Saturday, July 31, 2010

Telangana 54: By Elections

Telangana Movement became a mainstream agitation in December 2009 when KCR undertook a fast for the cause of Telangana.  The silent movement of nearly thirty years took an upswing and became an active and vocal one all of a sudden with the events of December 2009.  The popular sentiment that has been lurking in the minds of the people of this region took on the national stage affecting the politics of the state and the country. 

Since December 2009, there have been repeated resignations by MLAs of the state in both Telangana and Seemandhra regions of the united state of Andhra Pradesh.  When the MLAs of Seemandhra resigned en masse after P Chidamabaram’s 9 Dec 2009 declaration for a separate Telangana, the speaker of the State Assembly belonging to the ruling Congress Party did not accept any of them citing a petty technical error in resignation letter format.  However, when Telangana MLAs of non-Congress parties resigned, the speaker immediately accepted them.  This was done with a motive of winning at least some of the seats vacated by Telangana proponents highlighting one of the farces of Indian democracy.

Indian democracy does not deal with referendums and therefore elections are forced onto the people again and again as happened in Telangana.  No matter how people of Telangana vote, the elections are interpreted differently by different factions.  When people find themselves unable to express through polls, they take to streets and resort to suicides, while MLAs tend to resign again and again unnecessarily forcing elections onto the people.  Looks like Indian democracy has no means of addressing genuine aspirations of its people.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Ramar Pillai?

I don’t know how many of you remember Ramar Pillai.  In 1996, Ramar Pillai became one of the most widely recognized Indians when he converted ordinary herbs soaked in water into petrol.  It looked like he solved the problem of energy for India forever.   It was a story too good to be true but Indians lapped it up without scrutiny.  Ramar Pillai created a mega sensation amongst Indians and Non-Resident Indians.  He was hailed as an Indian genius, a product of India without trace of western education or influence, someone who solved a mega problem with tools that were easily available to a village boy in India. 

When I wrote a small note of criticism on Ramar Pillai and his claims, when he was at the zenith of his popularity being feted by the Chief Ministers of India including renowned scientists, many Indian readers berated me for being a party pooper.  I was told to shut up.  ‘Why could you not just celebrate when Indians do well?  Are you only looking for bad things about India? Why can’t you recognize our achievements when they actually happen?’ they asked me.  

After few years, in 2000, it became clear that herbal petrol of Ramar Pillai is a hoax.  He turned out to be a charlatan, a cheap magician who conned an entire nation because it was hungry for hard-to-find achievements.  Ramar Pillai turned out to be a reprieve for a civilization that was bereft of any greatness in the recent past.  Indians were hungry for achievements and Ramar Pillai came into cash in on that popular sentiment.   

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Engineering 101

When I joined B.Tech in Electronics and Communications nearly two decades ago, I was told that whatever I learn in the college will be of little use to me in my life because we will not be using any of the stuff taught in the program.  I took that advice quite seriously.  Instantly I convinced myself that it didn’t really matter if I did not pay any attention to the classes.  I just had to pass and somehow make it through the 4 years.  The campus itself had enough reputation that it will carry me through in my life, so why waste time in studying something which is of no use to me in the long run?

The graduating seniors who had passed out came back a year later to visit us and reaffirmed the same opinion, that not much of what I learn in my B.Tech will be of any use in ‘real’ life.  Because the ‘real’ life is so different that I would end up doing something quite different.  It was true.  Most of my seniors who graduated from the college ended up in MS programs in USA but had already switched to Computer Science, while few others got into IIMs thereby leaving nearly 95% of our subjects behind, and some others got into jobs at Hindustan Lever, Infosys, HCL, etc, securing jobs in marketing or software for health, insurance, banking, never having to bother with B. Tech subjects ever again. 

I guess I was always a 'big' picture person even as a student.  My 'big' thinking suggested that the scores and marks in the B.Tech subjects will not affect my life at all.  I decided not to study more than what was required to pass the exams.  Why unnecessarily waste time on something that is irrelevant in ‘real’ life?  Instead, I spent time on other things which seemed to make sense- like painting, art, debating, and of course, making friends and falling in love.  Since I believed these other things will remain with me for the rest of my life, it made sense to invest in them. 

An engineer uncle told his graduating engineer nephew that he will not use more than 5% of what he studied.   That’s what we have been told and that’s what we believed.  After nearly 16 years since my graduation, I have a completely different story to tell.  I hope this reaches out to some of the passionate engineers in the colleges of India.   I am a part of a technology product company in wireless space and this is our story.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kashmir: Discussion on TV

I was watching TIMES NOW on TV.  This is some time ago, but relevant even today. 

One guy says, ‘Let us have freedoms. Let us talk about freedoms.  We should have freedoms.  But don’t push it to ridiculous extent.  Like Azadi.  Why Azadi? From whom?  I find this whole Azadi thing ridiculous’.

The other guy says, ‘Think of nation’s sentiments.  Respect India’s sentiments.  Let’s live together.  Think in the right perspective.’

The anchor says, ‘Why are you taking support from Pakistan? Isn’t that country the one which is intolerant?  Pakistan is the one which is intolerant. Not India.  Aren’t Mohajirs discriminated in Pakistan? Why do you want to take refuge in Pakistan’s support?’

And I find something grossly wrong with the whole proceedings though most of my Indian brothers and sisters are OK with these discussions.   Today, once again Kashmir is burning.  More than 20 protestors were shot dead by the Indian forces stationed in Kashmir.   According to TIMES OF INDIA, In Iraq, there is 1 soldier every 166 people, and in Kashmir, there is 1 for every 20, nearly 8 times more.   It’s like living in the Bangalore city with nearly 3 lakh troops, one-fourth of Indian Army. 

In the discussion above, the first guy thinks that we all should have freedoms, but not Azadi (freedom).   Whom are we duping here?  Why is Azadi a ridiculous proposition?  We all want to be free.  Every human being wants to be free.  Who wants to wake up to face the gun on a daily basis?  Who wants armies stationed in their towns and villages on a daily basis? Who wants their sisters raped, brothers killed, uncles gone missing? 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

‘Homeopathy is nonsense’

Homeopathy is nonsense, say UK doctors.  They say it is nonsense to drive a point.   They want the state to stop funding this pseudoscience because it is bogus, ‘witchcraft’, and ‘nonsense’.    Almost anyone who has understood science the right way already knows that homeopathy is utter bogus, closer to magic than actual medicine.  And yet, many people swear by homeopathy and continue to consume balls of sugar dipped in alcohol hoping and believing it is actually going to cure them.

The ground reality is that 90% of the people who have studied science do not understand science.  They go through science classes because they have to, learning it by rote, understanding few implications not understanding the gist, and without imbibing the scientific temperament.  That’s quite understandable actually.  Most of the theories of science are counter-intuitive to humans and the laws of nature are not obvious to most of us.   Science has been in the mainstream thought only for the last few hundred years and human brains are not evolved to grasp scientific ideas naturally.   Humans have to leave their natural intuition aside and follow the rigorous tools of careful observations, sophisticated experimentation and logical deductions to understand and appreciate science.  However, most humans are lazy and they continue to see patterns where there are none, and continue to believe in certain miracles where there are none.

Court decisions on Hindi/Burqa

Is Hindi our national language?

In one of the previous articles, Hindi is a North Indian Language, I said that Hindi is not our national language, though many Indians seem to believe that.

Recently, Gujarat High Court has observed that Hindi is not a national language because there is nothing on record to suggest it. 

The court observed, “Normally, in India, majority of the people have accepted Hindi as a national language and many people speak Hindi and write in Devanagari script but there is nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country.”

Hindi remains an official language.  So does English.  One of the key recommendations I make to emancipate the downtrodden in India is to teach their subjects in English.  All government schools in India should embrace English as medium of instruction right away.  The elite, the politicians and other Indophiles who are keen on protecting the regional language could send their kids to private schools where the medium of instruction is a regional language.

Supreme Court doesn’t allow veiled women IDs

In another landmark decision, Supreme Court of India has asked the veiled women to lift their veil for voter identification. 

Darwin’s Theory and Atheism

Charles Darwin was not an atheist in the conventional sense.  He believed that God was responsible for the First Cause.  And yet, he is a poster boy for atheists nowadays.  As such many non-atheistic skeptics and rationalists of the past are championed by present-day atheists.

We run into these situations again and again – Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of United States of America, wrote at lengths on freedom, equality and liberty and yet he had slaves in his household.  Abraham Lincoln, who waged war against the Confederates, thus abolishing slavery in the South, was still not ready to concede Blacks were equal to Whites.   Isaac Newton, who discovered Universal Law of Gravitation, thus setting the trend for removing God from affairs of the Universe and Man, was a firm believer in God.

Liberalism or Atheism or any such progressive idea has been changing, increasing in its extent and vigor, being different in different times.  Thomas Jefferson may be a liberal thinker for his times but when we look into the past and measure his liberalism from our yardstick he fails the test.  Charles Darwin or Einstein may not qualify as atheists from our standpoint and yet they were atheists of their times.   When Judaism came on board, atheists were not non-believers of God but non-believers of God of Moses, the pagans, the worshippers of animals.  When Islam came into existence, atheists were believers of other established religions.  During Spanish Inquisition, the Protestants, the Jews, and skeptics of God were all put in the same league as atheists.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What’s the problem with Indians?

Look at this attitude:

#1. “This is how I live.  This is the right way of living.  You have to live like me”

Many problems in India come from the above attitude.  Many Indians believe they have an idea what a good and moral life is, and they believe they lead such a good and moral life that they take the next step of imposing it onto others.   Contrast the above attitude with the one below:

#2. “This is how I live. That is how you live.  You live your life. I will live mine”

We would solve many social problems with attitude #2.  However, most Indians go with attitude #1 because we tend to believe that we Indians lead a moral life which derives its strength from our Indianness or Hinduness, and we believe it is our prerogative to safeguard our lifestyle by imposing it onto others and correcting other’s lifestyles.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Khap the crap

Most Indians believe that their civilization is the greatest on the planet.  They think it is the greatest civilization because of their unmatched and unsurpassed supreme moral values.  They believe they derive these values from their religion which is not just any religion but a way of life - that gives answers to all the questions and problems you pose, and to even those which you have not posed. 

These Indians also believe that it is extremely important for them protect this greatest civilization and their supreme morals against onslaught of impure alien civilizations that are hell bent on polluting its great culture.  

Hinduism has at its roots the dreadful casteism; and casteism cannot thrive without terming certain things and people as pure or impure.  It has whole set of rules on what is right and what is wrong.  If you keep doing things that are right you keep getting purer and if you do things that are wrong you keep getting impure. When you do things that are impure you are born as low caste; you have to do a whole lot of pure things to improve your caste in the next incarnation.