Thursday, November 06, 2008

‘Yes, We Can!’ speech

[Before you read this, you may want to read Let’s Celebrate America! and ‘I have a Dream’ speech.]

On November 4th, 2008, Barack Obama, soon to be 44th President of United States, the first ever Black man to become the President has delivered an equally emotive and inspirational speech. In a certain way, ‘I have a Dream’ speech by Martin Luther King Jr. has set the goals for America, and 45 years later, ‘Yes, We Can’ speech by Barack Obama has made it clear that America has fulfilled those goals.

Here’s complete video:

Here’s the complete text of the speech [I have taken liberty to highlight some of the text]:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him, I congratulate Governor Palin, for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the vice-president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure. To my sister Maya, my sister Auma, all my other brothers and sisters - thank you so much for all the support you have given me. I am grateful to them.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best political campaign in the history of the United States of America. My chief strategist David Axelrod, who has been a partner with me every step of the way, and to the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; it grew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for their child's college education. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

And above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for 221 years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values that we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours: "We are not enemies, but friends… though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection."

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those who would tear the world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you.

And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes, we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes, we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes, we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes, we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "we shall overcome". Yes, we can.

A man touched down on the Moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes, we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: yes, we can.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

‘I Have A Dream’ speech

[You may want to read ‘Let’s celebrate America!’ before you read this.]

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King delivered a very emotive and inspirational speech near Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, USA, during the height of Civil Rights Movement. For those who do not know history, Black Americans were second-class citizens in many states of United States. The world then was very different the America we know now. Many states followed segregation laws, whereby Blacks were disenfranchised using various laws, they had special places to sit in a bus, and were not allowed into mainstream colleges and universities.

Here’s an excerpt from that speech:

Here’s the link to the complete speech video.

Here’s the complete text of the speech [emphasis mine]:

"I HAVE A DREAM" (1963)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends - so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi - from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring - when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Distribution statement: Accepted as part of the Douglass Archives of American Public Address ( on May 26, 1999. Prepared by D. Oetting (

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Let’s celebrate America!

“America is the place where all things are possible!”

- Barack Hussein Obama, on becoming 44th American President.

Long ago I was asked if USA would ever see a Black President and I remember saying that I may not see it in my lifetime. And yet what seemed impossible back then has become possible now. Today, I was listening to Barack Obama speak, delivering his ‘historic speech’ in Chicago, and couldn’t help myself moved and swayed. It felt as if one of my favorite speeches ‘I have a Dream’ has actually come true.

‘I have a Dream’

It wasn’t very long ago when Blacks in America had no right to vote, when they were treated like second-class citizens in their own country, when the Whites said that the time has not come for Blacks to get the equal responsibility and freedom. And yet, within 43 years of getting the right to vote, Americans have now voted a Black man as their President.

Forty five years ago, Martin Luther King delivered a speech, in which he outlined his dream:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

Today, we have seen America live up to that pledge. It took America 230 years to realize the full potential of what the founding fathers committed to.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Today, we saw thousands of blacks and whites cheering for Obama. The kids of Barack Obama and kids of Joe Biden walked hand in hand onto the stage. The blacks and whites felt equal in their celebrations. And America saw Obama as man of character, not his color, to elect him as their President.

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."

Today, we saw the sons of former slaves and sons of former slave owners hugging, celebrating, and sitting together to take the responsibility of running the country.

Today I am happy, elated, and quite moved, to see America live up to achieve the impossible things they have set out do. Today, Barack Obama said, ‘Yes, we can!’

Yes you can!

Today, America should congratulate themselves for creating a great nation. They have set out do something unimaginable and they have delivered it. That is the true spirit of America. They can! When they set out to do something, they do it! And today, they have excelled and won the hearts of the whole world.

What happens in America is important to all of us, the whole humanity in fact. America is a giant experiment that humanity has set out to conduct few centuries ago. America is culmination of all lessons learnt in our history - a country that was founded on strong principles that were learnt from thousands of years of human history. And yet, they fumbled for a very long time to understand the purport of their own ideals they set out to accomplish. When they said, ‘All me are created equal’, they didn’t know what it actually meant. They didn’t want to part with that equality with Black Americans. It took nearly two centuries to understand what it means, to teach every American what it means.

America! You are a great nation today, not because you are wealthiest, or the mightiest, but because you have the ability to change, admit the mistakes of the past and learn from mistakes of the past. It’s because what you do sets an example for the rest of the world, and when you get arrogant, the world suffers.

Why I believe in America

I have spent nearly a decade of my lifetime in USA. I have learnt a great deal about myself, my nation and the world around because of my time there.

I saw an American father tell his two-year old son to go and put the trash in its right place. The kid obliged, put the trash in the can turned around and walked back to the father. During this time, his trash fell out. The father pointed it out to the son and asked him to go back and make sure it is in the right place. The kid walked back and put it in the right place. This American was not ready to accept a half-done half-baked job. He wanted his son to do complete the job just because it was the right thing to do.

In another incident, during Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky episode, I was amused that the whole country was so obsessed with sexual escapades of their president, and I said so in loud words. One of them, a manager at the place I was working, asked me to stop by at his cube. I went to see him. He opened a small book, it was the American Constitution. He then said something quite significant. He said it’s not about sex. It’s about a lie. The President lied under oath. If the President can lie so can anybody. What kind of example is that for his kids, he argued. Here is an American who expects strength of character from his leaders to make sure they set right examples.

Americans take themselves very seriously. When they commit to something they do it. And sometimes that is also a problem, because if they commit to something wrong, they do it too! A German friend once commented, ‘Almost every country used to hate Jews back then. It is just that Germans are so efficient and determined. Whatever they do, they do it meticulously. They even carried out their hatred quite efficiently’.

America of late has lost its sheen. It lost its leadership position, not because of economy or military, but because it didn’t set the right examples. It didn’t do the right thing. It became arrogant and many people started hating it.

Today, America has changed for good and that is good news for all of us. Obama talks about humility and that’s what we want to hear, and the world looks forward to a ‘new dawn of American leadership’.

Today, we have witnessed a momentous step in the history of mankind. A Black man, born to an African man, has become most powerful man on the planet. If a Black man can become that, so can anybody – that’s the message of this victory. Anybody on the planet whatever his identity can now become dream of becoming anything. It’s a strong message.

We started this journey to liberate man long ago, nearly eight hundred years ago, when the common man started to negotiate his rights. And it was a long journey from then on. Today, we see one more historic step towards emancipation of that common man.

This is not just a victory for Americans. It is a victory for the mankind. The world needs Barack Obama as US President more than America needs Barack Obama as its President. The domestic policies will nevertheless change, but it’s the international politics that the world is more interested in. Barack Obama as the President of US is a good news to world politics. It means less people killed. Hopefully we will see a benign America that does not settle its disputes with wars, pillage and murder. It means America will be less hated. More and more people will change their attitudes towards America. Hopefully we will solve the world disputes during his presidency.

This is a historic step, where Americans have come together to tell us they can change. That they can posit a black man as their leader, their front face to the rest of the world. They know they are not perfect. But they are ready to change. I told myself one day – the struggle of mankind is to make this imperfect world less imperfect. Today, we have seen a nation rise up to say that they are ready to be less imperfect.

Dream realized

Martin Luther King concluded his ‘I have a Dream’ speech saying:

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

At last, America is truly free.

Congratulations America! And Congratulations Barack Obama!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Prosperity but not Happiness

Gurcharan Das, in one of his editorials at TOI said: India is giving prosperity but not happiness.

I cannot put it in a better way. Right now, we are bringing in wealth into our nation, but that is not translating into happiness. Just look at the recent Bangalore Airport issue- HAL which was convenient to many people. It was never developed to handle many passengers. It was always a tough time to get in and get out, with many taxis standing on the road completely blocking the exit and the entry making the whole episode quite painful. They could have easily upgraded it, made it two-tier or three-tier, one for departure, one for arrival. They could have made parking lots of three storied building to accommodate the taxis.

Instead, they came up with an idea to build the airport really far from the city. Actually that was a welcoming thought. Keeping the airport far away from the city makes sense, provided there is excellent connectivity from different parts of the city to the airport. Now, that’s where we completely suck. We have never provided our citizens with basic connectivity- forget excellent connectivity. Now, the travel to the new airport is a bigger nightmare taking many hours. There is no metro, and there are not many alternate roads to that airport. The only big road that is proposed is still under construction and lies along industrial parks further congesting it.

We just don’t know how to make our lives easier and happier.

I have a baby now and I feel like taking her out for a walk but that is not possible. The roads are always clogged, and one always has to watch for the next vehicle that will bump into you. The roads don’t have pavements and they are always dusty. Walking on the road is not a simple straight thing – one always has to dodge many things making the walk a painful exercise.

Yes, everybody has a car, but there are no decent walkways. That’s how we build our nation- bring in prosperity, but no happiness. The list is endless.

We build apartment complexes, but there is no room for parking for visitors. We build ramps but we put a bus stop right at the entrance. We use allow gaps in the dividers, but no separate road to make U-turn. We build 3-road lanes, but no place for a bus to stop. We build software parks, but no big roads to reach them. We build hardware parks, but there is no road. We build theme parks, but no safety precautions. We give out popcorn, but no place to put the trash. We build parks, but build a small access way that causes stampedes. The list is endless.

We give prosperity to our people but no happiness. A little sacrifice, a little precaution, a little consideration, a little forethought, is all we need, and yet that is starkly missing.

PS: I see three kinds of respondents to such complaints I make.

One would respond like this: I don’t know which part of India you live in. But definitely, it’s not as bad as you project it. Where I live, there are nice promenades, paved footpaths, rolling hills, green grass, and lovely mornings. I think you should know that India is very different and has all kinds of things- good things and bad things. Did you ever try to take a walk in Brooklyn?

Second one would respond like this: Why do you always complain? Do you know why we don’t have excellent pavements? Did you ever try to analyze the situation? It’s because of [corruption], [overpopulation], [greedy politicians], [etc]. I wish you try to solve some of these issues instead of just complaining on your blog.

Third one would respond like this: You just don’t know how to seek happiness, that’s all. I don’t think what you describe are problems at all. It all depends on how you deal with it. I get up at 3 AM, pack nice breakfast, and then take my baby in my Mercedes Benz, with one chauffer and two body guards, and drive just 20 km away to a nice park, and then take a nice unhindered walk. You should do the same, instead of trying to get those amenities closer to your home. That’s how one should live in India.

And of course, there is this fourth kind who understands what I am talking about.

My favorites posts on this blog

I have written more than 250 articles on this blog starting February 2006. I have my own favorites. Interestingly, most of my favorites ones have elicited the least number of comments, while the most ordinary ones in which I have just discussed the contemporary news item have received many comments. For example, one of the most unoriginal pieces that I have written – about Telangana and why want a new state - has got the maximum number of comments. It clearly shows that people are more interested in contemporary stuff, things they can relate easily, or things that are quite controversial. And some of original pieces, such as ‘Dethroning our Masters’ and ‘Rejection of Rationality’ found little interest with the commenters.

Of course, I cannot rate the popularity of my articles based on comments alone. Sometimes, I look at the statistics given by the counter and I see that there is a great correlation between the comments received and the page views.

Here, I have listed the top 15 articles that I like:

  1. Dethroning our Masters Series (On our Independence Movement, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  2. Rejection of Rationality Series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)
  3. Duties of the Majority and the Privileged and When Majority is not right
  4. Why do we criticize our nations?
  5. 'Our sentiments are hurt'
  6. Excessive Nationalism and Blurring of Local Identities and Excessive Regionalism
  7. To better India Series (Part 1, Part 2)
  8. Peevish Indians
  9. Great Indian Culture
  10. Bad Parenting- Insensitivity and Indecency
  11. On Caste Politics in India and On Group Politics
  12. Guide to Indian Idiocy (Part 1 and Part 2)
  13. Are Indians creative and original?
  14. Condoning, Accepting, Legitimizing and Institutionalizing
  15. Secularism Redefined Series (Part 1, Part 2) and Secularism and Religious Identities (Part 1, Part 2).

Please go ahead let me know which article you like the most.

Guide to E=mc^2 Blog III

This follows the Part I and Part II. Here’s a guide to this blog in chronological order.

To better India I

I believe that action and action alone can help this country. Each of us may have thought about hundred and one things to improve this nation. But unless we act nothing will happen. And to start that action is now- today. A slogan that I like a lot is: ‘Just Do It’ (from Nike). Yes, it’s a powerful slogan; and when applied to this nation it can create wonders.

'Our sentiments are hurt'

‘Our sentiments are hurt’ is a disease that has caught with almost every religion and region in this subcontinent…We are affected by what you wrote, though we have never read it. We are affected by what you think, though we don't know what it is. We are affected by what you paint, though we have never seen it.

India’s most important achievement

It is almost a wonder that India has retained and preserved the institutions of its democracy even after sixty years of Independence. Even our forefathers might have had some doubts whether we would ever survive sixty years as a democratic nation.

India’s Greatness

There is no other country on this planet where such diverse populations are living together. India is so unique in this respect that no other nation comes close to India. Come to think of it, India completely defies every rule on how a nation-state should be formed.

Grow Up, India!

India has to grow up. Its people have to grow up. Its politicians have to grow up. We seem to be ruffled by every sentence a person makes about us. While we continue to riot in our Parliament and Assembly proceedings, throwing speakers, chappals, chairs, beating up each other, we get offended when someone comments on such behavior.

Capitalism or Socialism?

Most Indians leaders of 1947 welcomed and hailed Soviet style economy and touted it as the only solution to India’s problems. Capitalism, which imposed a completely unreliable and topsy-turvy economy onto its people, was considered the least agreeable solution. If you were an adult during 1947, there was a good chance that you too would have been agreeing to the soviet style socialistic economy.

Qualities of a Leader

I believe one of the most essential ingredients for a leader and which is completely missing from the above list is ‘the ability to take strong, bold and quick decisions and implement them with concrete action’. For some reason this was quite absent from the list gathered by the team at TOI.

‘Rang De Basanti’ in action

What happens when people take law unto their hands? What happens when citizens believe they are better at doling out punishments than the state? What happens when responsible citizens believe they have a right to choose what laws they will abide by and what they will violate? Why do I think the example set by ‘Rang De Basanti’ is a bad one?

Spate of communal incidents in India

Most Indian Hindus believe that such violence and strife will not reach them. While they continue to foment and fuel the hatred which spawns more such violence, they believe they are immune to the consequences such as rioting, killing and pillage. The discontent, the frustrations, the disillusionments that we continue to foster in one religion or one region will come back to haunt us all.

'Our sentiments continue to hurt' II

‘Our sentiments are hurt’ seems to be the new disease of India…The mighty Supreme Court of India, which seem to baffle me more and more these days, with its idiotic decisions, is also now affected by this disease.

‘Leadership, RDB Style’ (TOI)

TOI (Times of India) comes to my aid affirming my belief system about Indians. Idiocy that it represents confirms the crux of all my contentions- that indeed Indians are idiotic. The sheer volume of chicanery it produce everyday is quite astounding. Sometimes you wonder, is this what Indian youth is currently thinking?

TOI: Lead India Campaign

Is this one of those cheap tricks? I mean, how does one ‘cut short the normally long-winded path up the political ladder’? Someone should inform TOI that the only way one can do this in India is by being born to a political leader (like Rahul Gandhi).

Waiting for the Tipping point

I have often wondered why Indians follow rules so obediently when they are in a (foreign) developed country whereas they flout every conceivable rule when in India. Is it the system or is it the people? What is it that makes them behave so inconsistently?

Qualities of Leader II

While a person could be ‘compassionate’, humane, and principled, he may not turn out to be a leader. ‘Commitment to truth, honesty and justice’ are great qualities in a person, but do not necessarily make a leader.

Three days of ‘No Honking’

If all the horns on every car and motorbike gets bust, we would definitely have a more peaceful nation. I also believe that many of us would take back that responsibility that we gave away of saving our lives, and start behaving more responsibly taking charge of our own fates. That would build character and we would see more and better leaders.

To Better India II: Primary Education

I believe investing in a better future is the wisest thing we can do right now, and that involves investing in creating better younger generations. For that, we have to ensure we do not inherit our kids with our prejudices and bigotry but instead equip them with skills, values and attitudes of the right kind, so that they make their own future, hopefully, a better one.

Rejection of Rationality I: Indian Hindus and the New Age

Indian Hindus love this West’s ‘post-modern’ disapproval of science and rationality. This disapproval is lapped up by many Indian Hindus because it seems to rhyme with their own theories of ‘scientific Hinduism’, which posits logic and mysticism as two sides of the same coin.

Indians want US in Iraq

Well, most urban Indians want Indian Army in Kashmir to stay longer. They believe India should emulate Israel and US in keeping the Muslim separatists out. Some would admire George Bush for what he did in Afghanistan and Iraq. They think he has the guts to do something which Indian leaders seem to lack.

BJP objects to a Directive

Reservations-based-on-caste is unjust and unfair, but having 80% of upper caste Hindus in IT sector is just the ‘survival of the fittest’. Having more Muslim policemen in Muslim areas is unjust and unfair, while having predominantly Hindu force that targets Muslims in Gujarat is just the ‘selection of meritorious’.

Say Goodbye to Secularism

Indians are getting vexed by Secularism! They see it as an encumbrance; something they know is guaranteed in the Indian constitution but which they do not like to follow if possible. It is more akin to traffic rules of India, which most Indians would rather not follow though they exist as laws.

Sethusamudram Project II

I believe the protests are going to increase. And I think that the Government of India will have to scrap the project and accept traveling extra miles in the sea…In India you just cannot win over God. In India God always wins!

Rejection of Rationality II: Terms explained

Most of Indian philosophies of yesteryears are based on peripatetic investigation just like Aristotle’s theories on Universe, most of which are now proved to be wrong. These are mere conjectures, based on argument that satisfies the logic of man, but NOT necessarily true in nature. Empiricism was not taken up by Indian Philosophers and there is no record to suggest they did.

Qualities of Leader III

To illustrate my understandings, I have created these scenarios.

Hinduism welcomes Blasphemy

Hinduism has now upgraded itself to include blasphemy. The BJP, which appoints itself as the official spokesman for all Hindus, has accused UPA government of ‘blasphemy’… Blasphemy, we welcome you! Our national IQ average is falling rapidly, are we are becoming complete idiots, please embrace us!

India low on Vitamin S

India is now running extremely low on Vitamin S – where S stands for Science. The lack of this vitamin has led to a disease called ‘our sentiments are hurt’. The first sign of this disease is that human emotions and sentiments become more important in the matters of running the state whereas logic and reason are booted out of the door. In the latest controversy engulfing the political parties of India…petitioners have claimed that Ram Sethu/Adam’s Bridge is 1.75 Millions years old. Humans have been human for much less than 1 million years. So, how come Rama existed before humans became humans?

ABC of Ram Sethu

There is no historical evidence to suggest Rama existed. That does not mean he did not exist. He may have. He may not have…To suggest that Rama existed is a matter of belief. Whether he existed or not is irrelevant to dredging of Ram Sethu. What is important is to know if Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu is a man-made construction or not. All evidences suggest that it is not, expect certain quotations from mythology and some blind beliefs.