Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Passing of a friend

I went to Jag Mundhra’s funeral expecting grief. What I felt was a warmth.  Almost as if the warmth he exuded all his life exploded out and permeated the molecules of the air around us.  I met his wife, Chandra and through her tears her first words to me were ” What a history we have all had together. What incredible moments”.

Truly. Happy moments to be thankful of. Unforgettable moments shared that  gave life the joy it is supposed to have.

The laughter in times of sadness.

Almost as if the laughter continues through the passing away of a friend.

Its what friendships are meant for. To bind all the ups and downs in life into one idea of shared adventure.

Through life. And through death.

RIP Jag. And thank you for the laughter.

Are you cool ?

Getting to grips with a the media hype of the modern world that is completely designed to make you feel a lack of self worth unless you are ‘cool’ and ‘with it’ is a loosing battle, Simply because there are too many marketing ideas designed to make money based on the psychology of guilt

Oh my god you say – is the train leaving ? should be jumping on ? and then you look around yourself and see a hundred trains leaving with beautiful girls and incredible goodies and the promise of legions of sexy virgins, and a future full of fulfillment of dreams and fantasies.

which train do you get on ?

simple

none, because none of them can actually leave without you,

you have the power over them

A mandate to govern or the right to rule ?

There is so much being said on TV and press about the unconstitutional nature of protests over the Jan Lokpal Bill.  It is important for every citizen to read the Constitution to decide for themselves. However the system is not the Constitution. The system is merely an administrative interpretation of the Constitution. So to say the system is corrupt (which in my view it is) is not saying that the Constitution is.

Here is my point of view :

Our Constitution allows the Government of India to govern through a mandate given to it by the citizens of India.  The mandate is not just to those in the governing party.  It is a mandate given to all the members of our Parliament sitting in Opposition too. The mandate is a fiduciary and moral responsibility of each member of the Parliament to represent the wishes of the very citizens of India that have given them that mandate. If the wishes of the citizens of India are not being represented in the Parliament, then the Citizens have a right to protest and an absolute right to redress the the wrongs being committed in the Parliament.

Notice that I have not used the word ‘ ruling party’. Because too often the mandate to govern is used as a mandate to rule. It is not. The sitting members of Parliament continue to be representattives of the people.  Nothing more. And when they cease to represent the people, as is pretty obvious in India right now, they have a moral duty to quit.

Here is a link to the Constitution of India, which each member of Parliament has taken an oath to protect and abide by.

http://indiacode.nic.in/coiweb/welcome.html

Anna Hazare : Is political power to the Civil Society a threat to Democracy ?

There is debate raging, or perhaps more than debate -a revolution -seething in India that could redefine the relationship between a People and it’s democratically elected Parliament and Government.

Does Power once given to the elected Government and Parliament for it’s term ( in India 5 years) effectively take all Power away from the Citizens of India over governance for that period ?  The movement led by Anna Hazare who is on a hunger strike right now to institute his version of a long standing bill in Parliament that will put a Civil Society watchdog over the workings of the Parliament has caught the imagination, and huge support amongst the aspirational and educated class in India.  A class that has so far been content to be part of the great hope of better standards of living through economic growth. A class that is often accused of not even voting, is now coming out in droves on the streets to be heard. (and since I wrote this 15 hours ago, massive sections of India’s population from all classes have joined the movements on the streets)

To be heard against what they see as the greatest cancer that exists in India.  One that is not only unfair, unjust, illegal, but patently immoral. The cancer of corruption. While the Government and the economists tout growth rates in the economy as a show of success, the people feel that those in the Political Class and others with access to the political class have unfairly usurped a far far larger share of the potential growth in India.  Not only that, they have, under the watch and encouragement of the Political Classes, stolen huge wealth in terms of mineral resources and public money from India for themselves.  A large share of which goes back to the Political Classes and so the cycle continues.

The Government has been caught off guard.  Not used to being challenged like this by the people who it thought politically uncommitted.  Already facing an armed insurrection by the so called rural ‘maoists’ in rural and tribal areas. The so called ‘Middle Class’ is considered in any democracy the biggest supporters of stability. Ones who will not  shut shop to take to the streets. Simply because they have too much to loose through disruptions.

Well, they have.  And a Government is floundering.

While the Opposition has chosen to actively support the movement, it seems just a ploy to flog the current Government. It remains to be seen what teeth  the Civil Society bill called the Jan LokPal Bill the opposition will finally vote for too.  Are they willing to curtail themselves if they form the Government ?

Ask any Indian what the greatest problem they have faced all their lives, and will continue to fact all their lives, and they will say that one word ‘Corruption”. It touches us all on a day to day, sometimes hour to hour basis.  We have learnt to live with, and more dangerously, accept it as part of our culture.  We have learnt to condone it and many see it as their only way to economic success.

But very high profile cases within the Government in power, assuming mind boggling numbers in a Nation where half of the population lives below the poverty lines staggered the nation and caused huge outcry.  Not only because of the scale of corruption. But because the sheer arrogance with which the Political Classes in collusion with their associates have been looting the country.

Has the Political class in India become so arrogant in its assumption of Power that it sees itself as unquestionable and above the law ?  Have the assumed checks and balances within a Parliamentary broken down ?  Is the Political class as a whole corrupt ? Why is the greatest (and public)  defence of the Government in Power against charges of corruption from the Opposition ” YOU DID IT TOO !”

There is a serious loss of faith in the Political System amongst the people. That is very very dangerous.  Not just from the dispossessed, but from the educated, not just the jobless but from those that have taken leave from their jobs to join the mass protest.

Is this the begininngs of the break down of the Democratic System as many suggest ?

I would argue that it is not. I would argue that this is an evolution in Democracy.

The Indian Democratic System was adapted from it’s former colonial masters, into a brilliant but adaptive Constitution.  But the system installed to support the fundamentals of the Constitution were designed for India’s population at time of Independence. A mere 350 million.  For a demographic far far older than we are now. No one at that time could have dreamt of a nation of 1.2 Billion people with 60 % of the population below 25. Soon India will hold 15% of the world’s teenage population.  India’s Political, Social, Judicial systems could not have predicted a a young, aspirational, entrepreneurial, technologically adept population we have today. They could not have predicted that at the end of each 5 year political term, the world would be barely recognizable.

India’s endemic corruption is not a cultural imperative.  It is the result of a slow, unresponsive, antiquated system that is at odds with challenges of Modernity. A system protected by those that are personally benefiting from it at the cost of the aspirations of the People of India.  Forgetting that the first words of the Indian Constitution are not ‘WE THE GOVERNMENT’ or ‘WE THE PARLIAMENT’,  but :

‘WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA’

I support Anna Hazare and a strong version of the Jan Lokpal Bill provided that in its execution it does not become as squeaky as a massive old door that consistently need to be oiled and pushed to make it budge as many of the rest of Indian systems.

The Principles of Democracy are not changeable. But the systems supporting them must be willing to change and adapt.

Imagination : by Esha Chhabra

While growing up, I’d never really considered how important it is to be imaginative.   It’s a childhood profession, you could say.   It comes naturally.   Then we hit an age when we’re presented with a scantron of bubble-in options, a template for a CV that we need to create, and Excel.  At that point, our learning has to fit into certain parameters: within that little bubble, within the one page limit, and within a tiny digital graph.  So, what happens to our imagination?

It seems to fade.

Being Asian (as I am) doesn’t help.  The assumption that you’re more apt for engineering or medicine is like a nagging tail.   We have a so-called fondness for numbers apparently.  If you’re Asian, you must be good at math – of course.

Well, then I turned out to be an oddball.  I developed an affinity for words and images instead.  At the age of 12, my dream was to be a professional doodler, which could turn into a career as a cartoonist, if it went well.  And my parents indulged me in that dream.  Unlike others, who may have thought that was ridiculous, they got me drawing books.  When my mother saw me sitting idle, or falling asleep among a pile of school books, she’d suggest, “Why don’t you draw for a bit?”   Over a decade later, little has changed.  She still chuckles at my drawings, tells me to draw more often, and has preserved that notebook.

Perhaps, I should have continued with that path.  Last week, a friend sent me an email with a job listing, titled Doodler.  Ridiculous, I thought.  But then I saw the employer – Google.  Not so funny anymore but actually a possibility.  And truly, Google is hiring a doodler for the images that often appear on their homepage to celebrate holidays and momentous occasions.

As I grew older, as the reading list of books grew longer, the assignments tougher, and jobs took up any spare time as a student in college, that ability to just sit down and pour your imagination onto a blank canvas began to disappear.  Rather, that creative side had to reinvent itself.

My high school history teacher once told me that history is not a timeline; it’s a story.   She threw out the linearity of history.  She made what was dry and ancient, charming, engaging, and at times, even humorous.   That was her imagination at work.  And it helped me develop a love for the social sciences.   Our imaginations can be quite contagious, I learned.

But can this love for the imaginative ever find a place in the real world?  Certainly.

More and more young people today want to work for start-ups where business meets creativity, where what may seem impossible today is reality tomorrow.  Who knew that you could pay for your Starbucks coffee without cash or credit card?  You can.  Just scan your Starbucks card from your smart phone.  Who knew that you could get a treadle pump for under $40 that can help farmers irrigate in the developing world?  Just look at the work of entrepreneur Paul Polak.   Who knew that we’d be talking in just 140 characters in the 21st century?  Perhaps, the folks at Twitter did.

Imagination creates not just fairy tales and children’s books but a new vision for the way we conduct our lives.  Imaginations challenge the norm, push boundaries, and help us progress.

Unfortunately, that imagination is getting sidelined in classrooms, where the emphasis has been on grades and testing for too long, in workplaces, where the prominence of excel sheets and powerpoint presentations has become a daily chore.

We need to encourage more creativity.  Forget the CV for a bit.  Forget the obsession with grades.  Yes, even with a B, your kid can do great things in this world.

If we encourage that brilliant math student to be imaginative as well, he could use those algorithms to innovate.  If we encourage the biology student to be imaginative as well, she could design a new sustainable fuel source for us.  If we encourage that economics buff to be imaginative as well, he could build a new people-friendly business model.   The tools are there.  You just need to reorient them towards the unexpected.  That’s where creativity – at home, in the classroom, and in the workplace- is so essential.

That’s why, last week I found myself, sitting with my mom late at night, rereading Shel Silverstein’s poems for children.  Turns out, they’re just as good for adults, maybe even better.

FROZEN DREAM

I’ll take the dream I had last night

And put it in my freezer,

So someday long and far away

When I’m an old grew geezer,

I’ll take it out and thaw it out,

This lovely dream I’ve frozen,

And boil it up and sit me down

And dip my cold toes in.

Is Europe failing it’s Muslims? by Abdul Munim

Ah yes, this one is going to get really acrimonius given what just happened in Norway.  But Abdul has raised some questions of ‘awareness’ and prejudice.  I hope for an informative healthy debate here without people hurling abuse at each other :

“Problems cannot be solved on the same level of awareness which created them – Einstein

A friend sent this quote to me, when I first read it; I could not understand it. I kept pondering my brains out for days but nothing came to me – Last night while watching a debate on European Muslims, it struck me and I would like to believe that I know what Einstein meant now.

Here is how it happened…
I came across a debate on youtube titled “Europe is failing its Muslims” organized by BBC between two very famous scholars – Tariq Ramadan and Douglas Murray – I was hoping to get some valuable insight – but I was very much disappointed. The debate had ended before it even started.

Muslim Scholar Tariq Ramadan (Born & Raised in Sweden) is asked to step on podium to highlight his agenda – He makes introductory remarks, points out the problems Muslims are facing in West and concludes “Europe has failed its Muslims”.

Now, The British Scholar, Douglas Murray steps on podium talks about the violence and terrorism imposed on west by Islam, and ends his conversation by saying “Europe has not failed its Muslims, Its Muslims who has failed Europe”

This is when it struck me… I did more research found a few more relevant debates. But the results were same – HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT.

After listening to a few more scholars on various other topics – I came to realize that most of them have gained wisdom through their knowledge, which gives them slightly different and broader understanding of the worldly issues than an ordinary man (Someone with no or lesser knowledge). They have the knowledge, they have the wisdom, they even have broader understanding of the issues and problems, BUT what almost all of them are missing is HIGHER LEVEL OF AWARENESS. Intellectually they are slightly at the higher end of the pyramid (due to their knowledge). But when it comes to dealing with personal prejudices they are at the same level as any other human being, which is at the bottom ends of the pyramid. (People like Buddha, Einstein, Gandhi, Tao and Lao are an exception)

Now coming back to debate “Europe is failing its Muslims “both the scholars were very sharp and well informed. They had raised some really good questions too. But sadly, they both had one-sided view, their research and view point were partial and biased. They were victim of their own prejudices, so were the audience. Which did not help anyone, instead had drawn more lines.

Only if they had higher level of awareness, they would have been able to understand each other. Only then, instead of quoting “Muslims have failed Europe” or “Europe has failed its Muslims. They would have concluded; “We have failed each other” and that would have been an interesting debate.

Their knowledge and partial wisdom did entertained audience. It also won them appreciation and applauses… but the missing element of AWARENESS, higher, than at which the whole problem was created, failed to engage audience in a meaningful and constructive debate.

We live in a society that is too complex and too dependent on knowledge to guarantee us a social acceptance. Sadly, Knowledge can be perceived in either ways, each of us can create our own version of reality depending on what we want to believe, or how big one’s ego is.

Same thing is happening in our part of the world. When it comes to problems between Pakistan & India, Hiduisam & Islam, our partial and biased understanding mixed with personal prejudices blind folds our intelligence, which keeps the light of awareness from reaching us

Gandhi Jee once said; if you want to change the world Change yourself first (Be the change you want to see in the world)… what did he meant by it? What change he had suggested? How does he want us to change?…. Could it be a change of perception?

Abdul Munim
A 29 years old Pakistani by birth, Muslim by religion, Chinese by profession (Studied & working in China)… And a proud Indian by ethnicity.”

I do not want mercy, I want you to join me.

Sunita Rajkumar sent me this and I was moved by what I read. So relevant to our times

“The reality is not that I lack respect for the law; it’s that I have greater respect for justice. Where there is a conflict between the law and the higher moral code that we all share, my loyalty is to that higher moral code”

Tim DeChristopher, who was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison and a $10,000 fine for ‘disrupting’ a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008, had an opportunity to address the court and the judge immediately before his sentence was announced. This is his full statement:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the court. When I first met Mr. Manross, the sentencing officer who prepared the presentence report, he explained that it was essentially his job to “get to know me.” He said he had to get to know who I really was and why I did what I did in order to decide what kind of sentence was appropriate. I was struck by the fact that he was the first person in this courthouse to call me by my first name, or even really look me in the eye. I appreciate this opportunity to speak openly to you for the first time. I’m not here asking for your mercy, but I am here asking that you know me.

Mr. Huber has leveled a lot of character attacks at me, many of which are contrary to Mr. Manross’s report. While reading Mr Huber’s critiques of my character and my integrity, as well as his assumptions about my motivations, I was reminded that Mr Huber and I have never had a conversation. Over the two and half years of this prosecution, he has never asked my any of the questions that he makes assumptions about in the government’s report. Apparently, Mr. Huber has never considered it his job to get to know me, and yet he is quite willing to disregard the opinions of the one person who does see that as his job.

There are alternating characterizations that Mr Huber would like you to believe about me. In one paragraph, the government claims I “played out the parts of accuser, jury, and judge as he determined the fate of the oil and gas lease auction and its intended participants that day.” In the very next paragraph, they claim “It was not the defendant’s crimes that effected such a change.” Mr Huber would lead you to believe that I’m either a dangerous criminal who holds the oil and gas industry in the palm of my hand, or I’m just an incompetent child who didn’t affect the outcome of anything. As evidenced by the continued back and forth of contradictory arguments in the government’s memorandum, they’re not quite sure which of those extreme caricatures I am, but they are certain that I am nothing in between. Rather than the job of getting to know me, it seems Mr Huber prefers the job of fitting me into whatever extreme characterization is most politically expedient at the moment.

In nearly every paragraph, the government’s memorandum uses the words lie, lied, lying, liar. It makes me want to thank whatever clerk edited out the words “pants on fire.” Their report doesn’t mention the fact that at the auction in question, the first person who asked me what I was doing there was Agent Dan Love. And I told him very clearly that I was there to stand in the way of an illegitimate auction that threatened my future. I proceeded to answer all of his questions openly and honestly, and have done so to this day when speaking about that auction in any forum, including this courtroom. The entire basis for the false statements charge that I was convicted of was the fact that I wrote my real name and address on a form that included the words “bona fide bidder.” When I sat there on the witness stand, Mr Romney asked me if I ever had any intention of being a bona fide bidder. I responded by asking Mr Romney to clarify what “bona fide bidder” meant in this context. Mr Romney then withdrew the question and moved on to the next subject. On that right there is the entire basis for the government’s repeated attacks on my integrity. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff, your honor.

Mr Huber also makes grand assumptions about my level of respect for the rule of law. The government claims a long prison sentence is necessary to counteract the political statements I’ve made and promote a respect for the law. The only evidence provided for my lack of respect for the law is political statements that I’ve made in public forums. Again, the government doesn’t mention my actions in regard to the drastic restrictions that were put upon my defense in this courtroom. My political disagreements with the court about the proper role of a jury in the legal system are probably well known. I’ve given several public speeches and interviews about how the jury system was established and how it has evolved to it’s current state. Outside of this courtroom, I’ve made my views clear that I agree with the founding fathers that juries should be the conscience of the community and a defense against legislative tyranny. I even went so far as to organize a book study group that read about the history of jury nullification. Some of the participants in that book group later began passing out leaflets to the public about jury rights, as is their right. Mr Huber was apparently so outraged by this that he made the slanderous accusations that I tried to taint the jury. He didn’t specify the extra number of months that I should spend in prison for the heinous activity of holding a book group at the Unitarian Church and quoting Thomas Jefferson in public, but he says you should have “little tolerance for this behavior.”

But here is the important point that Mr Huber would rather ignore. Despite my strong disagreements with the court about the Constitutional basis for the limits on my defense, while I was in this courtroom I respected the authority of the court. Whether I agreed with them or not, I abided by the restrictions that you put on me and my legal team. I never attempted to “taint” the jury, as Mr Huber claimed, by sharing any of the relevant facts about the auction in question that the court had decided were off limits. I didn’t burst out and tell the jury that I successfully raised the down payment and offered it to the BLM. I didn’t let the jury know that the auction was later reversed because it was illegitimate in the first place. To this day I still think I should have had the right to do so, but disagreement with the law should not be confused with disrespect for the law.

My public statements about jury nullification were not the only political statements that Mr Huber thinks I should be punished for. As the government’s memorandum points out, I have also made public statements about the value of civil disobedience in bringing the rule of law closer to our shared sense of justice. In fact, I have openly and explicitly called for nonviolent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal coal mining in my home state of West Virginia. Mountaintop removal is itself an illegal activity, which has always been in violation of the Clean Water Act, and it is an illegal activity that kills people. A West Virginia state investigation found that Massey Energy had been cited with 62,923 violations of the law in the ten years preceding the disaster that killed 29 people last year. The investigation also revealed that Massey paid for almost none of those violations because the company provided millions of dollars worth of campaign contributions that elected most of the appeals court judges in the state. When I was growing up in West Virginia, my mother was one of many who pursued every legal avenue for making the coal industry follow the law. She commented at hearings, wrote petitions and filed lawsuits, and many have continued to do ever since, to no avail. I actually have great respect for the rule of law, because I see what happens when it doesn’t exist, as is the case with the fossil fuel industry. Those crimes committed by Massey Energy led not only to the deaths of their own workers, but to the deaths of countless local residents, such as Joshua McCormick, who died of kidney cancer at age 22 because he was unlucky enough to live downstream from a coal mine. When a corrupted government is no longer willing to uphold the rule of law, I advocate that citizens step up to that responsibility.

This is really the heart of what this case is about. The rule of law is dependent upon a government that is willing to abide by the law. Disrespect for the rule of law begins when the government believes itself and its corporate sponsors to be above the law.

Mr Huber claims that the seriousness of my offense was that I “obstructed lawful government proceedings.” But the auction in question was not a lawful proceeding. I know you’ve heard another case about some of the irregularities for which the auction was overturned. But that case did not involve the BLM’s blatant violation of Secretarial Order 3226, which was a law that went into effect in 2001 and required the BLM to weigh the impacts on climate change for all its major decisions, particularly resource development. A federal judge in Montana ruled last year that the BLM was in constant violation of this law throughout the Bush administration. In all the proceedings and debates about this auction, no apologist for the government or the BLM has ever even tried to claim that the BLM followed this law. In both the December 2008 auction and the creation of the Resource Management Plan on which this auction was based, the BLM did not even attempt to follow this law.

And this law is not a trivial regulation about crossing t’s or dotting i’s to make some government accountant’s job easier. This law was put into effect to mitigate the impacts of catastrophic climate change and defend a livable future on this planet. This law was about protecting the survival of young generations. That’s kind of a big deal. It’s a very big deal to me. If the government is going to refuse to step up to that responsibility to defend a livable future, I believe that creates a moral imperative for me and other citizens. My future, and the future of everyone I care about, is being traded for short term profits. I take that very personally. Until our leaders take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I will continue this fight.

The government has made the claim that there were legal alternatives to standing in the way of this auction. Particularly, I could have filed a written protest against certain parcels. The government does not mention, however, that two months prior to this auction, in October 2008, a Congressional report was released that looked into those protests. The report, by the House committee on public lands, stated that it had become common practice for the BLM to take volunteers from the oil and gas industry to process those permits. The oil industry was paying people specifically to volunteer for the industry that was supposed to be regulating it, and it was to those industry staff that I would have been appealing. Moreover, this auction was just three months after the New York Times reported on a major scandal involving Department of the Interior regulators who were taking bribes of sex and drugs from the oil companies that they were supposed to be regulating. In 2008, this was the condition of the rule of law, for which Mr Huber says I lacked respect. Just as the legal avenues which people in West Virginia have been pursuing for 30 years, the legal avenues in this case were constructed precisely to protect the corporations who control the government.

The reality is not that I lack respect for the law; it’s that I have greater respect for justice. Where there is a conflict between the law and the higher moral code that we all share, my loyalty is to that higher moral code. (more…)

Corporate Slavery by Abdul Munim

Corporate Slaves:— I am Lost in the maze of regional rivalries.

Exploring the current political and social situation of the world is like putting your head into a washing machine. A lot has been written and said on this subject, but none of it makes sense to me.

Role of Media:

In the midst of regional economical rivalries fingers are pointed in all directions, no one seems to know what is going on. Mass media is feeding us with lies, lies and more lies. Shall we just blame the media and get our head out of the washing machine? (I tried, did not work) We can’t blame media for everything. Can we? Aren’t they on the same boat as us? The only difference is that they are self-deceived by their ignorance and our ignorance is influenced by them.

Political Capitalism:

Politics is a very dirty game. Perhaps we should blame politicians & diplomats and get on with our lives. (I tried, failed again) Well, there has always been crooked Politicians in the world. Whenever something goes wrong, our impulsive & collective ignorance leads us to blame them. And the real player and policy makers who fund and control the global political machinery stay hidden behind the scene.

Fears and desires are two sides of same coin:

We live in times where fear plays major role in reflecting and shaping our social values. We have been conditioned to accept fear in our lives. The fear of losing Job, The fear of losing our house, the fear of being rejected by others, the fear of not being able to provide for our family, the fear of not being able to live up to the expectation of others, All these fears is what shapes the course of our lives. We do everything possible to eliminate the fear factor from our lives and to protect our families. We lie for personal benefits. We adopt cunning strategies to compete with competitors. We make false assumptions to impress others. We don’t hesitate to pull someone’s leg for personal gains. We even use others as stepping stones to climb up the corporate ladder.

How our actions are different than a politician? One can debate that the effect of their political crimes is bigger than ours. So does the profits… Bigger the crime, bigger will be the reward. Crooked Political rulers are definitely part of the problem but they are not the problem. They are just sophisticated high level corporate slaves who have no power. They are only puppets being used and controlled by secretive oil companies and intelligence service of regional states.

corporatocracy:

It all boils down to handful of corporations who control 90% of worlds’ resources. They dominate every aspect of our lives. They own and control the governments (Check out the history of Last 10 American Presidents, They were all corporate executive at some point). They own some of the largest media outlets in the world and rest are influenced by their interests. They decide what we should eat, how we should dress, why we should go for wars and who we should war with. In short, it’s them who shape the reality of our future.

CAN WE BLAME CORPORATES?

Ant they simply doing what should be done to gain access to regional markets to secure more profits? Aren’t we all competing for power and wealth? How many of us don’t want our nation to be the most powerful nation in the world? How many of us actually realize that we are being conditioned on mass scale? How many of us want to accept that we are crammed into this rat maze only to become corporate tool for totalitarian enslavement.

Change the world by changing yourself:

How often do we think of helping others or about making a real contribution to society? Maybe most of us do a lot of thinking about it, but how many of us actually have the courage to do something about it? Imagine a slave standing up to his master when slavery was considered normal in our society. How would have people reacted in that period? Slave would probably be beaten or slaughtered…. And it will be considered normal. Now, imagine this happening today. NO YOU CAN’T? Slaves don’t exist anymore… Who do you think we are? Yes that’s exactly who we are, modern day corporate slaves. Waking up and standing against this slavery state NEEDS LOTS OF COURAGE. Do we have that courage?

Accept that we have a problem:

In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have two choices, we can either do something about it by denouncing the corporate enslavement or we can completely accept it. In my case I have no more courage left in me. I have given up to my fears and have accepted corporate slavery. And I know I am not the only one who has surrender to this conscious slavery. I am not the only one who has traded dreams with hopes. I am not the only one who has ceased to live for a better existence in a projected future. Society has programmed us all to submit to our greatest fears disguised in immense desires. It has become human nature to control the weak and take advantage of them. There is simply none to blame but us, our collective ignorance and greed has degraded and destroyed the basic sources of our life and has corrupted humanity.

By Abdul Munim,
abdulmunim518@gmail.com

Who truly has the smart phone? by Esha Chhabra

He took out two phones, gently placed them on the table. One rang. He stepped away to answer it. In the meantime, the other one rang as well. He held the phone wrapped in his hand as he attended to the first call. Polite and professional, he explained in Urdu, the door-to-door campaign would start promptly at 9 am, the workers had been briefed, and assured his regional coordinator that there would be no delay, no inconsistency. He smiled to me as he spoke, holding the other phone against his chest. “Yes, sir. Yes,” he said with assurance and in English. Click.

“Hanji, kaha ho aap?” (Yes, where are you?) Polite but more assertive this time. The other phone rested against his belly, rubbing against his shirt. He interrogated the health worker on the other end – where was he? What problem had arisen? Did he encounter some resistance in the field? He discussed it with fury, frustration evident on his fatigued face. “Okay, okay, aap kam karo. Mein dekhta hoon.” (Okay, you do your work. Let me see what I can do.)

The other phone slipped back in his ear. Again polite and professional. “Yes, sir. Problem identify ho gaya hai (the problem’s been identified). I’ll go now.” He nodded. His eyes scanned the other phone. He was searching for a contact. He scrolled up and down, pressing with force. The phone had clearly been a part of his immunization campaign for years- scratched at the corners and the screen sullied in the field.

He looked up. “Yes, sir. I’ll call again once I’m there and report.”

And again, he turned to his other mobile, the battered one, to make a call.

Umar is a health worker for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in a small city in Uttar Pradesh, India. He has been at this campaign for over seven years. His task: manage the immunization round, verify that there are no resistant households, attend to the ones that are questioning the vaccine, help orchestrate medical camps, consult with the local politicians and Rotary community, and coordinate with UNICEF and WHO workers, among his many other duties.

So, when I arrived in Aligarh, four hours outside of Delhi, to take part in another immunization round, I was keen to meet with him, get an update. I asked for his number via email and got two options. Which one would be better, I asked?

Both, he said. One in each pocket.

Turns out that this was quite common. Many have multiple phones to save: calls within a network are free or cheaper generally. He, however, had a specific reason for each. Reliance is India’s one of biggest telecomm companies with coverage spanning UP. So, naturally Umar had a Reliance SIM card. The other was with BSNL, the government-sponsored telecomm company. Though weak in coverage, dropping calls often and not as good as the private giants like Reliance and Airtel, BSNL is inexpensive and widely used by the poor. Because Umar routinely speaks with people can only afford the BSNL network, he keeps that one on hand as well.

So, being mindful of his work, he has one in each pocket.

What’s even more striking, though, than the abundance of mobiles, considering that more people in the developing world have access to a mobile than a clean toilet, is what entrepreneurs have been able to do with these phones. With the ability to educate and empower young girls through mobile games, provide telemedicine services, offer a market place of goods, access to loans, and more, they have become a catalyst for development. Even with just SMS-based programs, they have the capacity to rival the most polished “smartphones” in terms of utility.

Much of this innovation is taking place in the most unglamorous of offices – out in the dusty roads of villages, on the farms, in the fishing villages, at the heart of overcrowded slums and amidst populations who have not really been invited into the globalized world.

As I came back to the States and continued to communicate with him, it became apparent to me that even though India had become famous for its technical expertise, brainy computer scientists, and innovative engineers, Internet penetration had yet to reach those at the bottom-of-the-pyramid. His responses were delayed, by weeks, if not months. Many of them just directed me to give him a call to discuss instead. That would be easier, he said; he had to wait at Internet cafes, the prices were too high for him to pay regularly, and the process too tiresome and time-consuming. Even friends, living comfortably in the cities, complained of slow broadband services. Rather, they were glued to their mobiles.

For me, it meant many more late-night calls, trying to whisper but succumbing to loud conversations, as he battled the background noise of horns, traffic, and many others chattering away on their phones, to hear me. We coordinated on how we could use mobiles to identify more polio patients in the field, send their data to a doctor in Delhi, and get them the surgery they needed to walk again. Again, we used the mobile – note down the symptoms, take a few photos, and send it directly to a doctor who’d been doing the service for polio patients for years.

As I started to dabble in this space myself, I consulted the help of others, tried to learn from existing examples, and drew from their stories on how such simple devices, without any apps, without any Internet connection, without any bells and whistles, were able to challenge convention. Individuals who’d never had any contact with technology before used their phone with such ease. In contrast to ladies who lunched in the metros and still failed to send a SMS, village women were using it with confidence to access a marketplace.

Thus, this is a series of vignettes of a growing movement on how the mobile is bringing more people into the modern globalized world. And making us ask, who truly has the smartphone?

Anger : sent in by Abdul Munim

A father threw his 10-month-old son to his death from the 14th floor of an apartment block in Shanghai’s Minhang District yesterday, police said.

Afterwards, the man, surnamed Zhu, tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists. He is recovering from his injuries in hospital.

Neighbors said Zhu, 29, and his wife, Wang, 28, were having “a fierce row” at about 3:40pm. Suddenly, the husband threw the baby out of the window, a witness said.

The mother rushed outside but could do nothing to save her child.

I came across this news by chance. I was stunned surprised, I had literally felt the earth move below me. I momentarily lost the track of time and surrounding. The mental image of the aftermath of the whole situation had affected me so deeply that nothing seemed important to me anymore. I could not concentrate on work for hours. My mind kept creating visual impression of the whole situation. I saw the miserable mother running through hallways screaming, praying & hoping for a miracle. She screamed so loud that all of her neighbors came out. Her screams grew bigger with every step towards her dying son. Finally, she approaches her son and finds him lying in a pool of blood. Clinging to a desperate hope of a miracle she leans down holds him, and wishes it all to be one of those lucid bad dreams which seem real.

By now the poor father snaps out of his anger and realizes what he has done. He realizes that he has gone way over the line and has lost everything to one moment of anger. The shocking realization of his stupidity suffocates him. An unbearable pain of regret hits him like a train. Shocked, Confuse, Depress and victim of his own dilemma, he decides to kill himself. He goes to the kitchen and cuts his wrist.

Anger is a very dangerous state of mind. Anger can easily turn into a brief madness if not dealt with. Above situation is a stunning example of anger taking over. The poor guy lost control, and a momentary anger brought him a life time of regret… uncontrolled anger lead killings have become very common in our society. It’s happening almost in every country… Especially in South Asia.

Question i keep asking myself!!
What causes anger in us and who is responsible for all the anger in our society? Could it be capitalism leading us to an unbalanced society?
Why are there so many people angry about all sorts of things out there? Could there be something terribly wrong with us?

The massacare of 1947… Was it pure hate Or anger taking over ?