the pros is then off the list (Source:  PM Modi had today banned not just these two high value currency denominations, he had also unveiled their replacement, in the form of a new Rs 500 note and one of Rs 2,000.)
  2. Black money storage from the current point forward becomes easier with the current highest denomination doubled. Which means Point 1 and 3. of the pros is off the list too since people will find an alternative means to shrink their storage place and find new space to store more with a higher denomination being made available
  3. The whole frenzy of the people to dispose the notes they have is foolish as there is time to do so till this year end. So calm down people; the world is not coming to an end (...yet)
  4. Business - especially chota valas who refuse currency notes of 500 and 1000 denomination are more foolish. Business is more important and customers harder to get. These notes can anyway be exchanged and it would be a boost to the business if a shop keeper accepts the notes and gets the commerce going using this situation and reaping the harvest. Requires sense to think in this case - the hardest commodity to ask for anyways these days
  5. The corrupt will become more corrupt and find reasons to accumulate what they have lost in this barter in the near future - habits, not notes, that needs to be abolished
  6. In this case of taking old notes and releasing new ones, then, is just going to be like how Mohd. Bin Tughlak shifted his capital from Delhi to Daultabad/Deogir - a 'tughlakian' decision that made him lose more than he thought he could earn and an earner of negative press that we learn about till date of 'what not to do'
  7. One more ban, one more renaming and one more flop awaiting - as is the sequence in a country where people think like a slow starting tubelight 
  8. Anyways, the initial election manifesto was to bring back black money deposited abroad into India within 100 days that entered a delay as it required a change in taxation policies. What happened to that? Did we change our double-taxation system? Are we still talking about that?
  9. Wouldn't this exercise make the people who foreignized Indian black money look smarter than their Indian counterparts and help set an example for the corrupt to emulate for the future?
  10. Is this once again the typical re-naming stunt that is not uncommon these days. After all, what is in a name?

Seems like the con's outweigh the pros in this (dis)regard just for the simple reason that the notes are going to be re-introduced and very soon, in higher denominations. Was that a calculation intended or a consequence unthought of?! 
However, this great idea (minus the reintroduction bit) I remember coming from a Tamil movie called 'Pichaikaran' that was released in March this year and here is the scene from the movie for proof that the idea is not something that was born yet only something that has been adopted. Talk about originality...


Monday, November 7, 2016

Types Of Children (including the Trophy and Token Child)

Recently I realized that children fall into at least four categories - depending on the reason why they are born or based upon the way they are parented later.

The trophy child like a trophy wife, is the child one has for the status it brings along. Much like how a just divorced and quoted to be impotent man or an infertile woman finds the fastest and quickest way(s) to have a baby... just to prove the point - nothing more and nothing else. For them, the child is nothing more than a showpiece - parents seem attached to this child yet more for self-obsessed reasons than anything else - to create envy among the snoopy ex and/or to shut slanderous mouths and as a proof for their own active sex life. These are children one 'has to' have.

The token child on the other hand, is more like a child/children one has for the very heck of it. Much like how one has one for the very reason that one 'must' have at least one; or when 'more the number of kids, more the verility', is assumed to be true by absurd personalities in some even absurd societies.
Here, it is all about the numbers. How many girls? - this in case it is in the North Eastern part of India, How many boys? - this applies to the rest of India. The token child in many marriages is just born out of no reason at all; with no purpose and of little value. It is like a token exchanged to evade the stigma it might bring otherwise. Born out of the duties performed connected with marriage (including having a child) and raised as a duty connected therewith thereafter. These are children one 'must' have.

The accidental child, like the name suggests, is born out of what the parents might see as a "mistake" including (yet not limited to,) a goof-up while trying to use protection or being too drunk and/or carried away to not use one. These are re-creations made by mistakes during recreations - a foolish one to regret for the rest of the life.
Or these could also be the ones a person is pushed to have not as a matter of choice yet one that rises out of force and compulsion like in the event of a rape or as a matter of tradition (like in the case of a child born to a Devadasi). These children carry the burns and scars and the damage more than the parents. These are children one knows not 'why s/he has'.

The love child on the other hand, is born out of love. A symbol of trust, care and respect that the parents have for each other. This child carries with it the genes and the energy that created it in the first place and enchants others with its very presence. Unlike the other two, these are passionate children who are easy to love and fun to be with. Not just made out of skin and bones, these are children with a heart and soul. Rare yet the most sought after.

Biblically, at least,  we are taught that we are born out of sin; Psalm 51:5 says, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me". This makes sex - a natural need according to science and a non-verbal form of love according to psychology, seem like a sin... if I were to believe it.
Perhaps this is just an(other) attempt by the church to make people feel guilty even from the womb so that they may establish their authority over them for the rest of their freakin life. Children are not conceived by sin, atleast in this category; they are conceived out of love, as they need to be. Love between the father and mother passed on to the child. Love formed out of trust, care and respect above anything else. These are children one 'wants to' have.

Having a job, is similar to having a child - nevertheless a want and never a need - some have it for the heck of it, some to avoid the stigma attached in the event of not having one, many have one by accident and very less for the fun of it.
We get stuck with jobs just because 'we have to' rather than take up a job 'we want to' - much like those arranged marriages many find trapped into which later one justifies to attain a state of cognitive dissonance to put up with it.
Very often, we are stuck with trophy jobs, token jobs and whatever other bastardly job comes our way in the event of not being able to find the true passion or love of our life that brings life and commitment to what we do. It is not just the person who suffers yet also a great deal of injustice done meanwhile to the job s/he holds as well.
Today, we all sell ourselves cheap. The mind especially, is always up for sale to the highest bidder. From becoming the 'other woman' in the white house to becoming a lot lizard for cheapskate punters during a hoe stroll, our opportunities seem limitless when we are not decided. Sometimes, it is not for us or for that money that we work anymore... it is perhaps just for the heck of it and for the fact that we have nothing better to do...          

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Excerpts From An Essay On Identity, Conflict And Violence By Fredjeev


Chapter 5 - The Upward Mobility of the Downtrodden

The plight and fight of the socially (pushed) backward and traditionally oppressed communities is more like a life on the wheel. The victims of violence and injustice today being identified and recognized as such, command more than demand their special provisions for upliftment in the name of social justice - be it the Dalits from India or the Africans settled in America or the indigenous people who were devoid of their rights in their homeland like the Maoris of New Zealand or the Red Indians of America and every other colonized country like India that is yet to recover from the after-affect of the mad nightmare of the past.
This self-imposed need to be identified and recognized as one belonging to the victimized, marginalized and scheduled groups is a mandate to avail the welfare rationed from the stored loot of his/her majesty’s invasion supplied in the form of grants, aid and other concessions. This identity of the ‘receiver’ as an ever-marginalized group or as a forever-developing country at large, gets further cemented by the media and good Samaritans of the development sector who make a sensational coverage of this group time to time to showcase them as dirty, humbled and always dressed up in rags while at the same time, the ‘giver’ wears the cloak of superiority, authority and pride to break and throw morsels for the rest to fetch.
On one hand, the people who carry the burden of the earlier oppressors and who are widely pointed to for the blunders committed once for which they have no rationale claim to be blamed, are subjected and go through the same level of human disregard and discrimination which once their predecessors (alone) had to be blamed for. This phenomenon is a turn of the wheel as we see the ones who were up yesterday being crushed by the ones who were down today - just for the simple way in which things have turned. Sadly, identities that were fought to be cast away have simply become more certain, defined, nurtured, wilfully promoted by many and unwilfully thrust on the rest - for the same reason it was earlier done - for survival. 
A resulting paradox - an ingroup that fought against an outgroup for stratifying and discriminating it by labeling it, now takes up yet another fight to belong and be identified with the group it is fighting with - quite ironically incidentally is the new identity the ingroup wants to establish while taking pride in upholding it only reaffirms its identity rather than find opportunities to shed.