Thursday, August 28, 2014

About a mama’s boy

About a mama’s boy                                                                         29 Aug 2014
She’s a broomstick wielding dominatrix, he’s a heartbreaker

A few weeks ago a friend told me a story about her 25 year old niece who had just ended 2 year relationship with a boyfriend and was heartbroken over it. Apparently the boyfriend’s mother, despite knowing that her son was in a relationship, had arranged a marriage for him with a more suitable girl, and by suitable I mean wealthy. The boy having been raised to be completely dependent on his family was in no position to argue and so he went ahead and married a woman he did not love thus making sure to screw not just one but two women. Talk about efficiency. Now, what struck me about this was how this story was neither new nor uncommon.

And it’s not always about money of course; many times it’s about caste, religion or, in one particular acquaintance’s case, nationality. A man I know started up a relationship with a woman from Denmark, they were introduced by common friend and so despite the fact that she had just moved to India the woman trusted him. A few months into the relationship the man just stopped calling and the common friends now had the unenviable job of letting the girl know that he had just gotten engaged to an Indian woman handpicked by, no points for guessing, his mummy. He had known all along that his family was frantically scouring the region for a bride but he never let on, he just went into a relationship assuming everything would sort itself out. The only silver lining to this particular story is that he accidentally left his Rolex watch at her place that she then gifted to her dhobi.

Having been raised to think they were special, both men behaved in an entitled, self-centered, and in my mind cowardly manner, thus disappointing everyone but their mothers. Does it come as any surprise then that Indian men have a world-renowned reputation for being namby-pamby mamas’ boy and that the Indian mama in turn has the reputation of a broomstick wielding dominatrix? Her goal it appears is to control the male offspring and by allowing her control is how he shows her lover. Last week, on Independence Day, the Prime Minister asked Indians to ‘correct sons and not question daughters’. He was saying this in context of the issue of rape but it seems to me that it could become a mantra that Indian parents adopt with regard to every aspect of their sons’ lives. India, like it or not, is a patriarchal mess and people who allow their sons to think they can treat a woman like disposable tissue are responsible for it. The whole country is up in arms about rape, physical rape that is, and we should be, but what of emotional rape? What of the battering a young woman’s self –esteem takes when her boyfriend of several years leaves her without a backward glance all because his mother said so?

I just read that a study by Dr Mary John of the Center for Women’s Development Studies has found that between 1951 and 2011, the child sex ratio dropped from 983 to 918 women per 1000 men. According to the researcher, “The life chances of women are decreasing even with the onset of development,” which is about the scariest thing I have heard in a while; that said I am not entirely surprised. A few years ago when I was seriously considering having a baby I recall thinking to myself, well I hope I have a boy, because quite frankly I just don’t have the stomach to watch my little girl put up with all this nonsense. When are Indian men going to find other ways to show love and respect to their families that don’t include this lily-livered behavior? More to the point when are you guys going to grow a pair?  

As narrated by Radhika Vaz, TOI 19 Aug 2014

Immense Power of Fullfillment through LOVE

Immense Power of Fullfillment through LOVE                                                     August 27, 2014

Love has its mysterious ways of being fulfilled. All of us seek fulfillment in some form or other. Some seek it in relationships; others seek it in power, name, fame or making money. But all of us seek fulfillment. Everything else other than love puts you in ‘wanting mode’ but not in a ‘fulfilling mode’. Love is the only mysterious energy which makes you feel fulfilled. So in the corporate context, can you bring in love?

Do what you love and love what you do. Love your work, love your difficulties, and love the richness of difference between you and your boss. What is wrong with difference? Why should you see it without the energy of love? If you bring this energy to your work front then you don’t need a holiday from work, for work itself becomes holiday. Love is experienced in a way that you accept people as they are and motivate them to peak their potential. Love makes one enjoy one’s relationships and work and it builds trust in a relationship. Through that you accept the weakness and faults of the other; be it your boss or spouse and learn to love them as they are.

During the civil war someone approached Lincoln and said, “We have got an enemy, and somehow we should get rid of them. Destroy them”. But Linclon’s commitment was to make friends of his enemies. Can we learn from Lincoln the power of love? Lincoln responded, “If I turn my enemy into a friend, have I not slain my enemy?” This is the power of love. Lincoln continued his commitment. In your organization there could be internal enemies but instead of being stressed out, learn to love them, accept them, make friends and transform them. The whole process is love and in the whole proves there is fulfillment.

Understanding the other at work or home comes when you see the other as he is. Understanding comes through being aware of “what is”. To know “what is” you should not allow your interpretation, prejudice, conclusion to interfere in your perception. You should see “what is” without condemnation, without giving your personal slants to your perception. You always give personal slants for you are caught up with your own point of view and hence is in “self love”

Love is to “self love”. “Self love” is exclusive. Love is always inclusive. When you exclude the other, you are in conflict with the other and hence there would be chaos. When you truly love the other, include the other, you are not in conflict. Team spirit happens in such an inclusive space. The corporate world will be in order if one learns to explore how love can be the basis of one’ work. This should be our real goal. From this backdrop, go ahead in reaching your materialistic targets. Then life is truly fulfilling.

There is no worship ¼iwtk½ greater than “SERVICE TO MANKIND”.

Long live the spirit of Special Olympics

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Fact File- China’s dream our nightmare

China’s dream our nightmare                                                                                 19 Aug 2013

India’s strategic planners must recognize the nature of the Chinese State and make all interactions transactional

After his appointment in December 2012 to the country’s three top positions-general secretary of the CCP Central Committee (CC), chairman of the Central Military Commission (SMC) and President of China-Xi Jinping further concentrated greater authority in himself. Today he heads seven of the Central leading small groups, the most powerful bodies overseeing government and Party affairs. He now guides and supervises all affairs relating to the national economy, armed forces and military modernization, cyber security and domestic security. The important point is that this has concurrently further strengthened the CCP’s grip on the levers of State. Today, Xi Jinping is China’s most powerful leader since Mai Zedong.

Xi jinping’s concept of ‘China’s Dream’, articulated in December 2012, has already entered the Party’s lexicon. In addition to making the people wealthy and the nation strong, the concept envisages “rejuvenation” of the Chinese nation, which implies the “recovery” of all former territories and depicted by China’s maps. This concept and his speeches are central subjects in the ‘study sessions’ held regularly by the Party and PLA.

The anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by Politburo Standing Committee (PBSX) member and fellow ‘princeling’ Wang Qishan, as chairman of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC), has reinforced Xi Jinping’s authority. The campaign has targeted a number of vice ministers and cadres at the Party’s second highest rung of leadership, namely Politburo (PB).

Modernization of the PLA, facilitated by the consecutive double-digit hikes in defence budget since 1993, has accelerated since the 18th Party Congress. Reliable reports state that China;s seven Military Regions are being merged into five. The PLA is being downsized by 800,000 persons and elimination of the 3000,000 non-combatants is proposed within a decade. There has been a vast infusion of funds in defence research and development in a major effort to upgrade technology, with China expecting to operationalize its second aircraft carrier in six years. China’s military doctrine dictates heavy concentration of firepower in a localized area to overwhelm the ‘enemy’. This reorganization gives the PLA a definite “outward orientation”, implying that “recovery” of territories claimed by Beijing will be a central feature of China’s strategic agendra and reinforce diplomacy aimed at realising “China’s Dream”.

India’s strategic planners will be prudent to recognize the nature of the Chinese State and make interactions transactional. Areas open to economic engagement should have clearly defined limits. India’s defence preparedness must be given priority.

Extract of an article by Jayadeva Ranade, HT, 18 aug 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fact File-Independence Day Special

Forewarned has to be forearmed                                                                               14  August, 2014

The RSS, which is against the idea of India as a pluralistic society, is seeking to negate the vibrancy of the mosaic that distinguishes the country

A disturbing tendency visible during the election campaign appears to have become the perfected strategy of the RSS/BJP now in government with an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, albeit with a mere 31% share of those who voted. This tendency, true to their character, is to speak/act with a forked tongue-one for public consumption to give a false comfort level and the other for ground level mobilization. The BJP discharges this responsibility as the political arm of the RSS. Thus, ‘development’ and ‘Gujarat model’ employed as election mascots were only the veil concealing the actual ground reality of the campaign that focused on the sharp ening of communal polarization. It is, therefore, quite natural that this BJP victory would lead to the aggressive pursuit of the RSS ideological project of converting the secular democratic Indian Republic into their version of rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

This has been confirmed by the RSS chief who, at Cuttack on August 10, asked that if inhabitants of England are English, Germany are Germans and the US are Americans, then why aren’t inhabitants of Hindustan not known as Hindus. He went to say, “The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendents of this great culture. Within a few weeks of the new government, those who were arguing during the election campaign that the BJP is downplaying its communal agenda are already feeling betrayed and, thus, silenced. The core Hindutva agenda-the abrogation of Article370, Uniform Civil Code, building of the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya-have all been articulated by Cabinet ministers and RSS leaders. A Goa minister has stated that with the BJP’s victory, the establishment of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ has begun. At the ground level, this is reflected in the sharpening of communal tensions across the country leading in some places to brutal riots and the death of innocent Indians.

There is also an element of ‘social engineering’ in fomenting such communal tensions. The crescendo of incendiary speeches is rising. Last week, a VHP leader thundered in Indore that the Muslims may have forgotten Gujarat 2002 but would remember the Muzaffarnagar riots last year. This comes on the heels of another VHP patron saying that, “Tables had turned on the Muslims”. The signals, thus, are amply clear. Being forewarned must mean being forearmed. Every patriotic Indian must rise to the occasion to prevent such sharpening of communal polarization that has the potential to weaken and disintegrate the immensely rich and diverse social fabric that has woven together out great country.

In addition to what Sitaram Yechury (a veteran CPM leader) has said Parliamentarians of Modi Sarkar are being regimented & baptized to saffron culture. Directions have been issued to all the MP’s (made by Modi) not to leave Delhi on 15 Aug. Rather each one of them are to be present at “Red Fort” to Modi ji Sermon. Nobody dare defy his (NaMo) directions and dictum. They all know & owe their electoral victory to NAMO. None of the BJP MP’s are leaders in themselves.

It is always traditional and politically desired to attend “Independence Day functions, celebrations in their own constituencies, for social interaction and connectivity. As this was not enough all NAMO’s MP’s have been directed (rather ordered) to attend a sermon from Shri Bhaiya ji (2nd in command of RSS) on 14 Aug from 0730 to 0830 (At Vhekaiha Naidu’s residence) Complete regimentation saffronization, baptization is on by the “Prime Mover” of the BJP the RSS. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Silence is not golden

Silence is not golden                                                                                     August 9, 2014

(The day 2nd Atomic Bomb was dropped on Nagashaki-1945)

Narendra Modi has a chance to lead, even change, the nation’s discourse. Right now, we are ripe  for a thousand unspoken conversations; Secularism, inclusiveness, development, gender, poverty. But instead of a dialogue we have competitive shrillness.There is great noise around Narendra Modi’s silence since the 60-odd days that he has been prime minister. Garrulous candidate Modi of the campaign trail seems to have morphed into politically correct Prime Minister Modi; a travesty of his taciturn predecessor.

Yes, we know from his tweets that Modi is saddened by the loss of lives in a Pune landslide, wants to harness the potential of our fisheries sector, and salutes the brave martyrs of Kargil. But of the increasingly frequent litany of comments from the loony brigade there is silence. India’s greatest women’s tennis player is derided by a BJP MP as a ‘daughter-in-law of Pakistan’. No word from the PM. A political ally shoves a chapatti into the mouth of a caterer who is fasting for Ramzan, and our prime minister remains silent. That indefatigable Hindutva warrior Ashok Singhal warns of “Further Hindu consolidation”. Not a murmur. Goa’s Christian Hindu deputy chief minister redefines the Constitution by describing Indian as a Hindu Country. Silence.

To be fair, India’s prime minter cannot respond to every 24-hour news outrage cycle abd certainly some of the controversles of the past few weeks have been hyped by TRP hungry media, Right wing self seekers and a floundering Congress opposition. Yet because it is clear that what is emerging are not stray comments but a pattern of hate speech from members of his own BJP and the larger Right wing alliance, Modi’s continuing silence is disconcerting for a number of reasons.
First, the silence can be construed as a nod to the raucous brigade. Silence is not just the absence of words. It can also mean tacit support. Second, the silence poses questions on the priorities of the prime minister. Modi’s emphasis on economic prosperity speeding up bureaucracy, energy security and bilateral relations cannot come at the cost of social inclusion.

Third, the silence leads to an uncomfortable suspicion. One must ask: Is Modi his own man? Or are political compulstions forcing this maun vrat? Is Modi so beholden to the RSS that he cannot even issue the slightest disapproval’. Fourth, Modi’s prime minister ship follows two terms of UPA rule, characterized by near absolute silence from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the aloofness of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. After pitching himself as a man of the people, Modi’s silence could lead to an uncomfortable  conclusion of Congress-style arrogance: I don’t owe an explanation to those who elected me.

Finally, in Modi’s diktat to ministers to choose their words carefully, in his refusal to take mediapersons along on official tours, there is a clamping down on information, which is inimical to any democracy.

An extract of an article by Namita Bhandare are HT 02 Aug 14

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A recipe for disaster

A recipe for disaster (As Spelt out by Kunal Bose in HT 30 July 2014)            
Day of Doom when 1st Atombomb                                                                        August 6, 2014
was dropped at Hiroshima-1945

India wastes food worth Rs. 45,000 crore a year. Yet this budget has no roadmap for developing a cold chain across the country,
It is known that over one-third of India’s fruit and vegetable valued at over Rs 13000 crore is wasted annually in the absence of adequate refrigerated storage infrastructure and logistics deficiencies. The other villain is the anachronistic distribution system, favouring middlemen who do not have the vision or resources to create facilities that will not leave horticulture produce exposed to the blistering sun during the long Indian summer. At 2013-14 horticulture production of 280.7 million tonne, the country’s requirement of cold storage space to keep fruit and vegetable freash and cosmetically appealing round the year is conservatively estimated 65 million tone. But the available capacity is just over 30 million tonne distributed unevenly among the states.
This apart, preventable post harvest losses of food grains are around 20 million tonne. Wasted grains of this magnitude, according to the World Bank, would be good to mitigate the hunger of one-thirds of the country’s poor. Of around 65 million tonne of grains storage capacity, space to hold nearly 20 million tonne is just raised platform with some kind of temporary cover allowing quick deterioration in stored grain quality. The 2014-15 budget allocation of Rs 5,000 crore for raising warehouse capacity is too little when unscientific causing big losses of grains, inviting unfavourable world attention.
Marketing system here is so tilted in favour aggregators and traders that prices of fruit and vegetables at the first point of sale at large mandis as a proportion of final retail rates are in the range of 25% to 40%. Since there are at least a couple of layers between farm gate and large mandis, rewards for growers are much less than a quarter of prices at terminal retail point.
Farmers will benefit immensely if they unite in groups to form marketing organizations. There are already a few instances of savvy farmer groups producing and marketing branded fruit which command premium prices.


Food processing (especially veg & fruits) has a tremendous potential in our country. This should be a priority SME/MME with encouraging loan facilities, tax exemption to the participants. Areas and pockets to be identified country wide. Special “Mantralaya” should be created by “Modi Sarkar”. This would help in checking seasonal rise hi prices due to shortage created by whether or manmade.


THE NEW BINLADEN                                                                                           05 August, 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is the biggest jihadist group fighting in Iraq and Syria. (S in ISIS stands for the Arabic word al-Sham, referring normally to the Levant, or the eastern Mediterranean states.) With its focus shifting to Iraq, the ISIS has scored many victories this year, starting with the capture of Fallujah in January. It shocked the world with its audacious takeover of Mosul, the second largest city of Iraq, in June. One of the richest insurgent groups in the world with assets reportedly worth $2 billion, it has now its sights set on Baghdad, throwing the Middle East into a fresh crisis.
The Invisible Sheikh   
It is these qualities that make al Baghdadi such a hero to his followers. To them he is a leader who has proved himself in combat (certainly no dry Islamic theologian as al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri). He controls day-to-day operations, which together with his secrecy only increases his prestige. What he lacks in talk, he makes up for with ambition. Frustrated with limiting his sadism to Iraq, he formally decided to expand into Syria on April 8, 2013 and in so doing, morphed ISIS into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Leant (ISIL)

The Tech Savvy caliphate

Al-Baghdadi has proved to be the complete 21st century jihadi: Not only financially astute but internet savvy. The camera phone and broadband internet have propelled ISIS into the international imagination. Recently, the group abducted and beheaded an Iraqi police officer and then tweeted a picture of the severed head with the caption: “This is out ball. It is made of skin World Cup”.

ISIS Enters a Divided House

In their desperation to find a ‘strongman’ who was capable of restoring order to the country, the US and UK then compounded  their initial mistake by settling on Maliki as their preferred candidate, and helping to secure his election as Iraqi prime minister in April 2006. Maliki was strong, but he was also a bigot. Capable Sunni ministers were booted out of office on spurious grounds and the offices of state and the civil service filled with Shias determined to strengthen their grip on Iraq at the expense of the Sunnis.

The Kurds, meanwhile, have their own concerns. As the Iraqi army deserted the oil-rich city of Kirkuk (Jerusalem for Kurds), Kurdish forces moved in. They have little inclination to leave. “Kirkuk is ours”, said my Kurdish friend Mustafa to me over the phone. And our state is coming, just watch. Statehood is a centuries  old Kurdish dream and Mustafa was merely echoing a belief now percolating through Iraqi Kurdistan.

Saudis Fear Shia Iran

Iraq is unraveling. And Iran (which already holds considerable influence in the country) has stepped gratefully into the mess. The Revolutionary Guard has two battalions on the ground while the Quds force chief major General Qassem Suleimani is reportedly in Baghdad overseeing  the fight back. Tehran considers the fall of Iraq to ISIS an existential threat. It possesses the resources to ensure this doesn’t happen.

All this has terrified Saudi Arabia, the region’s “Sunni lion”. The emergence of an increasingly powerful and anti Sunni Shia Crescent (the notionally crescent shaped region of West Asia with a high Shia population, stretching from Lebanon right around to Qatar) has, in Riyadh’s eyes, materialized. Saudi spy chief yourself bin Ali al Idrisi is fighting a proxy sectarian war with Selemani in Syria as Iranians battle to keep the Alawite Assad in power and Saudis fund Sunni rebels groups trying to overthrow him.

Just over a decade ago, the West decided to reorder Iraq’s internal politics and in so doing, set in motion events that have reordered West Asia’s geopolitical landscape to Iran’s benefit. As ISIS continues to advance across Iraq, it is clear that the only immutable law in West Asia in the one of unintended consequences.

Delhi is also aware of the wider problem. ISIS has rebooted the jihadi franchise; Sunni in surgents around the world are watching and hoping to emulate its striking success. Both al Qaueda and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba are capable of Launching terror strikes in India, which a possible spurt in violence in Jammu & Kashmir, taking the Government’s focus away from growth and much-needed economic recovery, also remains a danger. Prolonged instability  in Iraq could also hike India’s oil prices (Iraq is the coutry’s scond largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia) further damaging the economy. The threat is significant and procimate-not bad for a man who is only 42.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Population Paradox

POPULATION PARADOX                                                                                                                            August 2, 2014

INDIA, TOP OF THE CHARTS                                                                                           
India is home to one in six people (17,31%) on planet Earth

1.27 billion People in India at the end of 2012, make it the second most populous country in the world, next only to Chine with a population of 1.36 billion.

26 million Births each year, India is projected to overtake China to 2025 to become the world’s most populous country. China’s population will decline to about 1.3 billion by 2050, show projections from the UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs.


·         At 240 million, India’s youth population (15-24) year is higher than the combined population of 18 countries in West Asia.
·         22% girls still get married before 18 years of age
·         Contraceptives are used by just 18.6% people in this age group
·         More than 25,000 young mothers die in India every year
·         45% of women who die at childbirth are under 24.

MEDICINE, FITNESS AND LIFESTYLE TRENDS                                                                                       
Inactivity causes weight gain

Less exercise, not more calories, is responsible for expanding waistlines, particularly in young women, reported the American Journal of Medicine. US data shows that over the past 20 years, physical exercise has lowered drastically and average weight has gone up, even though the total daily calorie, fat carbohydrate, and protein intake have not changed, report researchers from Stanford University. In the US adult women who reported no physical activity jumped from 19.1% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010. For men, the number increased from 11.4% in 1994 to 43.5% in 2101. During the period, average BMI has increased across the board.

Apple Enhances Sexual pleasure in women

Compounds found in apples stimulate female organs and boost sexual pleasure in women, report Italian researchers in Archives of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. A study of 731 healthy Italian women aged 18 to 43 who are apples regularly more than one a day-scored higher on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) than those who didn’t, suggesting it increased their sexual pleasure.

 Apples contain phloridzin, a compound quite similar to a female sex hormone called estradiol, which plays a large role in sexual arousal. Apple a day also prevents a heart attack, and may even be as effective as taking a statin, claim Oxford University researchers.