Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I renew my appeal in my previous blog “As proletariat let us educate the masses to choose
the one that is “incorruptible”, can offer "good governance", can connect with the masses and involve them in their own growth. He was applauded by many foreigners too in the same vent.”

"Hurt mind seeks solace in sleep. Sleeping mind dreams sweet. Dreams are what remain for the poor. Poor do not need rulers who loot their dreams too!" One Telugu lyricist wrote long ago.

When the hungry get angry they bit their lips. They forget their anger once they see blood on their lips. They cant hurt their oppressors. “The tragedy of the poor is that they can afford nothing but self denial', said Oscar Wilde.For them poverty is a fact of life. Blood on the bitten lips and redness in the eyes form part of their lives. Albert Einstein said, “ An empty stomach is not a good political adviser”. Hence poor are not invited into TV studios to explain their plight. Rich people take their mantle. Nobel laureates lecture. Planning Commission speaks, while its chairman and members fly overseas. They do not talk about poor man or poverty. They moralize about riots. They castigate a CM They do not eulogize the work done by the CM to eradicate poverty. They do not say many words why poor are perennially poor and why rich are richer. They do not go into root causes of poverty. Instead, they rout for individuals who have an ability to better the lives of the people. Might be some of them aspire to rule the nation and ruin the the poor further with their “drawing room” economics or 'boardroom politics”. The country had enough of an economist PM by default. Let us pray God there were no repeat.

Why are the poor poorer by the day? Charles Darwin said, 'If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature but by our institutions, great is our sin.” It speaks volumes. Gradual erosion in the moral fiber and gradual erosion in the authority of institutions is the bane. Comatose approach to running but uncanny agility in ruining institutions all but demolished them. This started in Indira's regime and but for a few years of rule under two effective and noble PM s this continued. The malaise took deep roots after 2004.

When an economist PM took over the reins of the nation in 2004, everyone expected a corruption free, glowing economy. For, he is an honest face, an experienced bureaucrat and a proven economist. It took a while to know that behind the veil of honesty the real face is ineptness. The real quality is inability to tackle crises. The real problem is his ambition to continue in power come what may. The real malaise is his self-denial. The crux of the whole rot lies in his silence and select quotes to silence his conscience.

Truth and honesty are not contemporary. A truthful man need not be honest. He tells the truth. But he is dishonest in his thought. An honest man may not tell the truth. But the fact that he is lying, is hidden behind his smiling, honest face. Because he knows he is not telling truth, he remains silent. Silence too is a lie. If you see an accident, a molestation or a robbery on road and do not vouchsafe to the truth before the authorities you are as good as lying. For a party ruling the country, for a head of state and for a ruling party chief the people are the masters. They are the authorities. If one is not talking truth to them directly when corruption is rampant, when scams break out and when public money is being looted by covert means, he is as good as lying. He is as good as dishonest. Then why are all these 'veils' of honesty?' If they keep information pertaining to a family 'confidential' whither his truthfulness? Why is there RTI?

So, the result is the country plunged into a mire of scams. When VANPIC and irrigation Scams in AP, Adarsh and irrigation scams in Maharashtra, the CWG and 2G (to quote a few) were made public on massive scale he said “Law will take its course”. When the massive “Coal Scam” in his own Ministry was unearthed he said meekly “I don't know”. The purport of all these scams is that it caused the exchequer loss of about Rs. 5.00 lakh crore. And poor remained poor. They admit themselves 67% of population require a meager 5 kg of food grains per month. They urgently issue an 'ordinance' as, according to their young spokesperson, any delay might lead to a calamitous situation In a way they agree 67% of people are kept poor over the years. They think of spending 3% of GDP on this scheme. They see it as 'game changer' not for the 'poor' but for their party. Their leader is a mute spectator for all this.

Any man with common sense would have known that the amount involved in scams, if invested in employment generation through infrastructure development and manufacturing, people would have crossed the poverty line. They would have had education. They would have had better living conditions, better roads, electricity, public toilets, sanitation and purified water. They do not want to do it. This is not about the PM or his party. They are politicians. They are not above self. They want people to remain poor, illiterate and dependent on their mercy. This is about economists. To be precise it is about a particular economist. He is a Nobel Prize winner in economics. His feelings and speeches hurt more than that of the PM or his mentors.

He visits India now and then. One leader described him as a “migratory bird'. Because he is from West we can call him a 'night bird' too. His sense of reality about India is minimal. He rarely lived in India. He was never poor, God bless him and his family. He never lived in India among villagers. He never saw pregnant young ladies working in fields till their ninth month of pregnancy with a hand over their waist to control the piercing pain. He never heard women delivering babies in thatched sheds in fields with hardly any cover or medical aid. He never saw women carrying two/three month old babies behind their backs working in fields. He never saw women carrying a small pot of water to the far away fields to attend nature's calls with half shyness. 

He never saw villagers suffering from twelve hour power cuts with almost all small businesses dying naturally and agricultural pump sets burning. He never saw village men and women sharing day and night in fields for power to the motors, as nobody knows when the power is available Did he ever see huge mosquitoes biting just born babies trying to suck blood that is not there in their body? No. He never might have seen women walking a mile or two for a pot of potable unprotected water. Did he ever travel on the mud roads to a village in red buses? These are our villages. The villages that Mahatma Gandhi wanted us to see the nation through. He saw them. He lived there. I saw them. I lived there. I saw my mother undergoing the trauma for fourteen years. That does not make me a  Gandhi or a better economist than the one from the West, just as his vision of India, seen thorough huge economics books, does not make him a better politician than a Modi or a Nitish Kumar.

So when he talks about one model or the other he is seeing it through his books. Both models are good for their respective states. We have to see the inherent leadership qualities. Just because one and only riot took place in his State, one CM need not be ostracized for ever. How many CMs were haunted like that for the hundreds of riots that took place in the country post independence? Did the PM of the country face public and media trial for the 1984 riots. When he remarked “When huge tree falls...”,it is a non-issue. If a CM says 'even if a puppy falls under his car wheels which he was not driving', he turns communal. Shall we do so with the other CM because 23 children died there due to state negligence? Or shall we accept his argument of conspiracy by another state? Is this the type of the economist's vision of India by pitting one CM against the other? Only one of them speaks about the other. The other does not comment. That is his dignified way of dealing. Our Nobel economist lacks that dignity.

Then, the question is whether a particular leader is qualified to be a national leader. Is he not better than the untried and the imposed one just because of his lineage? Where do all these politicians come from? Are they not from grassroots? Did we not see a panchayath president becoming a CM with the sheer experience of 'good governance' in his panchayath? Why is all this noise? What the PM aspirant is telling us is about  good governance in his state. He never said he would replicate it at the national level. He is clearly stating his vision for viable solutions to the national problems, not his state's way but differently. He is telling us that when he did it at the state level the non-corrupt way, he could do it at the national level. The other leader is never seen doing this. Nobody does know what his model is in many of his own words.

Now, about the silence part. When the economist speaks about models of growth, inclusive growth or catering to the poor through subsidies, why is he not not talking about massive erosion of national wealth by the powerful? Why is he not castigating the PM for turning a deaf ear to all his critiques of the scams? I can not castigate the economist for his silence, without proof. But he goes around blaming a good leader about human rights violations without proof. Why is he not telling people their wealth was looted by those people in power to the tune of lakhs of crores, thus making them poorer by day? That their basic human right of living a dignified life with full stomachs is being violated daily by highly corrupt politicians? Why doesn't he tell them they could have had a better life if all that money, the mines, the land, the water, the power, the roads et al were made available to them? Why does he still support a 'novice' for PM post with the same blood and background?

It is for people to surmise the reason behind the silence. I do not say it is ambition. I do not say it is collusion. I do not say it is confusion, I do not say he is ignorant of all these facts. Please draw your own conclusions and vote that one only, to whom he said he won't vote. Please do not vote to the one whom he would prefer as a 'better choice'. Let me quote Noel Coward

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”

Let us come out of the shock of honest faces or dishonest faces behind veils of honesty and see the truth.
I repeat

I renew my appeal in my previous blog “As proletariat let us educate the masses to choose
the one that is “incorruptible”, can offer "good governance", can connect with the masses and involve them in their own growth. He was applauded by many foreigners too in the same vent.”


Sunday, July 28, 2013


A “huge controversy” (the likes of those on which our Main Stream Media sells news to viewers 24X7) broke out last week when a very noble Nobel Laureate spoke to a cross section of (self) celebrated Journalists on two models of governance, whom and why he would not vote, who he likes to talk to and feels he is a better alternative to rule over the nation and the purported human rights violations by a particular Chief Minister, who was denied Visa by an alien Government on the same grounds of HR violation as per their immigration policy. (The same alien government is under huge fire from the world for their alleged human rights violations across the world, to ensure world peace by allegedly killing innocent foreign citizens in a cross fire to eliminate the 'scourge' of terrorism in the world). This follows closely on another equally 'huge controversy” raised by the Media about a purportedly forged letter sent to the US President asking him to deny Visa to the Chief Minister of a State for the same reason. Which is again followed by three similar “huge controversies” caused by two leaders with their words “puppy falls under wheels” , “ veil of secularism' and 'English Language desecrated our culture” by leaders of a party that is taboo to these “Human Rights” advocates” and Media, to whatever they say. (If one more ex-CM talks 'rubbish' we should read the thoughts in his invisible mind than the words themselves). Which once again was followed by a supposedly concocted story of a CM's rescue operation ( code named “Rambo”) of 15000 flood victims of his State. This obfuscated the real issue of loss of lives of thousands of pilgrims in the tragedy and the ineptness of the State CM to even come out with a figure of actual casualties in the tragedy till date or the total insensitivity of another CM in not addressing the problems of people of his own State but was very sensitive and articulate to the alleged Human Rights violations by another CM,that,anyhow, was not his cup of tea.

One main issue was lost in the 'melee”, in the “din” and in the 'noise' created by the commonplace topics like the thoughts and words of a noble Nobel Laureate that rarely lived in India, but still thinks it his right as an Indian Citizen (?) to dabble in Indian politics, to as far as to say that his unproven College Student that never had bureaucratic, political or administrative experience (a novice) is a better alternative to lead the country than another. In the 'brouhaha' of the controversy over the letter of the MPs or the off-the-cuff remarks of the-by-now “forbidden by the nobles” opposition politicians and in the 'fracas' created by the other equally 'frivolous' controversies, trumpeted by the Media for days, the real issue was beclouded. Or was it  purportedly a clear ploy by the Media and their alleged patrons 'per se' to deflect the nation's attention from its fatiguing puzzle? That enigma, that puzzle is the conundrum of 'corruption', the issue of 'institutionalized corruption' and the mystery of huge scams by which the nation's wealth was allegedly sought to be looted and diverted into the coffers of a few individuals or political parties. The meat and potatoes of the discussion in this blog is why these noble people, the Nobel Laureates, the erudite and the enlightened do not see that the real cause of poverty of the emaciated, the poor and the deprived sections of the Indian Society lies in this noxiousness of a few select, selfish individuals and their greed? Why is the Media playing their fiddle to the tunes of these noble classes who border their arguments on audacity, ambivalence and absurdity, who shuffle their erudition for what they know better and who cater to the whims and fancies of the select few whom they consider as 'blue eyed boys' fit to rule the nation? What is their hidden (if they think it is still hidden like the cat drinking milk closing eyes and feigning the world is not seeing) agenda behind these diversionary tactics? Before we finally come to the issue, let us briefly discuss the purport of these scams, their perpetrators, the mute spectators, the side show players, the trumpeters and the stealthy cats that close their eyes and those who seek to brush these huge misdeeds under the carpet of “Human Rights” violations, Rambo act controversies, veiled controversies and words, not 'thoughts behind words' controversies.

Indira Gandhi, during her days of ascendancy, once commented on the corruption that involved only bribing or money changing hands those days, “Corruption is a 'global phenomenon and I have no 'magic wand' to remove it.” The parrots that ruled later repeated the statement since then but invented a 'magic wand' to multiply it by unimaginable proportions. The inflation rate in corruption is beyond comprehension and hence can not be quantified or we should have another Commission to roll out fantasy statistics which those who govern them too can not fathom. Not only that, they invented new methods by which large tracts of land, mines, water, air and even the energy of the Sun could be swindled and show their 'baby faces' to the world to counterfeit innocence. The ingenuous methods involve no “wetting the palms” and hence no instrument invented till date can prove the palms are wet. India might be lacking in research potential for the general good but has immense potential that can be exploited by a few for their own benefit. It encompassed all political parties across the spectrum, only the degree varies. And it is not a “global phenomenon”. Those innocent guys are still researching in 'abstract' subjects for national good.

It all started with the Bofors controversy surfacing in Sweden Radio saying that middlemen were involved in the arms purchase from”Bofors” Company and an amount Rs.64 crore allegedly changed hands. No less than the name of the then PM (whose name is being sought to be tagged to the #FSB) was mentioned and an Italian national having connections with his immediate family was said to be the main beneficiary. A national news paper printed daily update from two of their leading Journos who did a lot of research, providing important inputs. (Now the paper is on the other side of the magic spectrum; hence does not talk with authority). Case dragged on and was recently closed giving clean chit to all for lack of evidence. As we respect the investigating agencies, the laws of the land and the judiciary, we do not express any contrary opinion. All is well that ends well.

But there was another scandal that attracted headlines in 1971. Youth of this day might not know it. It was the Nagarwala Cash controversy. It was alleged that Nagarwala, a former officer of RAW mimicked the voice of Indira Gandhi to draw Rs.60 lakhs from the Parliament Street Branch of SBI. Opposition cried foul, a commission was appointed by the Janata Party Government in 1977 that found no evidence. The anti climax was the mysterious death of both the investigating officer hit by a car and Nagarwala's death in jail. Again we respect the law of land and say all is well that ends well.

In 1993 the then PM allegedly bribed six members of JMM to win a vote of confidence in Parliament. He was convicted but a higher court dismissed the judgment. It happened in 2000, by which time he fell out of favor of the all powerful Congress High Command. If I remember well he justified his action saying if the Government did not survive the day the Nation would not have. I am not competent enough to comment on that. But the irony is that both  national parties entered into tacit understanding with the same man from JMM to form governments in his state all in the name of saving democracy. BJP ( to my knowledge) stopped short of offering CM post to the party. But Congress stooped to win the next elections by hook or by crook. Now his son is CM of Jarkhand with Congress support. Again all is well that ends well.

The above is the tip of the iceberg. As times changed new methods were invented. As the corruption scandals involving other parties, specially the BJP were either minor or were advanced by interested parties including the intellectuals and pseudo intellectuals, they are not mentioned here. Some major scams involving other regional players will be discussed in the next blog. Though even minor corruption is not acceptable, it is time the BJP either tames these black sheep or cleans its stables of the over fed horses that refuse to race the main course. The country looks forward to BJP's new national leader and his team to do this job effectively and bring decorum back to public life. I am personally confident he can do it, given his track record of 'corruption free governance'.

By now it is clear to the political parties, specially those ruling that 'wetting of palms' will expose themselves to public scrutiny. The UPA I Government took over power under a very honest Prime Minister after the supreme sacrifice of his leader and mentor, in the national interest and upholding the highest moral values that India stood for since the times of Lord Rama! At the same time a Chief Minister took over a State in South under the Congress rule and many more states had CM s who are highly innovative in their approach to corruption. In order to eradicate the existing corruption, they invented new formula to show to the world there was no corruption. At the same time they played "Robin Hood' by keeping the masses under leash with huge subsidies and Schemes to secure their own future in the name of many kinds of "securities", they offered to the poor population, that the Prince waiting to enter the 'shoes' on offer for PM post wanted his cadres to publicize. “Show us corruption”, they challenged. True, how can anyone prove that which does not exist. We can not theorize these issues like “God exists, but we cant see Him like we cant see air” We need the hard evidence. And as long as masses get their 'daily bread', they need no other luxury that these "Human Gods'" enjoy at their cost.

Then the lid blew. The skeletons started falling one by one from the cupboards of the ruling party and their allies. In the ultimate analysis it is coming to light that the ingenuous methods adopted by the powerful and those in power left the country almost on the precipice of bankruptcy. Some were jailed, some are waiting at the jail doors while some others are making fervent efforts to escape the noose. The intriguing aspect of the whole saga is that noble persons including the honest Prime Minister, Nobel Laureates that visit the country now and then to rake up “huge controversies', the Media that feed us the “huge controversies”, the Human Rights Activists and who so ever matter in public life talk more about 2002 riots than the loot of the nation that killed the aspirations of 1.2 billion people, that is killing many just- born babies due ill nourishment, that is killing the mothers wishing to deliver babies due to lack of nourishment, killing people in road and rail accidents due to lack of infrastructure, killing people of hunger, malnutrition, lack of water and medical facilities. The list goes on. The Human Rights Activists who cry foul from roof tops on other issues do not have the kindness to talk of these deaths in lakhs. Nobody justifies the riots of 1984 or 2002. No one justifies Operation Blue Star. But this “invisible genocide”occupies the prime place where minimum human rights are violated on a daily basis by the corrupt governments and their cohorts. And words spoken in silence by these noble men are hardly audible in the din of the “huge controversies” the Media fills our ears with.

The issue is not closed here and hence will be continued in the next 'blog'. It is for the educated to educate the masses of the massive erosion in national wealth by corrupt means. And whomsoever the noble persons might decide as their preference to lead the nation, let us leave it to their nobility. As proletariat let us educate the masses to choose the one that is “incorruptible”, can offer "good governance", can connect with the masses and involve them in their own growth. He was applauded by many foreigners too in the same vent.


Friday, July 26, 2013



This blog was published when the Nobel Laurate pitted Nitish against Modi. The clock turned a full circle. Modi showed Nitish his place. He did not learn nor Amartya Sen. 

I could see what a Nobel Economist could see. The reason is I am a poor Indian, he is a rich foreigner with Indian Citizenship and a Barkha and a Burkha of semi-knowledge about what India is.

I am an Indian. Hence, I felt it my right and my choice to address you personally. I am fully Indian, as I was born here, I was brought up here, I was educated here, I worked here,I grew old here and I am going to die here. Besides, I saw poverty. I knew poverty. I lived in poverty. I knew what empty stomach was. I knew what it felt like to go to college with half - filled stomach. I knew what it felt to spend college days with two or three pairs of dresses,with no sandals. I knew what it felt like to walk three miles daily in heat and rain to study, with no money to buy an umbrella. There were many people who suffered more through ages and there are still those suffering more than me. I do not know any other economics than the economics of poverty. I did not study economics nor politics. I saw it not through my eyes but through my poverty. I knew what it felt to excel in everything but not being able to beat poverty. Hence, I like people who smell poverty. I deride those who sell poverty for votes. I like people who attack poverty. I don't like those who mock poverty with their “Rs.12/- a full meal or Rs.5/- a full meal”  statements. I repeat I am a pure, poor Indian. I knew how it felt to grow very fast in life and be a 'blued eyed boy' in the eyes of each and every one and at the same time draw their envy and bad blood. I knew how it felt being pulled down the ladder by jealous bigots, but rise like Phoenix from my ashes. This is where I like Mr. Modi. Detractors are not able to detract his vision. Whether I will vote for Mr. Modi or not I will not reveal. Because India has a secret ballot system as per electoral practices. And it does not have a system of rejection too. Hence, if I love my democracy, I will not say I will not vote for a certain individual too. I respect the practices of my land. And I proudly claim I am an Indian. It is not an issue to be discussed in TV studios. It is not an issue to be discussed on Skype with (self) celebrated Journalists. It is not an issue in the public domain to be tweeted by the said Journalist that some one said so and so. I did not hear it and hence cant vouch as to the veracity of her claim. But the fact is, people by now know whom you will not vote for, which even a layman in India never tells in public. To whom you will vote is still a matter of surmise, I am happy. I am also surprised to note another noted economist voicing similar opinion, that he won't vote for Modi or Rahul. Do two opinions and two votes decide the fate of India, one of the largest democracies? What happens to millions of voters and their opinions?

You are a Nobel Laureate. To that extent I have the highest respect and regard for you. For, Alfred Nobel was very noble. I am lucky to have seen the hall where these Nobel Prizes are given. It is a dream for many people, to get the Nobel Prize. You lived that dream. I bow to your wisdom. You are also a Bharath Ratna. Those who confer the award might not be as noble as Nobel. (Though I consider the man who gave the same to you as much noble as Nobel himself). I respect you, with the greatest respect to your erudition and wisdom, for the fact that you received it from such a great visionary. But, so many did not receive it also. Mahatma Gandhi did not. Indira Gandhi did not. They too worked with the poor and for the poor. Whether you feel the pride of getting the award , I do not know nor venture to surmise. You took offense at a gentleman like you, an Indian citizen like you (but did not share his vote preference to public, though) for asking the Government to take back the award. India is a free country. Each one can air his opinion as long as it is not offensive. I do not support his view either. But after we saw you in the past one week in Indian TV studios we, many Indians feel you deserve it, the Bharath Ratna , too.

I heard you say Gujarat model would not work for India as the Bihar or Kerala model. As I said, I did not know the economics of it much. The line of argument that you wanted to take forward from petty politicians in India was that Gujarat was already prosperous, then why is this great propaganda? Or inclusive growth was not assured. You must be knowing, as you claim you to be an Indian citizen, that nine years back Andhra Pradesh in the South was very prosperous too. It might not be as much as Gujarat, but it was very prosperous. It was not one of the “BIMARU” states. Why don't you compare the ground situation in these two states today? Let me not break my head with Planning Commission statistics or indices/indexes they roll out now and then to tell us that everything is rosy hiding the thorns behind the roses under a 'veil'. I do not respect these mandrains as they do not know the value of Rs.33/- in an Urban Indian Center. Half a Dollar or little more? Half a Kilo fine rice costs more in Mumbai. Half a kilo tomato costs more in Mumbai. One kilo onions costs more in Mumbai. We do not get half a kilo peanuts with that money in Mumbai. It is peanuts or less. But our planning commission loses the fact at election time. It is a different issue. So if I say AP today is not prosperous they roll out statistics that they only understand or don't understand (I don't know) saying AP is more prosperous today. But people see it as they are poorer there.

You are a noble person as you won the Nobel Prize in a subject that many fear to enter, the “Economics”. I respect you for it. You are an honorable person. I bow for it. But you preferred to discuss the already murky political scene in India, by addressing select audience who never smelled poverty, but for a few. I certainly did not like it though it is your personal preference. ( I am a petty Indian, but still an Indian and I am proud to say “I”). You seem to be driving home the point that such and such a person is not preferable in your view to be the PM of India and the reason given by you is, simply laughable. I do not go into it as I am sensible enough not to tag religion or economics with politics. Politicians have a right and duty to speak economics and discuss it. But the other way round, many economists do not do it in public. Even our most dignified PM keeps silent on politics though it is his duty to do so in order to rule the country. That you chose to discuss politics, it was your personal choice.

It seems you did not stop short of not liking a particular person to be PM, but you expressed preference to another leader. In your view his model woks for India. In India these two are not the only leaders that showed high acumen in administration. But all can not be PMs. A leader is not only the one who can rouse the aspirations of masses and work for their uplift but involve them through his leadership in their own growth. A leader is not the one who keeps a Sphinx like silence when the country is in turmoil but still quotes a famous poet to say his silence speaks more words than all the noise. There is no proof anyone with two healthy ears in India ever heard the silent words. It is a different subject.

But the leader whom you vouched for acted no differently. When there were severe floods in a State in India and the people from the whole country were wailing at the loss of lives of their loved ones (including from his own State) he was seen mostly in TV studios discussing why a particular leader was not suitable for PM post. He was seen discussing murky politics at the time of an unprecedented tragedy. Do you still feel he is a fit PM candidate? When 23 children died in his own state after eating “Mid day meal” he hid his face under the deep sands like an “ostrich”and did not feel it appropriate to go round studios telling people not to panic and that he was in-charge of the State whose model he trumpets day in and day out and economists and petty politicians play the side show. After nine days he surfaces (not in public view) but in a closed door party meeting telling the world through them that he smelled conspiracy by the opposition without as much disclosing why and what made him to come to such a conclusion. Do you still want him as PM of the country? Our respected PM never called anybody 'a conspirator'.

I learned from your life profile that your father was Chairman of West Bengal Public Service Commission, your grand father was VC of Viswa Bharathi University and your mother was the first cousin of the first Chief Election Commissioner of India, MP and Ex-Minister. ( I got it from Wiki and cant vouch for veracity). So you are as much an Indian as any Indian is, more so because of the high positions your people occupied under various Governments by their sheer knowledge and capability and not by their political affiliation. But your career in Economics was mostly abroad except a brief and the most applauded stint at Delhi School of Economics. You are one of the brightest economists the world has seen. But the nagging question in the minds of Indians today is “How much do you have a sense of the ground reality in India, when you spent an entire life in Foreign Universities, deeply drowned in books and teaching and bringing out more and more bright economists into the world every year?” Is it better than a Modi or a Nitish Kumar or than any ordinary Indian that struggles day in and day out to buy half a kg. of Tomato?

It is reported in Hindustan Times (I repeat as published). “ Did I like Rahul Gandhi? Yes, he is from my College. When I talk to him, I enjoy it ...He might be an excellent alternative, but I haven't decided yet.” I leave it to your better judgment what the millions of voters will have to decide if one or two eminent personalities decide who should lead India.

I still would have had the same grand respect for you even if you discussed your political economics vis a vis two states or economic politics of India without naming any  names. But still I carry the highest respect for your erudition as I have it for our erudite PM. It starts and ends there,

With the greatest respects,

Yours sincerely,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Shall we see Swamy Vivekananda as a Monk who renounced worldly pleasures to lead a life of renunciation or as a man more “worldly” than the lesser mortals? The dilemma persists if we do not study the Man and Monk in him. True he, said “When you have no bread, whither religion” He lived between 1863-1902. Though M.K. Gandhi was born in 1869, he started public life at a time when Swamiji attained Maha Samadhi. (Final Journey). 

In latter days Gandhi too said, I quote,

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

Relevance of Swamy Vivekananda is reflected in the words of Gandhi and what Gandhi stood for is relevant even today.

An Assessment of Swamiji's teachings to world culture was made by British Historian who said “in centuries to come he will be remembered as one of the moulders of modern world
His primary contribution is defining religion as “Science”, more Scientific than science itself. He defined religion as the “science of the self-reality” In his view Science and Religion are complimentary. The religious intolerance of present day, dogmatic approach of few individual bigots, the theory of “science is superior to religion” are all born out of ignorance of Swamyjee's world view.

Swamyjee's stress on “Meditaion” to attain self-realization for common good is commendable. Present day society is torn with immorality, corruption of body and mind, crime and violence. Swamyjee enunciated the “supremacy of soul” and that by seeing the inner self only, one can attain heights of humanism immersed in spirituality. An understanding of this simple concept would make the world happier.

While on one hand he made the West to understand the great cultural, social and religious ethos, on the other hand he taught Indians to imbibe the Western Science and Technological advances through research. Today we stand high in the eyes of the West only because of Philosophers like the Swamyjee. So too, the West learned a lot through his teachings, especially family values from India.

Another area where Swamyjee's teachings apply today are his stress on realization of “Atman” through Meditation as the only way to attain high moralistic ethos. He stressed that one can not attain morals by fear of Law of the land or Laws of the Heaven, called Karma. He stressed “Strength, Strength!” . Moral strength through strength of soul attained by meditation. He stressed no disease can get hold on humans if they are strong by soul and body.

His stress on environment is equally valid today. Population explosion is, according to him, one of the reasons for deprivation and environmental pollution. Man's over dependence on other beautiful creations of God like tress, animals, flora and fauna and their eventual annihilation for assuaging human hunger, leads to unmitigated harm to environment, according to him.

His relevance to the society today is more than at any time in view of the turmoil in the world. The other teachings of the Swamyjee are equally relevant and will be discussed in subsequent papers.

And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.        64
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment        68
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;        72
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,        76
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,        80
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.        84
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!

Polonius' advice to his son forms part of the tragedy of "Hamlet", one of the greatest plays from the immortal Shakespeare. Shakespeare is an avid reader of human psychology, more so the human weaknesses. And his writings applied then, apply now and will apply for the thousands of years to come.

In my previous blog I dealt with the chinks that develop in Indian traditional families with the uncompromising attitude of elders. Here we are to see how children too play a cankerous role to propel the internecine squabbles in families and act as catalysts to the existing ones.

That Indians, by culture and nature give prominence to family to individual growth is an accepted fact. Hence, the attachment of children to parents and vice versa is a fait accompli. The advice of Shakespeare through the character of Polonius is apt to discuss the role of children in the society and family.

Elders in India have a vice like grip on the lives their grown up children . They wish the children to act or behave as per their wish. It might be an advice or a diktat. Children have a responsibility to separate milk from water and act like Swans.

By the time a son understands what his father or mother said, he will have a son to question his thoughts (sic.). Sons and daughter have a responsibility to respect views of the elders, at the same time not falling into the trap of sentimentalism to the extent of not having their own views. We can analyze this with what Shakespeare said centuries back.

"Do not give vent your thoughts overtly, nor put into action your covert thoughts. Circumspection is needed about voicing your thoughts and acting on them. This applies universally. Make friends after trying their adaptability to your tastes and purse. Make such, your bosom friends, but never entertain lavishly on any new found friend. Never pick up quarrel but once you are in it, never back out. Famous Telugu poet Vemana  wrote this part Centuries prior to Shakespeare thus:

పట్టుపట్టరాదు పట్టివిడువరాదు
పట్టెనేని బిగియ పట్టవలయు
పట్టువిడుటకన్నా పడిచచ్చుటేమేలు
విశ్వదాభిరామ వినుర వేమ! 
Take never a stance that's  too rigid,
Stand once taken never turn livid,
Once held tight never lose your hold,
Better be wasted than loosen your attitude.

Take each man's criticism in the right spirit but decide for yourself whether his censure is right or wrong. Hear each; never preach. Never spend beyond your means nor look too luxurious in your habits. Never borrow nor lend, as when you lend you might lose money as well as friendship. If you borrow beyond means it ruins you. Finally, if you are true to yourself, you will be true to all. This dictum follows Nature's course as night is followed by day."

Many traditional families are in tatters due to the uncompromising attitude of either the elders or the children. To advise a son to be thrifty is not wrong but to meddle in their affairs is beyond the domain of elders. Likewise, children too should understand the raison de'etre behind the advice and manage their affairs within means. Parents in India look to children for support during old age, as in a country as over populated as India, it is not possible for Seniors to get social security. Children should understand this and that a day will be evening for them too before they go into the night. As age grows, elders behave like children sans everything and this is the time children should respond to their needs as they do with toddlers.

తల్లితండ్రులందు దయలేని పుత్రుండు
పుట్టనేమి? వాడు గిట్టనేమి?
పుట్టలోని చెదలు పుట్టదా గిట్టదా
విశ్వదాభిరామ వినుర వేమ! 15

An unsympathetic son,

A nest-full of vermin,

What if they are born,

For parents aren't they barren?

This is how Vemana described an unkind son towards parents. Instances are not lacking where parents who spent all their life's earnings on children begging for alms while children enjoy not only their blood but also the riches acquired through sacrifice of their blood. 

The number of years a human lives on earth is predestined and no one should curse the other for living so many years. I have seen a son grieving their father is living even after he attained superannuation. "When shall I enjoy my life?", he asks. This question is likely to be repeated few years hence. 

It is time we redefine our cultural values in relation to family relations and both elders and children adapt to the changing societal equation, the globalization of thoughts and economy, the trials and tribulations of the day to day life and other aspects, leaving aside sentiments that despoil our family peace. 

When the Ocean of Milk was churned by the angels and demons, both Nectar and poison oozed out. How we enjoy the Nectar and how we swallow the poison is left to our conscience without hurting ourselves when we churn the Ocean called family, with both the angels and demons in our inner thoughts fighting with each other always.


Monday, July 22, 2013


All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

These immortal lines from Shakespeare's play "As you like it' succinctly state the stages of life each mortal has to pass through life. In a subtle but candid humor, Shakespeare places the first and seventh one on the same pedestal, when the mortal is dependent on a kind nurse. The first stage is considered as a 'favor' from 'Almighty' and the seventh an 'adversity' imposed on the human by the Gods for all  sins they committed. This very understanding or the opposite of it decides the nuances of human relations in life. 

In the same play Shakespeare shares an advice to those who see adversity as a curse.

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

Any one who understands the philosophy behind these lines knows that the beginning and end are both the blessing of God. Then, the old too will be nursed as an infant. Old treat children as grown ups.

But world does not run on what philosophers or poets say or write. Philosophers, poets, prophets, statesmen and ourselves are brothers under the skin, and we should avoid the mistaken notion great men are great always.(Sic.)  So, the world forms its own rules. These rules are formed sometimes to be violated by their framers and followers. Result: Lots of heart burn and tensions in the families. The subject of these blogs is to analyse the reasons for conflicts and what best can be done to regulate family life.

There is a notion (often mistaken) that only India, rather the East, has a harmonized "family culture" whereas the Western World has its own rules when it comes to family culture. As this does not form part of our discussion, I am not touching it. 

In India, family relations dominate individual interests. Commitment to family is taught more in Indian school of thought than commitment to individual growth. Hence, it is not surprising many in the younger generation feel the pressure of their own growth in a fast changing world vis a vis their commitment to family. More confounding is that we in India, love Status Quo as far as family is concerned. We want to retain our cultural values and ethos at the same time globalizing our intelligence and our earning capacity. This "as is where is" attitude of elders is bound to clash with the ambitious youth who look beyond family and grow.

Secondly, in India parents have a vice like grip on the lives of children beyond their adolescence too. They want to be part of the decision making of their children like educational pursuits, marriage, number of children they should have and in many families naming of the next generation too and if God gives long life in all decisions affecting grand children too. In effect, they seek ownership of the lives of the children and grandchildren too, if possible. One reason for this is Indian children are not taught to be self reliant since childhood. We do not allow our children to work for wages. Leave it, we do not allow them to do household chores too. We try to spoon feed them with everything including finances. And we expect a 'quid pro quo' from them in the form a gratitude, which is nothing but a right to influence their life style. It is not surprising if you find a mother combing the hair of a son 30 years old or a father peeking into the food habits of his son at age 40 years. 

Elders decide what subject child should choose as optional, what course to pursue, what employment he should seek, which place is preferable for his job. Then comes marriage. Elders decide the type of girl a boy should choose. the type of family, the caste, the religion, the color and the money at which he can be bartered. Any revolt will be met with threats, sentimental outbursts and the "see- after- all -that- I -have -done- to- you" wailing loud enough to bring the poor boy to his knees. 

It ends one phase. From then, the story takes a turn. "Why are not you migrating? See, this and that guy purchased properties here and there." So, he migrates. His finances are remote controlled by parents from India. They decide how much he should spend or save, which property to be bought, which investment is the best. I have heard one parent wailing, "They earn 6 lakh per month but I do not know where they invest" Another proudly telling me he carries a cheque for a billion rupees  in his pocket to buy property for his son.One old man who is 84, has on his finger tips what each of his sons has in their bank accounts. 

It is not the end. Children are not allowed to plan holidays as per their, their spouses' their children's taste. They decide. Mostly to Holy places. Nothing wrong. But once in a while children should be allowed freedom. We went to Coorg in Mahindra Resorts. One family of about ten people were outside the Restaurant. The food costs Re.1200/- per head. One old man was resisting with all the force." Why spend so much on one meal?"and he was giving examples how cheap food was at other places. Children were in tears. They came and ate finally, the old man did not. Problem there was it was the cheapest meal available there. Or they have to order to the room, a difficult proposition for the ten of the family. His son was seen telling him," We are earning a lot. And once in life time do not spoil the spirit". No. It was not to be. A lot of heart burn. Avoidable.

“Family isn’t something that’s supposed to be static, or set. People marry in, divorce out. They’re born, they die. It’s always evolving, turning into something else.” 

The above quote is from my first follower on Twitter. So Status Quoists! Please change your attitudes. Everything evolves, everything changes into some other thing, everything burns and is reborn like Phoenix.

Finally, a humor quote or two to end.

“Nothing like watching your relatives fight, I always say.” 
“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” 
But Satus Quo is like the Pig Tail of the Chinese Sage.
There lived a sage in days of yore,
And he a handsome pigtail wore;
But wondered much and sorrowed
Because it hung behind him.
mused upon this curious case, 
Hand swore he’d change the pigtail’s place,
And have it hanging at his face,
said he, “The mystery I’ve found
Not dangling there behind him. I’ll turn me round.”— He turned him round;
But still it hung behind him.

The pig tail never changes place, "though round and round and round we turn".


Note: This applies to the daughters too. Read 'she' 'her' in place of "he' or 'him'

Nota Bene: In this blog I dealt with the problem seniors pose. My next blog is how 

children trouble elders and solution to both problems.