Give me 10 Votes, I’ll give you a Bike!

Jai Hind!

While watching the live telecast of our 63rd Republic Day celebration from Delhi, the background music of क़दम क़दम बढ़ाये जा, खुशी के गीत गाये जाये जिंदगी है क़ौम की, तू क़ौम पे लुटाये जा (Qadam Qadam baṛāē jā, khushi kē geet gāē jā… yē zīndagi haiñ qâum kī, tū qâum pē lūtāē jā) made me nostalgic and for some time, brought the mighty feeling of a soldier  of the Indian National Army (INA).  On a personal request from Netaji, Ram Singh Thakur composed this  song for the Indian National Army. Way back in 1942, when Ram Singh Takhur composed this extremely patriotic song, he never would have thought that this will make him eternal.

While marching for a free India, Netaji declared his motto “Give me blood, I will give you freedom“. That attracted many Indians to not simply participate in the freedom struggle but even sacrifice their lives for the honor of their motherland. Gone are those days….. India is a democratic republic celebrating its 63rd Republic Day today.

Over the years, many things have changed, so also our “leaders” and we “the people”. Not that all the changes are negative, there are of course many positive ones that have shaped the country. Still, I believe that many more things could have uplifted our status as a welfare state. Today, what bothers most Indians like me is “Corruption”! With the logjam in Parliament and politics over Lokpal Bill, a “corruption-free India” may not be possible in the near future.

Even if a strong Lokpal Bill is passed, corruption is no way going to die in a single day. This is because it has spread to the root of our system, our existence and our blood.  Except a few people, I would say most of us are corrupt and involved in favoritism in some way or the other. Very often, we do not have an option if we need to get our work done smoothly or quickly. Though it is hard to accept, it is a fact.

Corruption during the election reaches its peak. Political parties, irrespective of their national or regional strength are involved in various forms of corruption. In most of the cases, corruption is also closely linked to crime and underworld activities. The power of MWMW (Money, Wine, Muscle power and Women) takes the centre stage. MWMW is becoming the general norm and eligibility criteria for party candidates.

Black money, country made liquors and drugs are being poured into the game from different sources. Even though the Election Commission is very strict and has put many officials as observers, there are several eye-opening cases that come to light every day. Huge amount of cash has been recovered en route to the poll-bound states. Drugs and country liquors are becoming a strong weapon to woe the voters. Recent raids in Punjab and UP led to the discovery of huge amount of drugs and liquors.

With corruption largely being a moral issue, law enforcement agencies have always found it hard to root it out through either force or preventive surveillance. Moreover, sometimes the observers and the law enforcement agents are also corrupt. But the worst thing happens when the common man, the aamjunta or the voter becomes corrupt. If our votes are sold to these corrupt leaders for a meagre cash or a bottle of wine or drugs, then whom can we blame! Neither the Election Commission, nor the Lokpal Bill can bring any solution for this.

For an example, in the recently conducted Municipal elections in Maharashtra, money took the centre stage to buy votes. Many political parties had bribed the voters a meagre sum of Rs 5,000/- per vote. Irrespective of the rich or poor, literate or illiterate, educated or  uneducated, people across the society were involved in this kind of dishonest activities. House maids, vegetable vendors, daily workers, factory workers, auto walas, school teachers, and many others including polling officials went for holidaying or picnics on election black-money. New bikes without registration were kept in petrol pumps; one could take a bike free-of-cost, just on the condition of arranging 10 votes from his/her family and/or friends. The new motto now being “Give me 10 votes, I will give you a bike” !!!!

The actual election process and the common man’s attitude is very pathetic. As long as we do not cure ourselves of this shameful attitude, no legal process or authority can prevent unethical practices like bribery, intimidation and  misuse of office and power. These huge malpractices combined with casteism, communalism and regionalism are going to ruin the election system and the fundamental structure of Indian democracy. It is going to let India’s face down as a world leader in practising true democracy and being its ambassador.

Jaago aamjunta, jaago… This is time to show our strength, and make the system clean and strong. Let’s cast our precious vote not under the influence of MWMW but based on our own conviction – a conviction that is largely based on morale and right knowledge. We need to do some thing unique, which will make our life rewarding and us worthy aamjunta; not an useless and corrupt aamjunta. Let’s respect our dignity and our country. The choice is definitely ours !!!

Jai Hind!

An “Open Letter” to my Fellow Indians on the eve of “Independence Day”

My Dear Fellow Indians,

First, let me congratulate you on the eve of Our Independence Day. Wish our hard earned Independence from the tyranny and suppression lasts long and we discover ourselves in  a country without hunger, terrorism and corruption in everyday life.

Like every human being, I too have a life, and a desire for a peaceful and “Independent Life”. Unfortunately, the current political system and state of affairs do not allow me to have a life of my own – without fear of coming back home when I step out, without fear of losing my life’s saving when I invest, without fear of getting cheated by our Ministers and Politicians, without fear of getting killed or kidnapped by the Maoists if I travel to “Malkanagiri” or “Similipal” or “Dantewada“, without fear of getting a fake degree if I take admission into a college, without fear of getting raped or kidnapped when I roam around in our national capital “New Delhi“, without getting targeted by a section of people and media if I am a Hindu or Muslim or Sikh, without getting labeled by my fellow Indians that I am a “Chinki” if I am from the north-eastern states, without fear of loosing my life and job if I am from Bihar and UP when I am in “Mumbai“, without getting targeted by the Mafias and Babus if I file an RTI and without being thrown out from private schools and hospitals if I am a poor.

Friends… the recent incidents such as 2G or ISRO or Adarsh scams, land grabbing by politicians in name of trusts and charity, CWG mess, siphoning taxpayers’ money in the name of development and other schemes in various states, dividing India in the name of regionalism and religion, nexus of judiciary, layers and politicians, slow and inactive steps of our Police and CBI, populist schemes to attract votes have really shaken the faith of every Indian like me on the political, judiciary, educational and structural systems of India. It is indeed a mater of concern –  for you, for me, for our future generation and for every Indian.

Then… should we allow ourselves to be ruled and governed like this? Don’t we think a change is required at this stage? How can we justify and console ourselves every day when we get hurt, when we are cheated, when we are thrown out by the police in the midnight, when we are taken for granted for every thing – in the parliament, in the cabinet meetings, in the press briefings! Our freedom is at stake, our life is in danger and our survival is in jeopardy.

Do you think that the country which is famous for its “youth” will present itself to the future like this? Do we have any remedy for these kind of short-term and long-term diseases?

Yes, we have, but it is not easy and cheap. It is difficult and sometimes very costly. The solution is just another struggle for independence; a fight for our survival, a fight for our dignity and a fight for our future. Remember, this fight is not against any one else, it is against our “chalta hai” attitude, against our own people; it is a fight of our inner strength against ourselves and against the pseudo-systems – cultural, communal and social. It has to start from the family through right teachings of life and value system, and from the very own “I and you — We“.  Neither the blame game nor the pahle aap and pahle aap can help here. We may have to pay a heavy price in terms of life, money, time and peace for this. It is not free..

A change in attitude and look is necessary; may take a long time for a change, be it short-term or long-term. Another Rang de Basanti….

On the very first Independence Day when Pundit Nehru addressed the nation, he addressed with hope, a sense of fulfillments and sense of achievement.

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance …. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.     

Pundit Nehru (15th Aug, 1947)

Friends, he (Punditji) was right on his own way and at that moment; as the first Prime Minister of India, to architect India and the future of Indians. Sixty Five years have passed… and we are still discovering and re-discovering ourselves!!! “independent” is just another metaphor in public speeches.

Hope and wish India and Indians wake up to a dignified life and true freedom – their “birth right“.

Jai Hind!

Collision of Egos to Joy of Giving

While taking a glance through the “Times of India” this morning, I got curious when I saw some thing with a heading “Collision” in the regular space provided for the regular articles/columns on “The Speaking Tree“. Being into a profession which deals with the word – collision (Packet/Frame Collision) at-least 100 times a day, I could not hold my nerve to wait; read the entire article in a flash. The theme and overall presentation of the article was enough to provide the necessary thrust to my concious and sub-conscious mind and to come out of a collision between to write a post and not to write a post, occuring in my mind for the last couple of weeks.

In the world of networking, one condition for successful transmission and reception of packets lies on the fact that packets should be transmitted in a collision free environment. Of course, one will advocate that there are advanced techniques, which ensures successful decoding of packets even if there is a bit of collision between the transmitted packets. Yes it is true, but only when the collided packets have different energy, not every time.

Now coming to the theme of this article, there are strong good wills surrounded by broad vision and there are egos in our everyday life. When egos of different people collide with each other, then natural as well as unnatural problems arise, be at home or in work places. Problems of these kind can never be sorted out in general, or can never be overcome by a stronger ego over a lighter ego; rather get multiplied into many folds – can be fatal in some cases. In addition to this, with egos of high order, preservation of self image and self identity gets contaminated with stubbornness, selfishness, unwillingness to compromise, unwillingness to forget and forgive others; does not matter how small or big the preservation is. Unless the person differentiates between the ego and strong will, he/she runs into a vicious circle of the self and the other, me – mine and you – yours; resulting in no respite in/from life. To come out from the jaws of egos a strong will is required, and one who exhibits tolerance and endurance and power to vanquish or punish the opponent, should also choose to forgive and forget instead.

Like the use of various collision resolution mechanisms or collision avoidance and collision detection mechanisms in networking to increase the throughput and successful transmission/reception of packets, there are definite needs of collision resolution/avoidance/detection mechanisms in the case of egos. A strong will with a broad vision is of course needed as a collision resolution mechanism or a means to overshadow the ego or to transform the failures into success and problems into solutions. Some times, it is the sheer acceptance of the facts and a solution there after, required to bring some one from the trauma of so called destruction or failure.

In some sense, one can say that it is the joy of giving or joy of being with/for others or joy of recognizing a life with full of uncertainties or the joy of responding to a cause in the society. But, one can argue with intellect that how and why should I give or respond or recognize or compromise?, or why me? Yes, these are absolutely right questions? And, yes, it is true that no answer will completely satisfy the “self” or the “I“. Some time it becomes a matter of survival also; quite impossible to accept though. But, what else do we have to offer – a debate is certainly inevitable! But, don’t you think most of the problems resulted out of ego or stubbornness or selfishness can simply be solved by the above means. Some times the little smile on our face or a small thank you or excuse me does the wonder for the other and hence for the self.

The joy of giving is obviously not related to give some thing in kind all the time. One can experience the joy of giving by simply accepting some thing or putting our legs on their shoes or showing some interests related to some facts or recognizing a cause. This not only brings smile on many faces, but also brings a means to live; to bring some one out from frustrations, including ourselves. Just remember how many times you were frustrated because your achievements and efforts went unrecognised. Same thing happens with others too. Can’t we help them by simply recognizing their good works or by gifting them a smile or praising for their achievements? These things of course are free of cost; then what forces us not to give and not to enjoy!

Some says, do not believe strangers, and I say all my friends were strangers; and yours too :). But, then where does the enemy come from? Enemy was there, and it will be there, in the form of ego, hate, frustration, dis-interest, non-recognition and many more and within the self and the other. It comes, collides and destroys our families, relationships, work place and society in large and creates the wide distinction and differentiation between the self and the other.

Aamjunta, what do you think? – opting joy of giving! or colliding with egos 🙂

A strong personality exhibits tolerance and endurance. It has the power to vanquish and punish an opponent, but chooses to forgive and forget instead. When we are egotistical, on the other hand, we demonstrate our weakness by answering a pebble with cannon.

PS: Interested readers can browse the original article Collision of Egos, published in the Times of India, dated: 24th Aug, 2010.

The Fear of Asking in a Class Room….

Should I ask him/her? No… What will people think of me, if I ask this? Stupid? No, I think it is a silly question? I should not ask him/her !!

Most of us must have experienced this some day or the other of our day-to-day life.

This is a common fear for most of the students in a class; be it in school, or in college. In general people don’t ask questions thinking that the question that comes in their mind might be a silly one or it might not have the worth to be asked. Some times we think that the teacher might scold or shout at us if we ask. But, by not asking the question and clearing the doubt at the right moment don’t we think we harm ourselves? increase our doubt level?

And the result is, we struggle to find out the answer and spend more time and resources. We loose our self confidence or struggle to excel in our day to day life. We should remember that questioning is a process of learning, one has to ask, either to himself or to the other in that process.

The exact opposite is seen in case of a child. If he/she does not understand, he/she will ask more than a thousand questions, “why, how, when, whom, blah blah blah…”, till you either get irritated or he/she gets satisfied with your answer. He/she will get his/her doubts cleared at any cost. But, the same kid starts feeling shy, looses self confidence once he/she grows in time.

The fear of should I or should not I, the fear of loosing (be it self confidence or something similar) starts resulting in the development of a fear or shyness to ask in day-to-day life.

For an example, one can very well experience/observe this in a typical class (lecture) where students from MTech, BTech, PhD etc. are there.The BTech students usually ask many questions, irrespective of the type and quality of the question. Most of the times they do not fear and simply ask the teacher and do not let the teacher go unless their query is answered. This is a very good sign.

Whereas in the same class, one can hardly find any question from the MTechs or the PhDs. Not that they understand every thing in the lecture; they too have doubts like any other student, but the self confidence is low, the feeling of inferiority complex is very high, and the sensitivity towards “what others will think about me” is so high that they cannot ask any thing. They just can’t come out from the should I or shouldn’t I barrier. This is quite common in the case of new entrants, 1st yearites, be in 10+2, BTech, MTech or PhD, which usually disappears over time.

Some times language creates a barrier in questioning. Those who have studied in Hindi or in any regional medium usually feel shy to ask, because they feel, that their English is not that good. In some cases the social or cultural background of the student also creates the barrier in asking. If they are in minority in the class, they do not feel comfortable and do not ask much. A good example can be in cases of female students who sometimes do not ask any question if they are out numbered.

This kind of shyness and lack of confidence can be observed in many fields and in many different places, be it in class room or in office or at home. Now the question arises how should we take this problem? In lecture/class the teacher must realize the problem of 1st year students and encourage the students to ask. May be by making the lecture more interactive and involving more students, might help to some extent.

Remember that by asking even silly questions you are not going to harm any one, but if you do not ask, you will not be able to clear your doubts in the class room premises, resulting in no clear understanding of the topic and also spend more time doing the same thing. By doing this, the barrier between should I or should not I increases. The more you fear, the more you loose. But, do we want to loose? No. Then? …

aamjunta, what do you think? Better ask and clear your doubts in the class next time 🙂 . It is better late than never.

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