State of Indian Economy

Economic slowdown is often cyclic and a fact of life. The economic woes are all pervasive and the root causes commonly fall within select patterns. Individual countries have different problems. However, there is common a shared thread and a select set of individual factors. Identifying the patterns for a specific country will help in putting up a strategy for revival. I have focused on articulating the need for a solution within broader problem space for India, which has fluctuated economically from at risk (2013), expansion (2016) and now again at risk (2019). This blog is not exhaustive and does not go into a detailed root cause analysis or detailed solution building exercise.

In this article, I have identified select solutions that would cater to the existing problems, help boost the economy and address the social issues.

Economic slow down is often cyclic and a fact of life. Slowing down or crash landing of Indian Economy is an increasing chatter on the internet. However, a closer look will reveal that the recessionary phenomenon encompasses most major economies including US, China, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Russia, South East Asia (the so called ‘Tiger Economies’ of 2000’s), Brazil, Turkey and oil rich Gulf Nations. Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina are acutely going through this recessionary distress with revolts and change of ruling Governments. Venezuela is undergoing severe inflation called stagflation that is spreading the contagion across the borders. Poland and Canada are amongst the only few countries that are showing flying colors despite the adverse global economic head wind.

Nations such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and many African countries, especially those who have subscribed to the String of Pearls (SOP), Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partner (RCEP) and the 54 nations of the Africa Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will face a massive financial challenge while servicing the burgeoning Chinese loans. Countries such as Pakistan, are on the precipice of falling into bankruptcy. 

The economic woes are all pervasive and the root cause commonly fall within select patterns. Individual countries have different problems. However, there is common a shared thread and select individual factors. Identifying the patterns for a specific country will help in putting up a strategy for revival. I have focused on articulating the need for a solution within broad problem areas. This blog is not exhaustive and does not go into a detailed root cause analysis or detailed solution building exercise.

Ignored Global Comparison:

In India, private debt in 2017 was 54.5 per cent of the GDP and the general government debt was 70.4 per cent of the GDP, a total debt of about 125 of the GDP, according to the latest IMF figures. In comparison, debt of China was 247 per cent of the GDP. As of October 2018, it stands at approximately CN¥ 36 trillion (US$ 5.2 trillion), equivalent to about 47.6% of GDP. A key gauge of China’s debt has topped 300% of gross domestic product, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), as Beijing steps up support for the cooling economy while trying to contain financial risks. China’s total corporate, household and government debt rose to 303% of GDP in the first quarter of 2019, from 297% in the same period a year earlier, the IIF said in a report this week which highlighted rising debt levels worldwide.

In the United States, total non-financial private debt is $27 trillion and public debt is $19 trillion. More telling, since 1950, U.S. private debt has almost tripled from 55 percent of GDP to 150 percent of GDP, and most other major economies have shown a similar trend. Cumulative debt stands at 40 trillion dollars. Comparative figures from US reveal that India is not badly hit, considering the numbers released by the Indian Government are trust worthy and credible.

Let us review select Key Performance Indices (KPI’s) of India’s financial health. Here are few interesting figures from the State Of Indian Economy –

  • GDP growth is at a 15-year low
  • Unemployment is at a 45-year high
  • Household consumption is at a four-decade low
  • Bad loans in banks are at an all-time high
  • Growth in electricity generation is at a 15-year low

The list of highs and lows is long and distressing. But the state of the economy is worrying not because of these disturbing statistics. These are mere manifestations of a deeper underlying malaise that plagues the nation’s economy today. These figures were  published in the Hindu, a very reputed and respected daily. When I share independent data from foreign outlet, those are immediately ridiculed as being ‘biased to damage the growing stature of India’.

I was talking with a building contractor friend of mine who has a meaningful business.  When prodded on his state of business, he said, everything is so dry and no new constructions are taking place. This is not my isolated discussion. Every now and then, I do probe these questions to people across the globe and India happens to be on the top. Below is a list of industry verticals that are not just sluggish but in recession (more than 2 quarters of slow down beyond certain percent points).

 

India Economic Slow Down

Industries Impacted: 

  • Manufacturing
  • Farming
  • Auto
  • Construction
  • Airlines
  • Service industry

Impact Equivalence: 

If you factor in the total percent affected, you will notice a major chunk of population that forms the base of the pyramid, is affected because of the slowdown.

What happens now?

Well, families and business entities are at least losing 34-57% of their revenue. That’s a significant number. Spending goes down and tax collection goes down, tax at the POS (point of sales), tax from earning and tax from business.

  1. Quantitative Easing
  2. Bad Loans or Risk prone leveraged industry
  3. Global slowdown
  4. China – A special mention
  • Quantitative Easing:

Well, let us borrow now at cheaper rate from the Govt, or blow up what is saved in RBI (exit RBI Governors), loan or from outside or print currency.

  • Bad Loans or Risk prone leveraged industry:

We can’t let this to catapult to a state of anarchy. We have to loan where the potential for defaults are high. Banking, Airlines, Telecom ate common examples. These were bankrupt overnight? The most common folks (shareholders) lost the most. Millions of crores of national treasure disappeared in just a fraction of time.

I disagree with “the Hindu” here. Let us understand, corruption was not just prevalent but endemic and all pervasive. Nothing wrong, if Modi tightened the levers. At least he had guts to do that. No one including the system had shown responsible behavior and if Modi has tightened the noose, nothing wrong about it.

I will elaborate the reasons where we are going wrong, needless and pointless to blame Modi for all the ills. Devaluation and GST came at a wrong time that confluencing along a Global slowdown, on which Modi had little control.

  • Global slowdown:

India is not alone. China, UK, Germany, Japan, US, France, Gulf, Russia, Brazil and many Tiger economies (remember the term for ASEAN economies used in 2000) are significantly slowed down.

  • China deserves a special mention:

China is the worst affected with 100s of ‘Ghost Cities’, flailing international trade pacts (CPEC, Asean and The revival of the Silk road) and the flight of money compounded by increasing cost of labor. It is gaining a notorious reputation of creating and exploiting poor nation’s solvency, squashing neighbors and selling obsolescence across the globe (recollect how your electrical and other goods specifically made is China have become durable and short lasting).

What should be done?

First and foremost, Modi has to move beyond strongman to strategist. A nation survives on vision and not just statesmanship. I have identified few areas that will help boost the productivity at the individual level, jump start the GDP and improve the health of the economy.

  1. Foundational Infrastructure
  2. Roads and Railways
  3. Satellite Cities and Telecom
  4. Innovation in Farming
  5. Revamp Agricultural Supply Chain
  6. Environment and Pollution
  7. Sewage and Containment
  8. Social Re-Engineering

India Vision and Strategy

Foundational Infrastructure:

The endemic water deficiency mandates saving water, reviving rivers and building colossal connected canals for transporting water are a crucial and critical need of the growing population. It goes beyond saying that water is required for Agriculture, Industry and daily use. Lack of water will result in immediate and nationwide chaos.

Roads and Railways:

Not Airways or Bullet Trains. Though the road network is improved significantly in the last decade, it is still only sufficient for the next 5-7 years. Cities are still clogged and they will get further cluttered. Roads and rail are required first, that’s how most population and goods move across the nation. Only few travel by Air or Bullet Trains. Remember, those costly built rail networks in Africa that cost their nation a hefty and heavy loan serving overwhelming burden. India should not repeat that.

Satellite Cities with Telecom/Internet:

Creation of satellite cities is a key to decongest and reducing the risk. We live in a connected world and to be on the forefront, Internet and fibreoptic becomes a foundational utility.

Innovation in Farming:

The last time a major innovation was done under Green Revolution by Lal Bahadur Shastri. Thereafter no radical change has been effected in agriculture. Other than small incremental changes to innovation in productivity, least has been done to the farming supply chain. Current risk management is based on disbursing cash to those drought affected (after an increase in suicide rates) or those with inadequate production.

Revamp Agricultural Supply Chain:

Perishable crops are still creating significant damage. Over production is still a rampant issue. Mid and Long term Storage of crop is limited to grains, very few and insufficient facilities exists for increasing the shelf life of vegetables. India has enough space to store Grains though. Value added product infrastructure is significantly missing.

Environment and Pollution:

Everyone has a recollection of the ‘Delhi as a Gas Chamber’ Situation like Delhi are a commonplace across North India. Though a significant stride has been made towards harnessing solar power and unleashing energy from nuclear (rather than coal), India’s dependence on fossil fuel is significant. To move a huge behemoth and diverse country to alternate source of energy, India needs to invest significantly in innovations across multiple sectors.

Sewerage and containment:

This is still a massive problem. Open defecation are a vestige of a long drawn culture. Unfortunately, no institutional efforts have been made to harness gas and manure from human bioexcrements. Name sake potty’s have been built to take time leverage. Both electricity and gas for industrial use can be harnessed from “Gobar Gas” plants. As a child, I still remember we had one GG Plant and it was my duty to buy cow dung on my way back from morning tuition. I would make the slurry and pour in the tank and go to school. That was 1979-80. I promise, GGP will never fall in disrepute.

Social Re-engineering:

It is utmost important for a nation to find and or reinvent its own identity. India is going through those pangs right now. It is at a confluence of several mingling streams. India cannot take recluse to older achievements. If it had the potential in the past for defining humanity, does not guarantee that it will have the same potential to influence the future of humanity or even define the potential of its nationhood. None of these factors discussed above will bring that constant trajectory of intellectual and spiritual achievement. That will only be guided by Social Re-engineering. Currently, society is defined by Facebook and Whats Up University, which in themselves are manipulated to sub serve our inner mortal and material trappings.

Social engineering around several issues is a need of the time. Issues such as existing in a plural world in harmony, acceptance of differing views and debate in moderation, women’s emancipation, abandoning the vestiges of ‘Chatur Varna’, adoption of a true pursuit of logical and scientific belief, bringing the inner layers into the evolving cycles of current times, creating didactic pathways that would support the emerging needs of occupations at an optimal pace  are the need of the time. The list runs long however, not having a vision and a strategy is an absolutely unpardonable excuse for those in ruling the nation.

I am less worried about the current slowdown. Those are cyclic. They will occur as the tides of time will ebb and rise. However, not making concerted attempts in shaping nation building is definitely wrong if not criminal. Accepted that the Economic currents are adverse, however, people demand creative, strategic and effective leadership to avoid stagnation, slowing down increasing headwind resulting in a healthy slow landing of the economy rather than a disastrous landing. Leaders of all hues and color have to collectively dedicate themselves towards these vision, irrespective of their commitment to ideologies, being in the seat of power or having the ability to influence.

A Gentle Request:

If the above makes sense to you, may I request you to spread the awareness. Finally, it is the masses that define the polity and politicians do what is the sentiment. Let us all create that positive and productive virtuous cycle of sentiments.

 

Shashank Heda,

Dallas, Texas

More to write later…

Also Visit – US and the World Economy here https://wp.me/p7XEWW-1A

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I disagree with below Excerpts from The Hindu below –

The root cause of this rupturing of our social fabric is the Modi government’s ‘mala fide unless proven otherwise’ doctrine of governance. The premise of the government’s policy framework seems to be that economic participants have mala-fide intent unless they can prove otherwise. This suspicion that every industrialist, banker, policymaker, regulator, entrepreneur and citizen is out to defraud the government has led to a complete breakdown of trust in our society. This has halted economic development, with bankers unable to lend, industrialists unable to invest and policymakers unable to act.

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-fountainhead-of-indias-economic-malaise/article30000546.ece

 

Holocaust of Hindustan

We never realized that those residing beyond Hindukush, broadly called as Hindustan is a regional identity of the people comprising a diverse composition of ideologies, culture, rituals, practices in a milieu that accepted the diversity and heterogeneity. Hindustan had gone through 1000 years of atrocities, plunder, and inhumane treatment at the hands of the Arabs, Turks, Monghol and the Persians.

Hindustan tolerated this onslaught and even assimilated remaining residual rulers and their henchmen as part of their character. Gradually, deviations of the new culture had an impacts on the native Hindustani culture and an idea of sovereignty evolved to embrace these new rulers as part of our culture, as part of our nature and as part of our sovereign character.

You all may ask, after all we were a warring faction of several kingdoms, so what is wrong with Turks, Mongol, Mughal or Arabs invading India? Weren’t the Cholas fighting with Cheras and weren’t the Pandians conquering the Cheras? Weren’t the Guptas, the Rajputs and other clans fighting for dynastic control? While I was talking with a small group, in Dallas a few days back, I stated that we were a warring faction of kingdoms but we followed dharma of war, these invaders never followed that dharma of war.

What’s the ‘Dharma of War’?

There are countless examples of princely kingdoms capturing each others and expanding or shrinking as the story (history) of the land unfurled. However, one thing was constant, they followed the rules of war. No fights happened after dusk time, wounded were nurtured and cared irrespective of enemy lines, the losers were no decimated, the women were not robed/raped or even insulted, vulnerable like kids and elders were not touched, property was not destroyed, temples, scriptures and cultures were treated with dignity. There was no forcible conversion, no eviction, no jazia for losers etc. ideologies were untouched. That is the dharma of war (Shashank Heda).

Even in war, they followed humanity. That humanity was a key driving principle. That was a sign of evolution of culture. It was followed almost universally irrespective of region, religion ( Sanatan dharma or Buddhism), time or reason for war.

When these invaders invaded, they were barbaric and rudimentary in the culture and evolution. For those who question the parity of the invaders state versus Hindustan, let me step back and say, thieves plunder the rich, not the nomadic and the poor. That wealth, an an outcome of civilization and culture, formed the reason to attack and plunder.

Let me step back again and add what rudimentary means. Say you have just arrived from a traditional land with rudimentary culture, where women are covered from head to toe and you reach Western Europe or North America, and you see a skimpily clad girl, naturally it is sore and alluring to your eyes. However, those residing here in US, give a damn or turns around and see that skimpily clad girl. her but if that same behavior were to happen in a native land, possibly she will be subjugated to a plethora of maladies depending upon where it had to happen. That’s rudimentary and unevolved culture.

These barbaric Arabs, Turks, Babars and Monghol were barbaric and unevolved people who attacked a civilized evolved land, where the ‘dharma of war’ was laid down as principles. The believed in jungle raj that never knew the principles of war, I call those ‘dharma of war’, the so called tenets that were tacit and spoken understanding before going to war.

We all know that Genghis Khan’s Y Chromosome (and lineage) forms 6% of all Chinese population where his brutal rein rode through. How did that happen? When this trailblazer Mongol started his expedition and captured China, of course he disseminated his DNA all along. Can you imagine the atrocities committed by him? He is the one who converted to Islam after conquering Istanbul (called Byzantinopole or Constantinopole).

Similar brutalities are evident from Latin America, where the Europeans plundered, looted and destroyed the civilization. Europe was then a filthy continent with different diseases like Plague, Cholera, Syphilis and Gonorrhoea.

Most readers are aware of the advanced civilization of the Mayans, Incas and others. This land was invaded by Europeans, who not alone spread the bugs but also killed most men and made a horde of ladies as their harem or concubines. Today, as Latin America stands, very few original ethnicity still remains, most are a hybrid of Spaniards and Mayan/Inca Ethnic stock. They have lost their culture and their religion. Only recently, have they started bringing back their original rituals and ideologies.

When barbaric and immature cultures invade, they pretty much plunder and decimate the niceties of evolution and that’s the story of India. There is one subtle difference between Hindustan and Latin America though, the Hindu story is not as bad as Latin America but India has to stand for its own lost identity and if I reflect correctly, that’s the potent and strong sentiment that is all pervasive. That is the second awakening, the first being the struggle for Independence. The current political dispensation sensed this sentiment and is riding high upon that sentiment.

Glory cannot be just found in history, India will have to toil today to eschew and regain those heights of civilization, sentiment is not enough. Momentum is built with every transaction and every facet is important. That energy is pulsating and palpable amongst the Gen X/Y, everywhere but it needs to be channelized and a milieu created for realization (Shashank Heda, Dallas, TX). That vision to draw a strategic roadmap is being cobbled as yet but India awaits that articulation and the world awaits to embrace the emerging India and comprehend its strength.

Detecting Fake Pills

It’s no exaggeration to compare illicit medicines with the nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction we all fear. These WMDs, though, are largely aimed at people in poor countries who are already facing a multitude of social and economic ills. Sadly, these “track and trace” approaches suffer from a fundamental shortcoming: They authenticate the package, not its contents. A package of medicine is assumed to be genuine simply because it has a valid security mark. Unscrupulous manufacturers can readily circumvent such measures by putting the wrong stuff in the right package. And these approaches offer no help in detecting degradation.

I read this interesting article from my IEEE Spectrum subscription and I immediately correlated that with my recent experience of fake or substandard pills. The magnitude of the problem is humongous. Diabetic medicines that are not effective, to cancer cells that are not killed completely and eventually escape to proliferate further and become out of control to seemingly innocuous infections that are treated not with adequate dose (MIC levels). Sometimes, it scares me to think a patient dying because he had inadequate dose of chemo, and who knows, the antibiotic resistant bugs have evolved due to human greed. It is a massive industry fraud and the entire supply chain is involved.

Fake Pills

In my experience, substandard medicines are not just common in developing and underdeveloped nations. Recently, I took my pills for evaluation to Walgreen’s, a major pharmacy retailer, to inform them that the medicine I got from them was not effective, that a similar pill from another brand was effective and that, another patient, who was given a pill with same but one quarter ingredient had matching size. They evaluated and informed that the manufacturer from China was discontinued. However, their tracking was impressive, there was a alpha numeric inscribed on the tablet, which was visible only with a lens. This Alpha numeric correlated with the source and manufacturer.

It’s no exaggeration to compare illicit medicines with the nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction we all fear. These WMDs, though, are largely aimed at people in poor countries who are already facing a multitude of social and economic ills. Sadly, these “track and trace” approaches suffer from a fundamental shortcoming: They authenticate the package, not its contents. A package of medicine is assumed to be genuine simply because it has a valid security mark. Unscrupulous manufacturers can readily circumvent such measures by putting the wrong stuff in the right package. And these approaches offer no help in detecting degradation.

When you purchase medicine at the drugstore, you assume that it’s what you think it is and that the active ingredient in the drug is present in the specified concentration. Unfortunately, your assumption might be all wrong. Counterfeit and substandard medicines have become widespread, particularly in low- and middle-income countries with weak regulatory systems. Indeed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), one out of 10 medicines sold in developing countries should be considered “substandard.” Your drug could even be an outright fake.

Using a physical phenomenon called nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR), you can test your pill and eat it, too. Nuclear quadrupole resonance requires an atomic nucleus with a nonspherical distribution of positive electric charge, which creates an electric quadrupole moment. The word quadrupole refers to the four electric poles that produce an equivalent nonspherical charge distribution when added to a set of spherically distributed charges. The electronic tester measures the NQR response of the sample at different frequencies. The resulting NQR spectrum is generated by energy transitions within the atomic nuclei of the chemical, providing a unique fingerprint for that compound. Nuclear quadrupole resonance is useful for testing specimens that are solids or powders, but not liquids. While that’s an obvious limitation, NQR has a lot of other things going for it. In particular, it’s insensitive to the presence of coatings or packaging materials. So it can be used to examine pills while they’re still in the bottle or blister pack. Indeed, it could be used to test an entire shipping carton of such bottles or packs, or a drum of powdered material. What’s more, the equipment could be built at low cost and would be amenable to miniaturization. And because NQR instrumentation relies on radio waves of relatively low frequency and power, it is inherently safe and could be used without special training. The prototype drug-­authentication device is portable, performs measurements automatically, and doesn’t require any special skills to operate. It could thus be used anywhere in the drug supply chain. It is estimated that such a device could be manufactured at a cost of about $100, which would, presumably, translate to a price for the end user of less than $1,000.

Credits –

The technology was invented at Nanoscape Research Laboratory Florida and Case Western University by Swarup Bhunia, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the former, and Soumyajit Mandal, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science works at the later, where he oversees the Integrated Circuits and Sensor Physics Lab. This article was published on August 21, 2019 in IEEE Spectrum and was accessed from my account. Excerpts are copied and credited.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/devices/detecting-fake-pills-with-nuclear-quadrupole-resonance

The Ailment – 3

This is the prospective Presidential hopeful admitting the ownership of slaves on behalf of his great great great grandfather. This is worth a rad for those liberals who believe in equal rights for all humans and who understand the torment and pain endured by those who went through this ordeal for generations. I sincerely salute such leaders since these are the ones who create the destiny of the country, not the narrow minded partisan polity. We curse US for its progress. US was born from leaders like Beto.

India does have equal opportunities. However, centuries old Varna System has established the practice deep into our genome. We can survive without realizing the oppression of a class. Enshrining the constitutional reforms with protection of this lower class was first corrective step. However, decades of playing politically correct has deprived the true meaning of the benefits of reservation and we have created another creamy layer within those enjoying reservations and ignored a broad swath of society that still is deprived of those advantages for centuries and generations. The malice does not end there, we have simultaneously created a new class of economically disadvantaged folks who were deprived on normal opportunities in the absence of reservations.

Does that mean, we should continue what with the reservations as is or does it mean reservations policies should be modified to 1) bring wider spectrum of people under the umbrage of reservations 2) avoid creating another legacy of disadvantaged class of society deprived of advantages despite merit? Visit my blog on https://wp.me/p7XEWW-16j

Beto, a US presidential hopeful, wrote a piece admitting his parental legacy being benefitted from slavery. Ownership of other human beings conferred advantages not just to Andrew Jasper and Frederick Williams, but to Jasper’s and Williams’ descendants as well. They were able to build wealth on the backs and off the sweat of others, wealth that they would then be able to pass down to their children and their children’s children. In some way, and in some form, that advantage would pass through to me and my children.

That those enslaved Americans owned by my ancestors were denied their freedom, denied the ability to amass wealth, denied full civil rights in America after slavery also had long term repercussions for them and their descendants. The way that fortune was passed through the generations from Andrew to me, misfortune was passed through the generations from Rose and Eliza to their descendants who are alive today. Rose and Eliza were denied their freedom and the benefits that their labor produced; they and their children were then denied their civil rights after the end of Reconstruction; and their descendants endured open terrorism, economic exclusion and racism in the form of Jim Crow, lynchings, convict leasing, voter suppression, red lining, predatory lending, and mass incarceration. Everything their descendants have accomplished in their lives is despite having all of these odds stacked against them.

In the aggregate, slavery, its legacy and the ensuing forms of institutionalized racism have produced an America with stark differences in opportunities and outcomes, depending on race.

View at Medium.com

The Lennon Walls …

Lennon wall is the apt description for the evolving human experience while experimenting with their freedom and individuality. Lennon Wall is not specific to Hong Kong. The idea was conceived and initiated by John Lennon to represent and express human perspective on local and global causes through graffiti.  https://wp.me/p7XEWW-180

Reading time – less than 3 minutes
Word count – 400;
Level of Difficulty: Aware about international dynamics

Lennon Wall 2

When defiance is strong, engineer an artifact of defection. China is in fact writing a new book on ‘The art of the war’, except the author is not Sun Tzu and the war is against its own people, brutally subjugating them towards sanitized views by the institution. The model is not new neither restricted to China.

Across geographies and over the tides of history, this institutional subterfuge is rampant and prevalent. Few centuries back, when (religious) ideologies rolled across continents, crusaders tried doing that in the Middle East, later the Spanish did that with the new world, Islam did that in Indian subcontinent, Iran and Middle East.

Ideologies were not alone to decimate and dominate amongst the unexposed and unprepared. There is a litany of examples that show the state machinery sporadically dominating and influencing the will of the people. Brutal were called dictators, while those who maintained sanity and balanced the needs of the populace were called Aristocrats and Oligarchs. Despite, human struggle continued and the models of governance continued to be insufficient. Democracy was thus born from these nonchalance and ill accommodation of plural views. However, we see that power corrupts and absolute power does produce politicians and bureaucrats.

China is by far an exception. It has all the will and fangs required for a machinery to brainwash and prevail its state dominated views. To me, its a poultry, where every chicken is offered great antibiotic supplemented food, live at optimal temperature, get great sleep and live peacefully until the life cycle ends. However, China and elsewhere, humanity is dealing with this brutal and relentless engineering and dominance of views.

Emergence of the right wing radicopaths, corrupt democracies and unleashing of feudal nepotism are introducing inaptness. Add to that is a crass materialism and chasm created by advancing technology is creating heady mix of fizz that is bound to explode and revolt. Humanity is still grappling with a new model to deal with this atavistic greed not that it is in dilemma. Its Survival instinct is strong to give way to deal with these happening and when that actually emerges, neither China, nor faith based ideologies or the governance through inapt democracies would work. The protests in Hong Kong represent those early signs of that emerging phenomenon.

Lennon wall is the apt description for the evolving human experience while experimenting with their freedom and individuality. Lennon Wall is not specific to Hong Kong. The idea was conceived and initiated by John Lennon to represent and express human perspective on local and global causes through graffiti.

Scuffles at Hong Kong’s sticky note ‘Lennon wall’
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-48946993

Lennon Walls –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lennon_Wall

Our Obsolete ‘Fairy Model’

The “Fairy Model”, is embedded as a class effort. Islam has humane cause and healthy tenets, however, the clerics and the religious guardians have become too strong, authoritarian and harsh to let any intellectual individual let it evolve. Islam is not an exception, followers of any faith, not just Islam but Hindus, Christian and Jews etc., all have to reconcile to the concept of change and get rid of the obsolete ideas and evolve. Today, we need religious change more than any technology. The chasm is widening everyday. Evolving religious ideologies to match the changing world alone will solve the problem created by this chasm.

“You would be in Jannat (heaven)” with those multiple fairies. Those are the promises made to several of the Jihadist on multiple occasions, umpteen number of time.

Utter nonsense for four obvious reasons –

  1. This presumes carnal life extends to Jannat. In true spiritual sense, if Jannat has to exist, will it be with those material trapping? Great food, sex, pleasure? Utter nonsense taught to gullible and innocents who cannot think through.
  2. That Jannat is also the place where Lord enjoys carnal moments. Wow! So those who prophesies also awaits the moments to indulge in material pleasure? Surprising that the spiritual leaders are ever bonded and never rise and evolve (those interested may read Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).
  3. The perpetrators forget that the victim, after their death, too enjoys similar benefits in Jannat.
  4. Islam has no place for ladies in Jannat, except serve these youngster, who have just achieved martyrdom. Well, that is against ‘equal opportunities’? A review of history shows countless women having led countries, religion and ideologies. It is a great insult to womanhood when their participation is not extolled.

My request to those prophesying terrorism, please change or update your model, it truly sounds dumb because everyone gets the same treatment – The Lord, The Victim and the Perpetrator. It is little old fashioned and outdated. Unlike old fashioned communism, during these times, everyone would like to be treated differently, not the same.

The concern is not about dedicating for religion or its ideologies, it is about having sane ideas and devoting for those. Finally, every religion has artifacts, and I consider this as one of those artifacts. However, truly speaking, enticing young gullible youngsters with a ‘Fairy Model’, sounds really outdated and obsolete.

Every religion is bound with emotions and artifacts but deep inside, there is a rationale and a message for humanity, often in the context when those tenets were laid. However, over a period, those who are expected to safeguard those tenets, either ends up evolving it or denigrating and exploiting it. Evolution generally is forwarded by singular efforts, whereas devolution or exploitation is generally a class effort. An outside-in view will always provide a rationale and reasoning and remove those emotional epithets.

In this case, the “Fairy Model”, is embedded as a class effort. Islam has a humane cause and healthy tenets, however, the clerics and the religious guardians have become too authoritarian and harsh to let any individual let its ideology evolve. Followers of any faith, not just Islam, but Hindus, Christian and Jews etc., all have to reconcile to the concept of change and get rid of the obsolete ideas.

Assimilating change is challenging, especially within the realms of religion. Change is challenging because it is difficult to understand the change since we are moribund to the status quo, and then to assimilate and drive that change within the context of the religion and finally, to contextualize it to make it relevant. Changing the Fairy Model is not just important but an existential reality for not just one religion but pretty much all religion or ideologies.

Kashmir attack: Tracing the path that led to Pulwama

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-47302467

The Ailment – Part 1

Intelligence (and great analysis) is not leadership, that’s what we have in many leaders currently. We have intelligent self-serving folks, focused on themselves with no ability to risk their own popularity with outcome from a tough strategic decision. These folks are less connected with the root cause rather than the rhetoric and who think the rules don’t apply to them. They maintain and operate through a coterie and bunch of sycophants. Why should a coterie or follower, follow them if these leaders can’t provide them any benefit? That last word, ‘Benefit’ is important. Corrupt leaders know that they need to benefit their coterie, that’s why they encourage corrupt folks under them. It thus forms an ecosystem of corrupt, a self-serving politico-corrupt ecosystem. Thus a contagious bad apple effect percolates within the ecosystem they create.

This four point proposal was after a long reflection of the underlying dynamics of frustrations, prevalent at that time. It was a synthesis after a long deliberation and evaluation of several socially disadvantaged people not getting the benefits. Now, after 34-35 years, we see that ‘Akrosh’, that ‘Udrek’ that resentment so intense. May be something should have been done long back, on lines similar to what I proposed in 1985-86.

Not too long back, during independence struggle, the leaders had the stature and commanded respect from their populace. Their character traits encompassed selfless, dedication and benevolent act overarching all humanitarian pursuits, not withstanding their religious, ethnic or regional affiliations. They had a collective vision and a dedication to drive towards that common shared common destiny. Masses respected, supported and followed these leaders. Remember, revolutions are borne out of hungry stomach or incessant injustice. That hunger and or injustice was pervasive. Masses were looking for someone with those aforementioned qualities. These were not born, not charismatic, but they earned that respect through these traits.

Equality Versus Equity

Tienanmen was quashed because economy and opportunities were booming. People have a certain level of tolerance (also called as resilience), to such inadequacies if they are busy with their lives. Over a period of time, social values degraded and that zest to lead fell to decadence. An element of that vacuum of dedicated leaders was filled in by leaders needing sycophants, because they were intrinsically weak, lacked that innate leadership quality and that organic connect with the masses. These leaders were intelligent though, and let me say, intelligence is not higher education. I have seen visionary leaders and able administrators who had a grasp of the state and benefited the masses.

Unfortunately, Rotten Apples are intelligent

Again, intelligence (and great analysis) is not leadership, that’s what we have in many leaders currently. We have intelligent and selfish folks who are self-serving, focused on themselves (with no ability to risk their popularity and voter outcome), less connected with the root cause rather than the rhetoric and who think the rules don’t apply to them. Why should a coterie or follower, follow them if it does not benefit? That last word is important, ‘Benefit’. Corrupt leaders know that, that’s why they ignore corrupt folks under them. It thus forms an ecosystem where there is a hierarchy of corrupt, within a self-serving ecosystem. Thus a contagious bad apple effect percolates within the ecosystem they create.

This nurtures a system that becomes hollow and eroded inside. Gradually, it becomes a norm, a culture and way of life. We never realize how we landed in this state of despair. I am not very hopeful that any change of political party, banner or face will change anything. It is a system problem and they have to get aligned or be ejected, like an allergen or a thorn, out of body. In a doctors parlance, incompatible organs get rejected. That’s what will happen if a different hue (party, banner or face) will try to do.

An often asked question – can intelligence or education make a difference? The answer is obvious.  I definitely rue the state of Indian affairs. It’s Matrubhumi, a place for identity and despite, a place we unfortunately left behind, but our heart aches and it swells with pride when a rocket is launched or an extraordinary achievement is done.

I can write about the recent demonstrations against reservation (affirmative action), against aggravated nationalism, about religious intolerance, about the current generation as a legacy of our evolved culture. I find current state in ruins but should we be hopeless? Definitely not and if you ask me, why? I don’t have a reason to justify (given the state of affairs) but i have deep trust that India will rise. Time alone is an answer and that we are seeing events in time snapshot, as a frozen frame (in time).  That trust within us and that faith in those founding principles laid by the moldings from Sanatan dharma, will see it rising like a sphinx. Time alone is an answer, probably you and I won’t survive to see that, but that will happen, not with dreamy eyes but a reality and of course, I am not making a prophecy so that also means we have to make concerted efforts in that direction.

That ‘WE’ of Nationhood

That WE is important (that I is very is very dilapidated in front of that WE). That WE include this huge diversity – or regions, religions, ideologies, aspirations, ethnicities etc.). Exclusion is formidable and incompatible to us as a nation. Inclusion is our ethos and when we walk together, we make that WE and a great nation. The path is long but achievable and we are making those strides.

Change is imminent and change is required. We have to dismantle old models, reinvent ourselves and make a gargantuan huge machinery that works in unison, completely in sync. Change to ‘reservation (affirmative actions)’, ‘radical ‘religious right wing’ movement, innovation in farming, creating locally dispersed opportunities (and consequently, labor) are few things that need prioritization.

We are simultaneously beset with several cultural blocks. We lack a concerted national vision, and unfortunately, we don’t realize that our very existence is under that nation. Religion, ethnic, family, regional and language ties come later, after that national vision. Right now, it is reverse, we care for our compatriot even if she/he is corrupt or inapt, we care for our ethnic or religious group  despite knowing those are on flawed grounds, so also, we struggle to oppose kinship. However, we hate a specific ethnic group. We have biases and prejudices and prototypes, and we call them Marwadis or Gujjus etc. That rhetoric has continued to build over the last 70 years. We have to end this schism. That’s just one prejudice.

Affirmative Action – a palpable ailment

We also have to remember, collectively as a society, we have exploited a class or strata and it is our collective responsibility to undo that injustice. If affirmative action was inscribed in the constitution, it was envisioned to bring this huge swath of populace into the emerging sense of nationality. Those who haven’t been the beneficiaries of this action, often insists that affirmative action was planned for only a decade. I often rue, is a decade enough to roll back the changes that have been inflicted for centuries now? I strongly feel, though the vision was carved into the constitution, it was only more a vision and those visionaries lacked creativity in rolling out a plan to understand the dynamics of how it would unfurl over decades amongst the diverse growing masses.

In 1985-86, during college elections, I saw casteism for the first time. Medical College Student elections were contested on caste affiliations, they would call it packing. Like packs of caste based groups aligned to vote as en lot. We were the first batch to start Non-Casteist Panel (NCP before Sharadrao coined that term 🤓). However, I was fortunate to be closer to one of the son’s of a prominent leader from socially disadvantaged class. He and I had open discussions on caste based reservations. I proposed, that’s 1985-86, I proposed below items for changing reservation. I cited his own example.

The Four Point Proposal –

  1. One reservation for graduation, one for job.
  2. If you get the job/education without reservation, that credit can be saved for that individual, which he can enjoy anytime.
  3. Once a family is elevated with reservation benefits, they exhaust the benefits for the next generation.
  4. The reservation percent would stay same, not decrease so that other layers within their society get the benefit.

These four point proposal was a long reflection of the underlying dynamics and frustrations, prevalent at that time. These came as a synthesis after a long deliberation and evaluation of several backward communities not being benefited despite a robust reservation program. Now, after 34-35 years, we see that ‘akrosh’, that ‘udrek’ that resent growing intense. May be something should have been done long back, on lines similar to what I proposed in 1985-86.

Today, we see an all pervasive, festering frustration. Millennia of new generations are born from whom opportunities are not alone deprived but we are creating an schism and a divide with our rigid reservation system Where is this heeding?

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The answers are unlikely to be simple, so also they are unlikely to be acceptable to all. That does not mean we leave those alone, untouched because reworking would land us in controversy. Irrespective of the current ruling regime – Congress, BJP, or any combination thereof, all have decided not to open this Pandora box. They are afraid, the bees would bite most to those who are closer to the reworking the problem. However, as time stands today – no political entity or character has the creativity, ability, capacity or vision to solve this festering problem.

Two mute points of learning from this national affirmative action program –

  1. Good intention are not enough, a leader need to be a visionary to unravel such a deeply impactful program will unfurl over a period of time. Articulate and dynamic leaders are required to unleash and embed a program of such national importance.
  2. Such initiatives should be time bound and change to understand, include and assimilate the diverse needs of times.

Except good intent, both these characters were lacking when these reservations were made. Time and events can’t be undone, however, it is still time to make decisive actions and roll out changes that are commensurate with the needs of current time.

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Updated on May 22, 2019

We are so incorrigible to the core that we hardly want to see a perspective beyond ours if in the process; we have to give away our benefits for the wider good. Such issues are not uncommon in advanced economies; however they strive to find an innovative solution with a sincere intent to benefit those who are at the receiving end.

Citing a recent example from SAT, an exam conducted in US for admission to colleges. Over a period, people have tried influencing and getting the best for their wards but the system has evolved and stopped those mutations.

You might have heard an example of how influential parents bribed their way into prestigious colleges. So also, those safeguarding and defining the system have modified it to provide a benefit to those students who struggle in adverse situations. This is similar to the picture I uploaded in my blog, wherein these new laws are implemented to create equal playing field for those coming from adverse situation.

They call it ‘Adversity Score’ and those students facing such disadvantage get additional scores to make these students stand on the same pedestals as those who are from affluent background. This is worth reading.

Link below https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/05/17/students-need-more-than-an-sat-adversity-score-they-need-a-boost-in-wealth/?utm_campaign=Brookings%20Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=72802588

While reservations have created another chasm in the society by creating an artificial class of sufferers, such things can be mitigated by creating a mechanism similar to ‘Adversity Score’ for SAT. However, I am staying away from making any recommendation as it needs a thorough understanding of the root cause. It is upon those who strongly feel the need for change of reservation system to evaluate and come up with an action plan.