Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama and India

US President Barack Obama and his wife rounded off their visit to India with a talk at Siri Fort Auditorium. It was a three days visit,  which was very keenly observed by people of India, was full of events and public apparences much to the discomfort of US secret service.

US President attended a large number of public functions. He comes out to be a warm and spontaneous person enjoying his visit.

His visit also achieved considerable for India. The logjam on Nuclear agreement which could not be broken by officials melted by intervention of the leaders. There were other initiatives including investment, trade,  support to India's case of permanent membership of UN security council, military cooperation, support to make in India, etc.

There were many firsts like first US President visiting India twice (and some predict that he come yet again based on Michael Obama's bytes to a News channel about trip to Agra), First US president to be outdoor, that too in a foreign country, much against SOP of US secret service, for two hours and also things like his and Modi`s one on one talk at Hyderabad house.

He sounded positive, assuring and happy. He also was seen enjoying the events including RD parade.

Our security apparatus, which was doubted by American Secret Service, was very successful in ensuring foolproof security for the visit though it did inconvenience people of Delhi. These men and women who did this work tirelessly need our kudos.

All the issues are not resolved. Soon we may find India and US sparing at WTO. the emission cut is also a flash point. The meeting ground though has been found. A lot of credit goes to personal chemistry between Modi and Obama.

Naysayers will come up with many drawbacks and criticism of the visit but I think it is a successful visit in which we gained much without compromising on our stand.

Actual outcome and its impact cannot be predicted now and would be clear in years to come

Monday, January 26, 2015

TraveLore: Exploring Angkor monuments

My daughter Preeti,  a CA by profession has finished a trip to Angkor Wat,  Cambodia. She has put a post on her trip. Read and enjoy. Kindly put ur comments on her blog directly. Here is d link - http://www.travel-o-graphy.blogspot.in/2015/01/exploring-angkor-monuments.html?m=1

Saturday, January 24, 2015

TraveLore: Chasing the sun at Angkor Wat

Preeti recently traveled to Siem Reap. Here is the link to her blog - TraveLore: Chasing the sun at Angkor Wat. Please read it,  enjoy it and bless her with your comments on her blog.

I have been to Angkor Wat and couldn't have described it better than her.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sucide by Young People, 'Where are we going Wrong?

The topic that I am blogging-on is a topic of psychology whereas I am an Engineer by training. However, I think life experiences and being a parent entitles me to give my views.

Coming to the topic, very often we come across reports of untimely deaths of young people in various incidences like bike crash, car crash, stunts on board a Mumbai Local (specific to Mumbai),etc. They are beyond  control to a large extent. However, when the news of a suicide of a young person is reported, this unwarranted loss of life makes me very sad. I wonder, why did that child take such a extreme step.

The answer that comes to my mind is that probably the child felt helpless, trapped, back to the wall and without any other recourse. May be. What is not obvious is that how did the child, particularly the ones, who had every one in his family to fall back on, reach this state that he / she had to take his / her life?

There are many factors that have changed in the society from my own earlier times around 1978. Many new facets have got introduced into young person's life. Some are for good and some are for not so good.

The sociologists and psychologists have their own theories based on science. However, the reports of suicides, sometimes even on petty things like Cyber bullying, etc makes me think of  one major factor (though there may be many more). That factor is, lack of physical connect.

Today's child is fully wired. He has Internet, mobile, play station and what not. New age parents, on one hand, bring in pressures of competition at a very young age and on the other, providing more and more gadgets to children. End result is the societal connect and also the family connect is getting lost.

The children no more play out doors (very few do play), a very important factor in developing a healthy personality as also a healthy body (and then you hear unfortunate news of some child dying on the play ground because his / her PT teacher made that child run some rounds of the play ground). The physical connect that is so important to develop warmth among people and competitive sprite (this, in a gradual manner as the child grows) comes from interacting and playing together in a non school surrounding (at home or in the housing society or lane).

Also the virtual reality that has engulfed all of us but particularly children is another reason. The child may have 400 friends on FB but his physical, real friends may be withing first nine digits of the number system. He / She may be chatting to 20 people on Whatsapp but might not have spoken to parents, except few sentences, for some days.

Virtual reality is only that, Virtual. It can not replace the touch, feel and the sounds coming from living beings like real physical friends, parents, class mates etc. The parents also are to be blamed. Most compensate for their lack of time by adding some more gadgets and thus some more virtual reality in to child's life. If only they give more of their time to the child and less to making tons of money! After all one many make tons, may be on top of his organization but the years lost and the the childhood killed in those years can not be brought back. Childhood is priceless but it gets lost.

Even the grown up children of 25 or above age are committing suicide. The reason that comes to my mind is yet again lack of connect with parents and society and therefore lack of confidence in getting suitable response / support to their anxiety / worries from society. Virtual world cannot provide that comfort, it has to come from physical world.

The young ones deserve better from our generation. We had all the fun, played out doors, had tons of actual friends. Virtual is here to stay because technology has made us its slave, but time has come that all of us reserve and provide some physical connect to our children and encourage them also to develop healthy, open relationship with their parents and friends in physical domain.

If they are committing suicide, it is our generation which has to take large part of the blame. Question is, is anybody listening?  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

News Media and it's Quest for TRP

News Media are considered eyes and ears of the democracy. They do a very vital task of informing and educating masses. They are required to be kept free and expected to be truthful. The important factors for a News media, print or TV are, objectivity, Accuracy and Speed.

These factors were in application by print and TV media as long as there was no or little competition. As the competition built up,  in the quest for readership and / TRP, the media has,  in their zeal  for speed, routinely sacrificed the the accuracy and sometimes the objectivity.

And it is getting worst. Let me give two examples.

DRDO Chief,  Dr Avinash Chander has 42 years of service to the nation as a DRDO scientist. He has to his credit many successes. He was employed on contract as Secretary  Defence R &  D and SA to RM post his retirement after two extensions last year.Like all government employees who serve till the retirement or the the pleasure of President, he was also serving on contract.

Contracts are governed by Indian Contracts  Act and their termination is done by either party as per the terms of contract. His contract has been terminated by the government yesterday. The PIB notification rightly stated that government has decided to terminate his contract. Without going into the debate on termination of contract I can state that 'Long and short' of this News was only this much.

What did our media do? Headlines screamed, DRDO chief sacked, DRDO chief booted out  and such other derogatory terms were used to specify a simple thing called termination of his contract..

This senior Scientist who has served the nation without blemish was made to look like a corrupt or inept employee. I thought he deserved a better treatment from media. Government employees are sacked, booted out or dismissed from service for gross indiscipline, moral turpitude or financial irregularities and he has not done any one of them.

What should have been the plain news item was made spicy for the sake of sensationalism. It is like, 'Dog biting a man' is not a news but 'Man biting a dog" is. Once one group did it there was competition in the media in coining newer and spicier terms without any regards for his reputation. Worst was, some of the news papers, considered proper and conventional, could not contain themselves and joined the band wagon.

In another incidence on 12 Jan 15, a part of  CCTV grab was shown with a news item that a TT coach molest a junior team female player. Even in the part grab it did not look molesting.

Same news,  with larger CCTV grab was shown yesterday by some TV channels stating that the coach and female player have been removed from TT team for fighting as seen on the CCTV grab. Obviously no verification of the facts was done on 12th Jan when this incidence was called molestation..Yet again the desire to beat other channels , the desire for speed, had resulted in inaccurate and wrong news.

The media knows but overlooks the fact that,  we the audience,  deserve better but sacrifices our interests on the altar of Circulation  / TRP. Hope they go back to BASICs.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Coast Guard and the Burning Boat

In an operation on new year night Coast Guard intercepted a boat which was being tracked for some time using wireless intercepts.  When challenged the boat is said to have tried to evade CG ship and out maneuver it. When CG ship fired gunshots to warn the boat the occupants said to have put boat on fire. Since the CG ship was in the vicinity and it did not see any body jumping off the boat, it is presumed that the occupants also were burnt with the boat which sank.

To me it  sounded like an open and shut case. To my surprise as the time passed, various theories started doing rounds. Some were laughable, some absurd and some were pure political.

Some one said, why navy was not involved? Interesting. First of all the nearest unit is the best unit to  act in such situation. Also patrolling Sea boundary  between India and Pakistan is the charter of CG. Also to handle a small boat as was indicated, a CG ship was fully equipped. They had all the necessary weapons. Why was navy required? Navy is overall incharge of coastal security
but primary execution of the task is done by marine police up to certain distance from the coast followed by CG and finally by the Navy.

Second theory doing round was they were mere smugglers who, when cornered,  set their boat on fire. It is laughable. Are terrorist demons and smugglers saints? Terrorists are a shade worst than smugglers. In any case the laws of our land, based on British jurisprudence are such that simplest for a smuggler is to surrender with or without contraband.  All that would happen to them is they would soon be bailed out and case would go on. So, there is no need for a smuggler to destroy his boat.

If and only if there is a worry that if caught very stringent laws will be applicable and / or it may result in severe embrassment to some powers that be, the need to blow up the boat and self with it arises.

Some one on a TV channel said that the fire looked of diesel fuel. May be,  but I wish the classification was so simple. In any case even explosive fire post explosion would look like any other fire. Also when a boat burns the fuel in its fuel tank is also expected to burn. Poor fuel on-board has no option.

Most absurd that came was from a political party,  that too a major one. One of their first time MP wanted to know why there are no bodies found? It almost sounded as if it is a police investigation of a murder being discussed where finding a victim's body is very important for the case. Did the MP have some police background? Possibly he did not know that as per international laws the CG ship was duty-bound to search for survivors and found none. It is thus presumed that the occupants went down with the boat. The ocean depth in that area may be beyond 50 m or more. The bodies can be recovered only if a operation to takeout the boat from the bottom is done. Even after that action,  the bodies would be all nearly destroyed due  to exposure to sea water as salvage may take a long time.

Finally someone demanded that why the communication intercepts cannot be made public. Well that's governments call to take and also as long as  the intercepts have some useful value they should be kept secret.

I find it funny. When forces don't take action we curse them,  when they take we talk everything including human rights, where is the proof, that they were poor smugglers, etc.

Will we ever stop becoming 'miss doubtfire'  and learn to stand by our forces, Defence as well as police. We need to change and change faster else there will be repeated of various terriost acts yet again. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Have watched PK. A Delightful thought provoking movie

I had penned down a blog on Hinduism and why we should disregard things that might be incorrectly portrayed in this movie PK. that post,  as explicitly stated by me,  was in the context of the capabilities and qualities of Hinduism,  that too without watching PK.

Here are the excerpts of comments made by  one of my friend on the link I posted on FB,  'we have seen the movie.  There is nothing offensive in it at all and it is a sincere attempt to provide a small wake up call for thousands of people in our country who blindly follow NOT their religion but the various "god-men" who are at large currently. An alien who drops in a place which is unfamiliar to him is puzzled to see that a single species is divided into different sects each of which follows different rules. where a hindu widow wears white to grieve, Christians wear it at their wedding day. They wear black to mourn their loss whereas muslims wear black burqas during their everyday lives. the first half is based on this facet of our society and covers each religion equally.

Her comment are detailed ones and can in fact be posted as a blog post because of its quality but that is not possible,   hence only excerpts have been quoted by me. After reading these comments I had to watch PK.

Having watched PK I fully agree with my friends comments. My opinion on the movie and controversy around it is in succeeding paragraphs.

As per me it is a excellent story with satirical but subtle message about the need for people to connect with their personal  god without any mediator. I found it light hearted on one hand while conveying a very vital message on the other. It did not make light of some practices of Hinduism alone, it did take on every one albeit little less then Hinduism. It is a must watch movie.

On the controversy about the movie, it looks to me that people objecting to the movie have either not watched the movie or if they have watched
it and still oppose it then it is perceptional  difference or they may have some other motive that I am unable to comment on.

As for me, it is a good movie that I recommend as a must watch. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Hinduism and PK

Let me start with a disclaimer. I have not watched PK. All that I say about PK is based on news paper reports, tweets,  etc. Second disclaimer is the post may initially look controversial but I don't intend it to be and it is not.

So here is a film which seemingly makes light of going to temples, babas and Puja,  etc. There are people who are offended by that portrayal, justifiably or other wise. Some places people are demonstrating and in some other places they are boycotting the movie. The political discourse, now a days, is such that movie contents have become secondary and politics has become primary. Hence UP and Bihar govts (self appointed protectors of everything secular!) have made it tax free. I am ready to risk a prediction that soon Bengal govt will follow suit.

But that is not the theme of what I write today nor what is portrayed in the movie. It is about the movie and the Hinduism. First of all let me state few facts. First one is (often quoted by everyone) Hinduism is to do little with religion and more with lifestyle as it a way of life of people of this nation for many centuries.

Second is, even if it is a religion, it is open, adaptable and capable to change itself when needed. It has reformed over a period of time because of various internal reformist movements or to adjust to external threats and influences or  because some of its facets had become out of date. Adaptability is its most important quality Hinduism has. Another great quality it has is to take criticism of itself and only absorb that part of criticism that makes sense. It is one of the greatest quality.

These qualities of openness, abaptability and resilience are also the reason that this religion or the way of life has stayed on despite many invasions and attacks. In fact it has assimilated many such people in its fold. Those who did not join into its fold also had to Indianise or hinduise (both wards may not be official words) their life style. That is where others try imitation like making Mother Mary look like tribal lady and such other attempts.

Therefore, even if PK makes a light of some of the facets of Hinduism, if the satire is on a valid 'Ku riti' (bad practice) we should correct ourself. If it is something that needs no change lets laugh it out. After all our people have the capability of cracking jokes on ourselves and our gods (as for us, they are not outside us but they are our companions, remember our prayer, 'Tumhi ho Bandhu (brother) Sakha (friend) tumhi ho').

Next issue is, why the movie does not criticize faults in any other religion? Some of the religions of the world are very rigid, not open to change and therefore even if one critises some things that are not so good in them it is not going to change.

That brings me to the one of the concept of Hinduism of 'Supatra' or Able, some one capable of receiving and gainfully using whatever is given or made available to him. It is said in Hinduism that if Daan, Gyan or even advice is to be given give it to Supatra. That person will use it properly and build on it. If you criticize a Supatra, he will learn from it and amend himself if needed. I think the film maker knew the futility of doing parody or criticism of others because he knew that those people will not appreciate the lighter side of it on the first part and are not likely to mend.

We need to be what we are, people following Hindu way of life. When foreign rule did not diminish us, who else can. In any case, like the freedom of making film of any kind rests with the film maker, the right to watch or to not watch rests with us and us alone. If the contents of the film are really objectionable, word of mouth will bring it out. We can then exercise our right to NOT to watch it.

Consider this, why demonstrate, break glasses and give additional free publicity to this film, that too publicity that the film maker has not paid for. Let us not do undeserved favour to PK.

PS - The world is made up of various people. In my opinion there is nothing in the post to offend any one. However, if some has a different opinion and feels offended, my sincere apologies,