Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Not by selection but by vote

The internal confusion and infighting in the BJP seems to be undermining its chances of presenting itself as a credible alternative to the present dysfunctional government at the center.

All the training, sermonising and image making that Gadkari and co. are undertaking is likely to have little effect in ending the confusion and infighting. All the sermonisation cannot contain the personal ambitions that many in the party may carry in their head. All the training cannot turn duds into top performers. At the heart of the problem lies the method by which candidates are chosen for the different positions in the party, legislature and the government. It's the method of choosing candidates by selection that is the real cause of the problem. It can never really shed itself of the allegation of bias.

Perhaps the best way to deal with it is to change the method to one of vote by which candidates are chosen for the various posts and positions.

What this can guarantee is that a small set of people cannot high-jack the agenda and machinery of the party, which is turn will increase the chances of a meritocratic culture taking root.

Yes there is a chance that some competent but not so popular members of the party may lose out. But such people can always be accommodated in other ways, albeit always maintaining the primacy of the vote as a method for choosing potential candidates.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Despite this, we have to make a choice

The essense of the BJP is about realising our full potential as a nation. It is about leveraging the strengths of our culture to distiguish ourselves but this thinking has also breeds intolerance.

The Congress represents inclusivity and openness but it breeds corruption.

The Left for all its stupid economic theories is compassionate and rightly opposed to crony capitalism.

The regional parties represents the local culture and needs but also breed separation as a result of their indulgence in identity politics.

But we still must take a stand.

It is our responsbility to do so.

We cannot afford the luxury (or the laziness) of not making a choice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Divine and Demonic Politics

Politics is a fight for ideas and it certainly is a fight for power. Politics remains a powerful instrument of influence over human affairs. Led by divine (compassionate, excellence, fearless...) thinking it can do much good. Led by demonic (envious, self serving, manipulative...) thinking it can wreck great havoc.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Deficit of right wing politics

Much of the Indian political system is left wing (socialist), from the left of center Congress to the extreme left wing Naxalites.

There is a deficit both in quantity and quality in right wing politics (that supports individual enterprise).

Given its wider geographical spread and deeper support base, the math is skewed in favour of the Congress. The bjp must do as good as having a strike rate of 80% in the states where it has a non zero presence to stand any chance of gaining power at the center. But I think we can leave the agenda of geographical spread and gaining depth of support per constituency to the bjp.

What it seems to me is of greater concern is quality of right wing politics. What we should be more concerned about are the ideas, values and principles that drive right wing politics in India than the group of people who today represent the bjp and other right wing parties.

There is a need to refine and reform the agenda of right wing politics as much as there is a need to influence and temper the national debate with right wing thinking.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Inclusiveness and Excellence

It's quite plain and simple - If the Congress stands for inclusivity (a good idea by all means) BJP stands for excellence.
Unfortunately, the BJP has been unable to project it in a way that is popular amongst the voters.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why we need a vision lead alternative

Mahatma Gandhi saw the need of a vision for the nation, the need to change the hearts and the minds of people, as more important than political freedom. He also saw the centrality of the vision in bringing about this change. To the extent that we (Indians) followed that vision we have been successful. And failed to the extent we compromised with it.

If Pakistan is a failed state today, it is only because it was an alternative without a vision.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The RTI is a more powerful tool than the vote.

For years the educated middle class (which unfortunately numbers fewer than the poorer class) has been complaining about the uselessness of their vote in the face of overwhelming numbers of the poorer, less educated class, who they think are more gullible and easily fooled by unscrupulous politicians. And they might be right. The majority could be wrong.

Unless, it is used synchronously with many others, a vote is virtually ineffective by itself. Then again the chance to do so comes only once in a while. Once in five years (for the different tiers of the government). The vote therefore offers a not so powerful tool to make good change.

The vote distributes the power equally to all irrespective of ones qualifications. The RTI (Right to Information) on the other hand provides for power in proportion to ones zeal, intelligence and education. It provides for limitless power which can be exercised at anytime for any number of times to effect change.

One can argue that the effectiveness of the RTI can be (is being) blunted by deliberately slow response, slow process of judiciary, general criminalisation of the government machinery etc. But this genie (RTI) is out of the bottle. And it is likely to grow bigger and bigger over time. Its impact in the first few years is hardly an indication of what is to come.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

As the means, so the End

“Our progress towards the goal will be in exact proportion to the purity of our means… As the means, so the end.”

-Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Being a Hindu

"I am a Hindu by faith and I mean no disrespect to any other religion when I say that I will not change my faith for all the possessions of this world or of any other. But I shall be a false Hindu and I shall deserve less to be called a Brahmin, if I desired that Hindu's, or Brahmins could have any unfair advantage as such over Muslims, Christians or any other community in India".

-Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Q/Q - quality by quantity ratio

Shrikant Patil write...

This ratio struck me as I was driving around Konkan last week...We have a million graduates annually and many studies have confirmedthat only 25% of these are employable.
Indian economists keep talking of a middle class that is 300 million strong. In her latest book, " We are like that only" Rama Bijapurkar talks of only 6 million that can afford all available consumer goods.

We have 18 million kids, at any age point between 5 and 15, and we struggle to fill a class room for the National Defence Academy.

We need to add the dimension of quality in everything we do. If you look at our media, social discussions, work output, activities, status in society it is very quantitative and not qualitative.

It is a pathetic Q/Q number, the root cause why the software industry is struggling when one dollar still buys 40 rupees and the per capita income of India is US$564....

Tarun Malaviya writes....

The ratio brings out sharply what ails us as a nation and people. The reason for this is not hard to see –

Self serving attitude-
We celebrate achievement (taking) and the achievers (the takers) and disregard the givers (the teachers). We give ever more to the takers and ever so less to the givers.
Nehru's dream of creating an elite set of people who would then help multiply this set and drive the nation forward has been belied. Most of those who benefited from the nations initiatives forgot to give. Most of those who were given thought it fit to peruse self serving goals.

A Mai-Baap mindset-
I think this must have happened sometime around when the Britishers ruled India (or maybe it was earlier still) that we developed a Mai-Baap. That the king (the government) must provide for us. That we are a helpless lot living by the grace of the rulers.

What can change this--

A worthy tradition-
I feel that despite the abysmal governance and unprincipled politics, this country has managed to sustain a huge human population and move ahead, only because of this rich tradition of giving. Completely lost on the celebrated & the achievers but still preserved by the artisans, artists and the gurus in the form of Guru-Shishya Parampara. The best in India are the beneficiaries of this tradition.
It is incumbent on us (the more privileged) who've had such teachers and got the best from this country to give back. Not in half measures but wholly.

Individual & Private enterprise--
The story of progress of us as a nation is that of private enterprise. It is a story of people who have quit the Mai-Baap mindset. It is the story of people who have quit waiting for someone else to solve their problems. It is story not just confined to the world of business, but runs across all dimensions of economic, social, cultural and the governance landscape.
My hope and belief is that the tribe of such people would grow ever larger. Our work should be to encourage and grow such enterprise.

Gurukul the anchor of Indian Civilisation

Gurukul was the anchor of Indian civilization for centuries until the British came and systematically destroyed it.
-Guruji Rishi Prabhakar

In the state of Madras in the year 1800, there were 130,000 universities according t the British census.Today we have hardly a dozen universities. How was it possible.?

The anwer is that all production centres were also centres of learning. Any metal moulding shop was also a training centre under a Guru. Apprentices were trained in all areas of life and given food and shelter under a Guru. Production was done as seva to the Guru. People worked tirelessly to meet targets promised by their Guru. This they did with utmost devotion. Every piece was quality checked and much art was put into each item. More advanced students added more strength and art and made research on improving production. They were labs, art centres, learning centres and production centres all in one.

People listened to the Guru who was a picture of dedication to his students. They always remembered who brought them up. Gurus house was always full of people. It was the centre of activity of the community. Respect for all was the key learning as well as sharing of wealth. Nobody was left out. Guru absorbed all.

Today, we have Bosses and owners who want to simply pay the least and get the most. There is a vast gap between the owner and worker. Workers also do not co operate. Only the jungle culture of survival of the fittest works and everyone is afraid of life. This has led to hoarding, poverty, lack of development and criminality in politics. Smart people who violate duty are rewarded. Generally everyone is fed up.

How do we resolve this knot? No politician will do the trick. Only Gurus who have the expertise to teach inward silence and outward dexterity to produce and ability to take care of large number of people to work in harmony to produce wealth can only do the job. Many intelligent people are there who can be made to understand the Gurukul method of operation. They have to be given a working model for operation. I am sure that in a short while such models will come up especially with the current market melt down and necessity for local self sufficient economies.

We have started the process in our Gurukul at Maralwadi near Bangalore and in Vizag. We have started as a school which is being transformed ino a Gurukulam. Salient features of the Gurukul are as follows: Everyone who wants to learn to share can come in. Everyone does what they can to keep the Gurukul a happy place on earth. We all eat from a common kitchen and share the expenses. Hardly any body spends time to shop and cook which are the two major unproductive jobs in any modern family. There is enough time for a walk in the forest, time to sing and dance with little children who are our Gods on earth. We have started good housing for all. Frugality is natural because of Guru's grace. Everyone is a owner and is encouraged to lern and progress to higher levels of responsibility. Young people are at the helm of affairs and there is pleny of opportunity for the willing ones to grow. We want to train Gurus and not disciples. We all are willing to learn from Masonary to teaching maths. There is no low work or a highly paid work. Those who are high take the most minimum and support those who are not so well trained. We want to produce more wealth for others to enjoy. Money is a gift from God to you to give to your neighbor and earn friendship which is the only real wealth. We want to offer our services at prices one can not refuse. We want to welcome one and all to this bountiful place and live with no jealousy from neighbors.

How can this place not progress? And How can it exist without attracting thousands to copy and live in harmony.

I have no doubt about the progress of our children with 100% marks and plenty of ability to contribute in all areas of life. They are the future Gurus and leaders for mankind. May God give me enough life to see them blossom and make this earth into a paradise.

We are actively sharing our knowledge of 100% memory and marks with all schools and children of the world. Let all jealousy in this world disappear. May everyone be happy and looked after with love and care.

Jai Guru Deva. Salutations to my Guru who taught me to laugh at myself and share what I have without fear of loss.

Rishi Prabhakar

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

21st Century Leadership

The 21st Centry cannot belong to India on the strength of it's numbers. That way we will burn up the world faster. We cannot be leaders by aping others. We cannot be leaders without undertaking responsibility. And we cannot be leaders perforce.

We can be in contest (hopefully a friendly one) with US, Europe, China, and other continents and countries, not for the possesions of the earth or to prove ourselves better than others, but to raise our own standards of excellence in thoughts and action. The question is - do we chose to be in such a race?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Don’t block the ‘Internet Hindus’ - by Kanchan Gupta

Extracted from - http://kanchangupta.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don’t block the ‘Internet Hindus’

That won't silence the clanging bells!

Hindus who are proud to assert their identity and fly the Tricolour high have now found a new platform to have their say, the way they want it, without fear of being shouted down. Tired of being derided by pseudo-secularists in media who see nothing wrong with Muslim communalism and Christian fundamentalism but are swift to pounce upon Hindus for being ‘intolerant’, their cultural ethos crudely denigrated by the Left-liberal intelligentsia as antediluvian, Hindus have begun to harness technology to strike back with deadly effect.

They are bright, they are well-educated, they are not burdened with regional and caste biases, they are amazingly well-informed on national issues and world affairs, they are rooted in Indian culture, and they are politically alert. They hate being told they are wrong when they know they are right. They have a mind of their own and refuse to be led like sheep. Not surprisingly, they hold the Congress, the Left and regional parties in contempt, as they do journalists who cravenly ingratiate themselves with the establishment. For them, India matters — and matters more than anything else. Meet the ‘Internet Hindus’.

In recent days there has been a spate of articles disparaging the ‘Internet Hindus’, variously describing them as “loonies”, “fanatics”, “irrational”, “Hindu Taliban” and, by an enraged news channel anchor, “gutter snipes”. Much of the criticism has come from left-of-centre journalists who believe they have unfettered monopoly over media as their inalienable birth right. Exalted members of Delhi’s commentariat, who are indistinguishable from the city’s la-di-dah socialites, tend to turn up their noses every time they hear the phrase ‘Internet Hindus’ as they would at the suggestion of travelling by public transport. Others are given to contemptuously brushing aside ‘Internet Hindus’ as being irrelevant and describing their views as inconsequential. All this and more has neither dampened the spirit of ‘Internet Hindus’ nor blunted their assertive attitude.

Here are some statistics, culled from an ongoing online survey, which would help create a generic profile of ‘Internet Hindus’. The survey is open to all Hindus who use the Internet; the response has been overwhelming. Of those who have responded, 88.9 per cent have identified themselves as ‘Internet Hindus’, indicating they attach no shame to the term though their critics would want them to feel ashamed. Of the respondents, four per cent are aged 20 years and below; 55 per cent are aged 30 and below; 31 per cent are 40 and below; and, only 10 per cent are aged above 40. In brief, 90 per cent of them are young Indians.

The educational profile of the respondents is awesome: 43 per cent are graduates (most of them from top-notch engineering, science and medical colleges); 46 per cent are post-graduates (a large number of them have MBA degrees from the best B-schools); and, 11 per cent have PhDs. It is understandable that none of them is unemployed. Those without jobs are still studying (17.3 per cent) and can be found in labs and classrooms of the best universities here and abroad. Of the 82.7 per cent who are employed, 3.1 per cent earn up to Rs 2 lakh a year; 18.4 per cent earn up to Rs 6 lakh a year; 34.7 per cent earn up to Rs 12 lakh a year; and, 26.5 per cent earn more than Rs 24 lakh a year. Nearly 60 per cent of them frequently travel abroad on work and holiday. Some 11 per cent have travelled abroad at least once.

Contrary to the impression that is being sought to be created by their critics, ‘Internet Hindus’ are open to ideas, believe in a plural, law-abiding society and swear by the Constitution. They are often appalled by the shenanigans of our politicians, including those of the BJP, and are ruthless in decrying politics of identity and cynical vote-bank policies. They have no gender prejudices and most of them think banning FTV is downright silly in this day and age. The ‘Internet Hindus’ will not countenance denigration of their faith or biased media coverage of events, but 91.9 per cent of them respect and accept other religions. Asked if India is meant only for Hindus, an overwhelming majority of them, responding to the survey, said, ‘Hell, no!’

So why do they infuriate pseudo-secularists in media and make Delhi’s commentariat see red? There are three possible explanations. First, the Net is beyond the control of those who control newspapers and news channels. While the print and audiovisual media have for long excluded contrarian opinion and denied space to those who disagree with absurd notions of ‘secularism’ or question the quality of reportage, the Net has provided space to the ‘other’ voice. Real time blog posts now record the ‘other side’ of the day’s story (“The Prince was shouted down in Bihar, not feted by students!”), Twitter affords instant micro-blogging even as prime time news is being telecast (“That’s not true. I live in Bareilly. This is not how the riots began!”), and YouTube allows unedited amateur videos of events (the Meraj riots, the Islamist violence in Kashmir Valley) to be uploaded, giving the lie to edited and doctored versions shown by news channels.

Second, unlike carefully selected ‘Letters to the Editor’ in newspapers and ‘Feedback’ posted on news channel websites, the reactions of ‘Internet Hindus’, often savage and unflattering, cannot be thrown into the dustbin or deleted with a click of the mouse. English language media journalists, long used to fawning praise from readers and viewers, are horrified that someone can actually call them ‘dumb’ in public space and there’s nothing they can do about it. Third, the established elite, most of them middle-aged, are beginning to feel threatened. Here’s a new breed of Indians who have used merit and not ‘connections’ to make a mark in professional excellence, young men and women who are educated and articulate, and are willing to challenge conventional wisdom as preached by media ‘stars’ who have rarely, if ever, been questioned. The elite who dominate newspapers and news channels are seen by ‘Internet Hindus’ as part of India’s past, not future. As one ‘Internet Hindu’ writes in his blog, “A large number of ex-elite can’t stomach fact that children of bankruptcy are better travelled, better read and dominate the Internet!” Harsh, but true.

We can describe the ‘Internet Hindus’ as the “lunatic fringe”, but that won’t change the fact that their tribe is growing by the day. Soon, those on the fringe will move to the centre and their critics will find themselves precariously perched on the fringe. The Right is gaining ground as is the access and reach of the Net; newspapers and news channels, the Left’s last refuge, no longer command absolute control over information flow. It would be unwise to ‘block’ the voice of ‘Internet Hindus’, as then their clamour to be heard will further increase and there is nothing we can do to silence them. The times they are a-changin’.