Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Mosquito Effect


If you are wondering what the content of the post would be by reading this title, then my sincere suggestion would be; please stop guessing could sometimes on CnC we too talk about incredible things (may be someday even we might write on fairly tales and Harry Potter on our blog).

Well this post is coming from a frustrated soul, who is clueless about ways to settle a dispute. Every night me and my enemies drawn our boundaries, sign peace treaties and cease fire; but all these unwritten laws fail in few minutes and we are back at war. I stand tall like a brave Spartan warrior up against a fleet of over 300 enemy soldiers (a lil exaggeration though); I wait and kill them when they are within one yard radius from my body. Fierce battle lasts for hours, neither can I stop and donate blood to my enemy nor do the mosquitoes quit the battle field; they breath through my smoke bombs (don't think otherwise I am talking about mosquito repellents here) and keep trying to enter my territory. It's a complete bloodshed, either mine or others.

The results of this wars are, either they lose their life by getting smacked by me (high success rate of .1%), or leave me with a small protrusion (as if they have filled something in my veins rather than sucking it out; happens 10% of the cases I guess) or the most common, I try to zero them, but then end up hurting myself and they fly away.

It is a never ending war, though I wish to win, I am clueless of the how?? Can anyone suggest a first hand tested strategy which can be of my help??

I tried to get a few solutions from various philosophies from noted thinkers, writers and religions that "love" is the greatest weapon and one can win anything with love. Some went on to say that we can even win over my enemies with love. Even our own Munnabhai quite promotes this concept (remember the incident where a person benevolently cleans the paan strains created by a crook without shouting at him). So does that mean I need to love mosquitoes as well? Will a mosquito stop biting me if I voluntary allow it to bite for more and more times??

This is where I feel all these concepts are not always practical. Just take a simple case of a ring master in a circus; the tigers and other animals perform the necessary tricks only because they are afraid of him, not because of the piece of meat that he offers them at the end of the stunt. If we realise it's the same with most other trainers as well. We learn more when they are strict and we work under pressure. Remember this is the image of boarding schools which most people have - that the teachers are strict and students get punished for all in-disciplinary acts. It's this fear that helps most students do better. I am not sure if others feel the same, but I think I miss my teachers whom I was more afraid of than those who were nice to me. Or may be its just that I learnt it the hard way.

It applies to my mom as well.. She is all nice and loving when I do well but at the same time, will scold me if I ever do something wrong – and I believe it was this fear that still keeps me conscious before I could ever dare do things wrong. So it is this balance between love and fear that helped me grow the way I am and I believe its and in-build art which most mothers possess.

Now when I say all this, I am remembered of the buzz around the country. What should be our next step to counter terrorism?? Is war the solution?? How to resolve Kashmir?? Are we prepared for the War?? What would be extent of damage?? What could be the outcome?? So many questions but very few concrete answers…

But then here also mosquito effect stands to explain the international relations..

Why is Pakistani government under greater treat when the United States of America pressures it and comes up with statements against them?? At the same time India, which has been highlighting the epic centre of all the terrorist activities, it was not at all catered to?? And now look even Pakistan is trying to take a few steps by capturing some key members of the militant groups??

Now all this is definitely not because of love..

It's not that I am trying to prove that love is not powerful and only fear rules the world. There are instances where problems which otherwise failed, were solved by love. Take for instance the relation between Indians and Pakistanis; keep aside all the terrorist and political activities, I think the increased communication between common people is serving as a big step to bridge some of the differences between "aam admi" of both the nations. The apple traders were the happiest when the trade was restored this year.

So the mosquito effect tells us that love and fear are both equally powerful tools and should be used according to the situation. And just as the war between me and mosquitoes seems never ending, where sometimes I win and sometimes they, similarly the success of love and fear will be never ending sometimes the problems get resolved by love while at other we need to use fear.

And regarding Terrorism and countering it, its an issue with so many complexities attached to it. I am dying to see what step our politicians take and bring long – term peace and tranquility back to one of the most beautiful part of the planet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 - The year India got divided again and trying to reunite after being shaken


Last night I was watching the above documentary from BBC, talking about one of the most memorable moment in the history of South-East Asia - The Partition of India. A move that then affected more than 10 million lives and now it’s still counting. And the only reason behind it was of course, Religion and politics attached to it.
After watching this video, I could not stop wondering for long, “what if both nations were not divided”?? We talk of growth stories of India in the last few years and its future prospect of being the next superpower of the world, but, what if we had our neighboring country along with us??
After spending hours I realized that, Religion has had always been used as a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” and if I were to summarize all the events of this year, religion played a major role, or rather a devastating role.

The year 2009 started on a very positive note with the sensex booming, most Indian companies performing well, our international ties getting strengthened, our sportsmen doing well and so on. But slowly things faded, we were almost at war with terrorists who went on a spree and created havoc in all parts of the country. And now before we could control them, we have few more issues to address – the anti north Indian drive launched by MNS, the attack on Churches in Karnataka, rape of a nun in Orissa, formation of Hindu terrorist group and then came the biggest blow – the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Let me not talk much about the terrorist attacks as it been talked and written about all over, including CnC, so my focus would be more on the other incidents.

This year had attacks on Churches and Christian community in some parts of the country, viz. Karnataka and Orissa. But then I read an article by Mr. Francois Gautier.
The article coming from a Catholic Indian seems really convincing and it explains to a certain extent why and how the so-called secular India is turning violent and more shockingly the Hindu community.

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka?

Well I am sure many of you would have come across forceful conversions being promoted by some of the Christian missionaries in India. Even I myself had a firsthand experience, exactly five years back when I was travelling by a bus from Trichy to Thanjavur. We were heading for general elections that time and I felt that NDA did well and would be re-elected, but a man tried to explain me why he wanted me not to go by the financial growth and vote for party which is secular and unbiased. And slowly as the discussion progressed the man started narrating his own story. How he was in trouble, not able to meet his medical expenses, before a Christian missionary lent a helping hand by funding his treatment and now he is a convert and is promoting other to follow his steps by talking about his own emotional example and the benefits he derived out of it.
From my friends from different parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, I did hear about many more mass conversion campaigns and promotions, and I agree with the author on all figures he is quoting. Conversion campaigns were conducted even in places like Tirupati which is one of the most holy temples especially for South Indians.
But I never heard of the situation in North-East. Just now I googled it out and was shock to see some of the news items.
Assault on a Dalit couple for not converting to Christianity (Jalaun, UP, Oct 17 2007, Dainik Jagran)

Tripura tribal leader killed

Separatist group bans Hindu festivities

Hindu preacher killed by Tripura rebels

All this created a divide and brought in lot of disturbances between these two communities. No one was taking any action against such unlawful propagations, and it reached a level were none could act sensibly and come up with a non-violent and sensible solution.

For me, as much as terror attacks, it was shocking to see an Indian army personal being questioned for promoting communal violence. We have seen movies like Shaurya and even the blockbuster Main Hu Na where men in uniform were into malpractices based on personal grievances against a particular community but then I was always proud of our army personnel, who not only lay down their lives for the nation but also respect their enemies and treat them humanitarianly (independent of how they treat us). So I never expected as issues like Lt. Col. Prasad Porohit to come up. Sandhvi involved tried to justify her involvement by quoting the mishaps in her personal life, but then as far as I am aware, a Sandhvi one is supposed to leave all emotional ties and act in the best interest of righteousness. Now after the unfortunate demise of ATC Chief, Hemant Karkare I really wonder how the case would move forward and when it would reach the final verdict.

Now rather than talking about Terrorism and how the jihadi groups misinterpret religion and deceive people, I would rather like to talk about some moves made by Indian government to attack votes from the Muslim community in India.I remember that after Dewali I was coming back from Hyderabad and I note a building very brightly lit and well crowded, I wondered what it was and felt it must be some studio or building which is having an extended Dewali party, but then it turned out to be Hyderabad’s Haj House.
This year, we know how the airline industry is faring, but the Cabinet as usual has decided to increase the number of pilgrims availing the Haj subsidy and flying by the national carrier. For an airlines already reeling under Rs 2,000-crore loss and burdened with severe employee-related issues, a welfare measure like this puts undue duress on it.
Aircraft engaged in Haj duty have to first pick up pilgrims from the smaller towns which have been approved as part of the hub and spoke arrangement, and then after they drop the pilgrims to the final destination, they come back empty. Similarly, in order to pick up the pilgrims, the aircraft have to go to Jeddah empty, which results in an increase in expenditure. Any commercial airliner does not view huge aircraft flying empty favourably as it implies a loss in revenue.
The Cabinet kept the amount paid by the pilgrims for the round trip to Jeddah and Medina at Rs 12,000, as it has remained since 1994. In 1991, the amount paid by the pilgrims was Rs 10,000 as against Rs 14,056 per passenger paid to Air India by the government. This amount was then gradually raised to Rs 12,000 by 1994 against Rs 17,000 paid to the carrier. Last year, while 1,10,000 pilgrims availed the subsidy paying only Rs 12,000 each, the amount paid by the government to the carrier was Rs 47,454 per passenger. The total cost for Haj operations last year (for 1,10,000 pilgrims) was Rs 727 crore of which the subsidy requirement was Rs 595 crore. This year, in order for the pilgrimage of 1,23,211 pilgrims, the total cost estimated by the government is Rs 847 crore, of which the subsidy requirement will be approximately Rs 700 crore.
Now, even the learned Muslims are supporting the appeal scrap such funds, as Haj is a pilgrimage which one is supposed to complete under his/her own expenses and by not taking any financial help from others. Thus, providing subsidies and other moves taken by our politicians are just for vote banks and not for the best interest of the minority communities. For further reading go through :

‘Haj subsidy unIslamic, use that money on our education, health’

Then we had a heinous move by MNS under the leadership of Mr. Raj Thackeray, to kill the harmony in the commercial capital of India. Again to create a niche vote bank, problems due to immigration of North Indians into Maharashtra were blown out of proportions and created a sense of hatred among the Mumbaikars, who otherwise never associate themselves with their place of origin. Riots, strikes, murders, created tension all over and the politicians of all regions were also quick to react and fueled the case. But Mr. Thackeray who was proud to be arrested for this cause went underground ever since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, when the entire nation came together to fight against two major problems in India – Terrorism and Politics.

The horrendous ghost of terrorism to a certain extent helped in keeping aside all minor issues misused by politicians for election campaigns. Now the citizens of India would no longer listen to all the fake propagandas of political parties ahead of coming elections. One incident has brought people on streets, openly raise voices and revolt against the politicians.
Till now Ego, Revenge, Power, and Money are driving most thoughts and all good qualities and morals were on a standby. But now on I believe people would maintain high awareness level and would act with maturity, analyze, understand and then decide whats right and whats wrong. Until couple of months back everyone wondered who the other person is??
If it’s Mumbai, whether you are a Maharashtrian or a “Bhaiyya” ??
In Orissa, whether you are a Hindu or a Christian ??
In Tamil Nadu, if you are Tamil or Hindi speaking ??
Now people have stopped giving a damn about these religious, linguistic or regional divides. The meanings of love, brotherhood, unity, patriotism will now have a big difference from what’s being practiced over the years.
Enough is enough.. it’s high time that we overcome this situation and move ahead to form a truly UNITED INDIA.

IT labour Union in India


A friend of mine works in a famous automobile company of India in the capacity of production manager. His plant is a high capacity plant and produces a big percentage of the total number of heavy automobiles produced in India every year. Reputation wise his company is one of the most respected and trusted companies of India with high standards of quality which is accepted as a hallmark. However, in the various discussions that I’ve had with him about the work culture in his factory, I have been made aware of the irrevocable presence of the labour union and its effect on the production capability of the companies like his.
For instance, the company can incur a big loss at the end of an assembly line just because the labourer working at some point in the line got his evening tea with a 5 minute delay! The middle managers live under a constant threat from the unions and with the not so old incident of the CEO of a company in Gurgaon being killed by the labourers even the top level managers and owners of such a factory feel a chill down their spine when facing the union or sorting out a genuine problem. The recent economic crunch has lead to layoffs across all sectors but the labour union in almost all factories has made sure that the working class is untouched by the situation. The bully unions have fought for the rights of its members tooth and nail on all occasions, at all times. The working class in India is not paid much so this structure may be necessary to safeguard the lives of those who work each day at low wages and deplorable conditions so that our nation can march forward.
One of the fastest growing sectors of Indian economy, the IT and ITES sector is also one of the chief employment providers now and like any other sector the disparity in the remuneration, facilities, etc. is evident along the hierarchy of any IT company. While the CEOs and top management get a heavy share of the profits the payments made to the entry level engineers, lower order management and the like is very less. In the present scenario the situation has become even worse with layoffs and salary cut across the board. While the rights of lowest level workers in a manufacturing unit are well protected by the strong unions (who can even threaten to bring down the whole unit if wronged), the lowest level workers in an IT company have none. The over staffed IT giants have slashed their work force drastically in the past few months with their plans of expansion going awry and the employees had to bear the brunt. This economic crisis presses for a need for an IT labour union more than ever. There are a number of start-ups which have no employee policy to safeguard the rights of the people who work with them and since the future of a startup is itself not secure the government needs to step in to make sure that the employees’ lives and families are taken care of.
One major problem in the establishment of such an IT labour union is the scattered presence of the employees in various companies. A union within an IT giant is very feasible but one that covers every person employed in any IT company is a little difficult due to the physical absence of everyone in one working facility. However, there are ways to bring this notion to effect. Internet is a great medium for people of the IT sector to form a union and if the idea catches up with more and more people a little government intervention can turn this ‘virtual union’ into a physical force safeguarding the rights of millions.