December 30, 2013

Child Labor : What is wrong about child labor?

Just came across this in an epic fantasy fiction.
“To drive children into labour is to slaughter artists, to scour deathly all wonder, the flickering dart of imagination eager as finches flitting from branch to branch - all crushed to serve grown-up needs and heartless expectations”



December 11, 2013

Aam Aadmi Party : to accept support or not

So, this seems to be the hottest discussion going around right now. I am not a political pundit, not even a keen political observer actually. But I am trying to decipher a path of action based on logic. & truth be told, I am confused.

Here is what I think Aam Aadmi Party is about, it is about an ideology. One based on transparency & deep-rooted public involvement. It is not just about the jan lokpal bill although it maybe at the roots but they have or they will, if they haven't already, be an ideological group of people. An ideology that is not based on, anti-congress or anti-communal or anti-major-parties-front, but which is based on a very inherent need of people, an ideology that seeks to bring about transparency at every level, not just in the government but also the people. This is where I think, either I am reading between the lines or one aspect that is not being highlighted by the media or the Aam Aadmi Party. Here is where they differ from the other parties (or have, till now at least) & probably one of the big reasons why they have one. They do not have propaganda agendas (other than the usual marketing of course, which is acceptable) by they have an ideology that they stick with, before the elections & most importantly even after the elections. 

& this is why the media is haunting them. Why the BJP is hunting them. We all know how the usual politics works in India. No matter what the manifesto of a party is (I am not sure if all the candidates of a party even what their manifesto is, in detail) they do not stick to it or are usually unable to implement it after the elections. It is almost like a short term memory loss of the winning party, only to remember it again at the time of the next election. Let me elaborate, Congress has been the socialist party of India & BJP has been the capitalist party of India. However neither of them have really stuck to their agendas of socialism or capitalism as the case maybe, over periods of time. Congress has not been able to actually uplift the poor in the last 10 years of regime. The nectar of subsidies & befits does not reach the intended poor. Nor has BJP really been able to fast track India's business growth as they were intended to.
Here the Aam Aadmi Party differs, they have been born of an ideology. In fact, they do not have the years of experience of either congress or BJP, but just the (till now at least) unwavering belief in a new ideology, of transparency & deep-rooted public involvement. Which neither BJP, nor Congress seem to share. & that is the problem with AAP accepting support from either of them, the moment hey accept, they will be seen as compromising on the ideology that they started with. They will lose the faith that people have in them. Even people like me, who are not from Delhi, who have not even voted for them yet! Because they are changing the ball game. They are not about either socialism or capitalism, they are about an ideological change. Moreover, as far as I see, the primary reason for the pledging of unconditional support to Aam Aadmi Party by the congress is to keep BJP out of power in Delhi. It may have nothing to do with a common ideology shared with the Aam Aadmi Party. & no matter how much the congress proclaims it to be unconditional, these days even kisses come with strings attached, let alone important seats allowing a major disrupter to form a government. Ultimately there may be attempts of steering or lashing the Aap-led govt. by the congress. 
& to the second part of the dilemma, in a hypothetical situation, if the Aam Aadmi Party decides to accept the said 'unconditional' support from congress & form a government, they will have a chance to being about a change. A change that the people of Delhi want to live (at least the ones who voted for them)  a change I am sure a lot of people in the country want to be witness to. They will at least have a chance to deliver on the promises they have made, to prove that they truly are different from the rest.

I do not know how it will work out. I do not know recommend one way or the other. That is upto Arvind Kejriwal & the Aam Aadmi Party to decide.
But however it works out, it may change the destiny of Delhi or even the country over a period of time.

P.S. : I would like to reiterate that the post is a collection of my personal thoughts & opinions. I maybe right or wrong, may misapprehend. I may even have completely misunderstood the Aam Aadmi Party. I am not affiliated with any of the parties. Just writing my observations for future reference.
Thank you for reading.

Update : I agree with Nitin Gupta's point on this.
There is a reason why Congress desperately wants AAP to make govt. in Delhi.

Congress has realized that Kejriwal might hurt them bady in National Elections. Given the anti-incumbency. AAP can hurt Congress a lot.
That would not only mean altering the landscape of national politics. But would also translate into an uncompromising pressure group present on their heads in Loksabha.
Here is a man who brought the govt. to his knees with Anna when he was out of power. Imagine the pressure he can generate if he is in the Parliament!
So, They want to keep him out of the Parliament at any cost.
Hence Congress extended the olive branch to Kejriwal. They want to offer him a state to restrict his National march.
Because this is what would happen after Kejriwal makes the govt.

Within weeks you would start hearing cries about Kejriwal not being able to fulfill promises.
Power tariff reduction, Supplying water, Passing Lokayukta bill, Setting them up, reducing corruption! These are all things that would take time.
The unconditional support to Kejriwal won’t include the ‘luxury of time’ he needs to reform the system.
They would resort to the old rhetoric, “We told you, His promises were lofty, unreasonable! Bolne aur karne mein bahut fark hai!”
They will raise lot of question marks repeatedly. Enough to test the faith of the most ardent of supporters!

Given the enormity of the challenge. And expectation of quick results and the fact that He is the first time CM. Initial days are guaranteed to be most challenging for AK.
It would leave him with no time to devote energies to Loksabha. Even if he can make time, It would make it virtually impossible for him to campaign elsewhere.
If he goes, he would be targeted, “Dekho bhai, jo sapney dilli mein poore nahin kar paaye, woh poore desh ko dikha rahe hain! Pahle dilli to sudhar lo, phir yahan vote maangne aana!”

Congress hasn’t had a change of heart. Nor has it suddenly become respectful of the constructive role an opposition can play.
They want to push Kejriwal on the chair. They can’t afford to let Loksabha elections to be a referendum on Honesty and Integrity in many centers. That might be a Home run for Kejriwal. That’s why they are desperate to change the issue from Honesty to Governance. And luring Kejriwal into making the govt. would achieve just that.

And post Loksabha, Congress can always withdraw their ‘unconditional support’ citing differences with Kejriwal saying, “Oh we are also elected MLA’s and the guardians of Public interest. Kejriwal is acting like a dictator; we can’t support him like this!”
Or any other alibi for that matter!

The strategy is to let Kejriwal rule Delhi till Loksabha to blunt AAP’s impact in Loksabha and then destabilize Delhi govt. and seek a fresh mandate after weaking AAP sometime later.

Sonia Gandhi is astute. By offering Kejriwal unconditional support, She thought, I will make an offer that Kejriwal can’t refuse.
But Kejriwal was one step ahead: He made her an offer, which she will have to refuse!
He knows Sonia can’t go back on FDI in retail. Nor can she admit to Power audit. Because that would raise question marks as to why did Sheila not do it?
Accepting Kejriwal’s demands would be impossible for Sonia because It would put other state govt’s of Congress under pressure to implement the similar provisions like Lokayukta.
And finally it would be considered a tacid admission from Congress that Yes, Kejriwal was right! . Would be yet another perceptional disaster for the party.

In all, Sonia was playing poker with a weak hand.
Kejriwal called her bluff and said, “Show!”

If Politics is the game of chess, and Sonia is the erswhitle Grandmaster then Kejriwal is proving to be Magnus Carlsen!


Update : Aam Aadmi Party has accepted external support from Congress & Arvind Kejriwal will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Delhi tomorrow.



Bulbul Tunkalia : An Ode to a Wonderful Human Being

Unlike a lot of other posts, this post is in honour of a living person, a very lively person infact.
I have had the honour of knowing you for the last 6 years. 
The way you care for people is extraordinary. I have seen you sacrifice your own wishes for the sake of happiness of your parents & your friends & at times even customers.
Your forgiveness is a rare quality. It gives you the ability to reconcile with people. In the today's world of jealousy, rage & anger, such sobriety & compassion is a rare quality indeed.
Your compassion, forgiveness comes of compassion, empathy, an ability to understand others at a deep emotional level. I have seen you nurture that trait over time & it makes you a pillar of support for people close to you, at times even if you do not realise or practice it intentionally.
You are humble, I have rarely seen you act arrogant or rashly. You are sober & have an air of politeness & humility about you that is seldom in this age of kewl doods & dîváś. To be so straight & truthful about everything you do, that reflects tour inner strength & integrity.
Your class is about style, not showing off. About carrying yourself as a respectable person, not just a glitzy glam girl.
It is out of deep respect for you, my friend, that I write this post, to share with this world that wonderful people still exist in this selfish artificial world.
It has been an honour knowning you & see you become the wonderful person you are.
Sambhav Karnawat



Akshar School Jaipur : Worthwhile




Criminalisation of LGBT : a violation of fundamental rights?

The Supreme Court of India passed a judgement today, putting across that lesbian & gay are criminals based on 3 primary reasons :
1. Homosexuality is against nature.
2. It is against religion.
3. It is non-traditional, non-cultural.

I think not just me, but most of India is dumbfounded by this decision. Because forget about human rights, the very tenets on which the decision was based, are absurd. Here is how :
1. Against nature. Almost everything we, almost everyone of us, whether straight, gay, lesbian or neuter, do throughout the day are against nature! Think of plastics, totally against nature, electronics & electronic wastes against nature, fossil fuel extraction & humongous release of hydrocarbons & carbon dioxide into atmosphere is against nature, the whole goddamn process of industrialisation is a blasphemous outrage against nature. Then why do we not ban plastics, criminalise plastic factories, electronic factories & infact the complete idiosyncratic industrialisation!
Even medicine, nature wants people to die so that earth does not get over populated like it is! So medicine is against nature too. 
Oh, by the way, so is monogamy! As far as biologists understand, & as most mammalian species do it, a male of any species wants to lay seed in as many female of the species as possible to ensure its genetic survival. Which makes the very basis of monogamy against nature.
2. Against religion, tradition & culture. Different religions proclaim different things. In some religions, the very notion of sex is against religion! In some religions/cultures burning a woman alive on the husband's death has been the tradition for years! Does that mean the great Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a criminal? In some cultures, it has been a tradition to marry kids before they can even complete school. Does that mean the whole fight against child marriages os a sham! Does that mean that the Dark Ages were the rightful state of the world? To hell with such complicated examples, Atheism is against religion. To almost every religion, atheism is a nemesis. Is atheism a crime too?

& even if you bring counter examples to all of these, what about the very basic fundamental choice of a person to decide whom he or she wants to be with. I am not even talking about sex here, just the choice to be with, as a closer friend than others, as a pillar of support, as someone who understands, as a lover. This choice does not make anyone a worse human being, then why should it make him/her a criminal?

Oh, & I have not even raised the point of potential harassment by authorities, self-proclaimed authorities (you know those who roam the parks in gangs on Valentines day etc.) If anything such self-proclaimed authorities should be the ones behind the bars, not people loving other people.

Update : I have just realised that I may not have written this post in support of LGBT at all, but in a perceived breach of freedom. Almost as if it said that I cannot kiss my (hypothetical) girlfriend unless we get married.

Update 2, 4 Jan 2014 : another point. LGBT is a way of life, it is an individual's choice to live his/her life the way he/she wants. Criminalising LGBT is almost like criminalising brushing only once a day!



December 10, 2013

AAP : Truly Ideological Parties Emerging in India

For the first time in my (relatively small) observation of Indian politics, I see 
1. The biggest party (BJP) is on the backfoot & unable to buy out the 'shareholding' to form a government.
2. The second biggest party (AAP) is getting a 'no-strings' (really?) support to form a government but is (till now) rejecting it based on true ideological differences.
Are we witness to a new era of true ideological political parties in the Indian politics?

P. S. : I have not observed not do I claim any thought leadership or even mildly extensive observation in the field of Indian politics, but I do know that such a situation is unprecedented. Almost every major election with a close-to hung assembly or parliament, we hear about bribes, buying favors, granting ministries & what not, but this time it feels different. Even though I am not even a Delhi based voter, but everytime I hear Kejriwal speak, I hear conviction & not just hollow convincing. It is not just IIT alma mater why I feel so, but I believe, a deep inherent integrity of the person, a humility & probably even sobriety.

On a second note, I just realised why I feel some of Kejriwal's words resonating in my mind. I have had the good fortune of knowing people with such convictions.



December 9, 2013

Wisdom tooth : ironic name? (genetic reference)

Wisdom tooth is named so, because the teeth usually develop in the age of 17-25 yrs. when people are supposedly becoming wise in college (hah! How false is that!)
Anyway, I found another interesting irony in this, a genetic one. While reading through some material, I came across that there is evidence that the pre-historic human walked on 4 limbs & had a wide jaw to catch prey. As the pre-historic human evolved the skull & jaw structure changed, started walking on 2 limbs, hands became the primary source of food catching & the brain grew larger, leaving a smaller jaw & ultimately less space for teeth. Which effectively is the reason that wisdom teeth have become vestigial.
Nobody needs 32 teeth for eating processed soft foods!

Brain grows larger, humans gets smarter (wiser, for the sake of irony) & that leads to wisdom teeth!