Thursday, September 21, 2017

Vanambadi - Moral Story for Hindus

Vanambadi Story for Hindus

There lived in a village a man with four sons. He was a successful farmer and with his savings he started other businesses like trading and transport. His sons too started working in father’s business.
Every year they found it more and more difficult to do agriculture having to depend on others. Once when the harvest was ripe, no one could be found to harvest for them
In the field there lived a  vanambadi (skylark)  with its hatch-lings who were only getting ready to fly on their own.
The father with his four sons went to the field one evening to inspect and realized it was time for harvest without any further delay. The father told his sons, “let us call our relatives tomorrow to come and harvest our field as we are busy ourselves” and the hatch-lings overheard it. They were very worried and when their mother returned to the nest, told her what happened in the evening.
Mother was  not perturbed and told the kids that it is still not time to leave.
Next day the father and sons waited near the field but no one came to harvest. This time the father said, “Let us call our friends tomorrow and ask them to harvest for us; we are busy ourselves”. Again the hatch-lings that overheard the conversation reported back to the mother when she arrived in the evening.
Mother bird told it is still not time to leave.
Next day the father and sons waited but still no one turned up. Father told his sons “we cannot depend upon anyone to do our duty. Let us come prepared tomorrow and harvest the field ourselves.
The hatch-lings that heard this reported it to the mother. She said, “it is now time. We cannot wait for a moment. You are also ready to fly. Let us leave immediately”.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Low viewership for English Channels does not matter

Miracle of life without oxygen

Today the SM is all in glee at the discovery of the facts (that were always there) that most English News Channels have very low audience rating. Or in other words, the number of audience watching English news is low. SM contributors were stung by this surprise and are in a dance; I suspect it will end as a dud of dance and song and nothing else. 

 It is another story of English speaking elite, though small in number having most clout. But for different reasons.

The numbers ascribed to English Channel is very high in reality. In many of the corporates, some of the channels are preferred ones and only those channels are shown by default. For example, in my office, it is NDTV vitiating the atmosphere through the working day. I am sure I am counted in the paltry 183K viewers as many others would have been. The actual numbers of people switching on NDTV to watch will be even less. 

I have a problem with low skill levels in India ( and have started an initiative to work on it, that is another story) and in this song and dance of the SM folks, I again see the same.
It was always known that actual viewership of English News channels was very low. But the problem in India is, unless facts are mentioned by someone with credibility, momentum does not start. People do not think for themselves and make their decisions, which would be a great atmosphere for FoE, but follow their leaders blindly. So when a good leader turns bad or a bad leader comes to the fore, we will always have problem.
Saswati Sarkar wonders why only one side has bought the ‘on sale’ Journalists. It sort of triggered this post. 
It is not a sale of commodity

Obviously the income from abysmally low viewership does not seem to affect the Media as a commercial venture. In the case of Jagan Reddy, the main wonder was, while media did not make money, there were investors lining up in front of Jagan to invest in crores that lead to investigation, (apart from the legendary break-down of relationship between Sonia and Jagan)

According to this article, on the same day, while outsiders were paying INR 13,189 per share, insider was able to buy same share at INR 10 per share. Buyer was Tarun Tejpal and seller, was his brother, wife etc. It may appear that it is not simple publishing business. The newspaper / magazine made phenomenal loss that would have rendered any commercial venture to close its doors but the shareholders made humongous money, through some sophisticated rip-off, through deals that does not stand minimum scrutiny.There have been numerous violations of law and all were overlooked. If any officer tries to look into the violations, either the same officer or his superior can be reached by the same Media. Mafia seems to be a Kindergarten stuff.

It is sad that IT department has done nothing on this matter.


Here is an interesting blog by Seema Sapra @SeemaSapraLaw
Gist of it is, GE bought NDTV shares for INR 642 Crores and sold back to NDTV at INR 58 Crores thus making NDTV a beneficiary of about INR 600 Crores. We see a pattern in the dealings of Tehelka and NDTV, if you follow the theme. What is not documented is the money that could have been paid to individuals in management to facilitate this transaction. No one tried to find out. 

So there is a method. In small towns, some ‘patrakars’ collect money from corrupt officials not to blow the lid off some shady deal. In high places there is sophistication. It seems to be a mixture of blackmail, money laundering, fixing deals and other illegal activities are all there to see. Possibly, first you get to blackmail, then you make the politician your business partner. Then you fix deals for your politician partner, making money on both sides.

Another piece that needs to be read is this.

Here it is alleged money was laundered through NDTV’s UK Subsidiary.There seems to be collusion between the IT officials and the media that employs spouses. On top of it, there is a fully paid vacation that is never fully explained. Hmmm....

Coming to the question of Saswati Sarkar, it is not easy to buy the fixers in the guise of journalists off. It is not a simple transaction of paying money to someone to report agreeable pieces. The profession of journalism is a guise for larger business of fixing deals, money laundering and being part of an illegal and corrupt system that eats into the interest of India. The viewership does not matter. It is in fact, irrelevant. The powers behind certain media are influential and rich business houses. The Liberal media is, apparently, full of such agents for the Liberal leaders. The system is corrupt to the core and do not subsist on small money. If one sees sympathetic reporting emanating from different parts of the world, on straightforward Strawman topics, one can also see the common cause for the journalists. Lucre. And dirty lucre. 

If you want to buy these Journalists, the money involved is in crores. Unless one indulges in selling own nation, it is not possible to feed these avaricious journalists.

Imagine the uproar if media houses are punished for any of the money laundering business. There would be ‘attempt to muzzle the media’ all over the air. The Journalism is a good calling to be in if your mail profession is political fixing and blackmailing. Blackmailing begets power to political fixing.

Buying off a Journalist is not a simple transaction. The day BJP tries to buy them, it would mean, the party we repose faith in has become as corrupt as its predecessor.

One reason why good Journos remain poor as Church mouse, lose jobs. Or turn rich on siding with the system. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Why the Superstition Bill is a Trojan Horse....

Superstition Act – Karnataka

Government of Karnataka is attempting to bring in a Law to punish the perpetrators of what it calls ‘superstition’ and to aid the Government NLS has drafted a Bill and submitted to Sri. Siddharamaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka.
The central rationale for the proposed act is, many superstitions continue to exist in our society, and they cause ‘significant harm and exploitation of common people’.  The superstitions cause financial exploitation and financial harm and they have no place in ‘civilized’ society.  It is also argued that it infringes the right to life with dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution. If you replace ‘superstition’  with ‘Cigarette smoking or Homeopathy’ it will sound equally compelling. In that the rationale is a mere platitude.
If we turn the page to Article 21, it is clear that it is a right against the State and any infringement of personal liberty of an individual against another is to be dealt under Article 226 or under General Law. Article 21 is to safeguard the right of the individual against the State such that the State cannot infringe upon the personal liberty or deprivation of life except through the established law.
( I am not a student of Law but what I read tells me as much)
I am confused as to why a Law School of repute will bring in Article 21 into an act between two individuals when the said Article is there to protect individual against the state. In fact, I argue here that the Government is actually infringing upon personal liberty of an individual by proposing such a Law.
The Laws promulgated in a land is indeed tinged with the political ideology of the ruling party in Government. As a dyed in wool FoE constituent, I refuse to accept the Government’s proscription of what is right and what is not for me in private matters. My right includes a right to find a bedrock of a belief system to guide me through my life. In that, this Act is ‘Left-liberal’ in nature. It intrudes into my personal affairs, attempts to root out the culture I grew up in irreversibly and irreparably. I, on the other hand, believe in safeguarding my personal freedom, not only from others but also from the Government. When someone infringes upon my freedom, IPC is sufficient but when the Government infringes upon my freedom, there is no recourse. Hence my ideology is to resist Government’s intrusion into my private matters and home.
The draft claims that “several recent incidents of this nature coming to light, the specific criminalisation of such practices along with spreading awareness of the ill-effects of superstitious practices of this nature have become imperative” (italics mine)  but fails to substantiate further. What would lend support to the claim that criminalisation has become imperative? Does the law permit Human sacrifice, in the absence of this proposed Act, for example? Does it require a new law to punish a murder, by whatever name it is called?

If there is proof that per capita number of ‘Superstition’ related crimes have grown in the last years, that alone can support the urgency of the claim. Without that, the claim is only political sloganeering. Is there any number to support the claim? I would suspect the actual per capital number is on a decline as a natural progression. Every society moves from crude to sophisticated ‘Superstitions’. Cigarettes are still being smoked today, right? Homeopathy is being advertised, right? Evangelists conduct miracle meeting to proselytize, right?
Several incidents coming to light may still actually be a declining trend. If the proponents of this bill still want to push for it, they will have to show that the decline is not sufficient and also have to demonstrate that the proposed bill will actually go to reduce such incidences with facts and figures. With no such demonstration, their claim is no better than the ‘superstition’ they wage war on.
The draft defines a ‘victimas one who is gravely harmed physically or mentally, exploited financially or sexually, or whose dignity is offended by the commission of a superstitious practice. Are the crimes listed out here not covered under IPC? It is true that few charlatans claiming to possess extraordinary powers cheat, take advantage and abuse people. As there are also people who do Poojas, prayaschitham and pariharam in good faith based on the culture they inherited from their forefathers. The State cannot punish a person for his belief; if it tries to do that, it will be akin to boiling the ocean. Unless, State wants to exempt minority religious groups from the Act. That actually will be violation of Article 14 of our Constitution.
How can a virgin give birth? Will this be covered by the act and consequently, declare this as propaganda (propagate’ means advertisement, publication, broadcast or communication of any content in support of superstitious practices) a violation of the Act and declare Christianity illegal in Karnataka?
How can religions claim that the true God will segregate people as those belonging to my religion and those not and threaten that Hell waits for those who had not accepted one particular God?
(‘threaten divine displeasure or spiritual censure for personal gain’ is a crime)
I see a mischief in the introduction of the word ‘personal gain’ as an attempt meant to exempt Evangelists though the proselytizing act is for a personal gain from one’s religious belief system.
Both religions from Abrahamic source use coercion and make claims that cannot be demonstrated. It stresses on the ‘divine displeasure’ if the victim does not convert. In fact their holy books have multiple references to many more irrational and superstitious claims. (These books are core to these religions unlike Hinduism which does not have any averment of truth) Will those books be banned too?
Any person who promotes, propagates or performs a superstitious practice shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years or with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or both.(2)  Consent of the victim shall not be a defence under this section.(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, a victim of a superstitious practice shall not be guilty of committing or abetting that practice.
I would definitely expect all ‘Prayer meetings’ to be banned on the basis of aforementioned paragraph alone. Those who claim miracles in well published Evangelical public meetings are clear targets. I would have no quarrel with the act if this part is ruthlessly enforced. But the chances are, these sections will be used only against Hindus violating Article 14.
If only sees the customs cited, the intent of the Government and the drafters of the Bill becomes clear. Aghori, Siddubhukti , bhutochhaatane, maata etc etc. Let us remind ourselves the entire edifice of Abrahamic religions stand on coercion, threat and miracles. The Church should come under the ambit (low hanging fruits for stemming superstition) as its practice of beatification is clearly a ‘superstition’. Church claims that such dead people who are beatified, and intercede on behalf of those who pray. Until beatification is mentioned specifically, the whole proposal is a suspect.
The reason for this one sided assault is subtly explained in the following paragraph.
“The second phase involved legal experts carrying out background research and drafting the model Bill. The team included NLSIU faculty and eminent alumni trained in the area at internationally reputed universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Columbia.
 Do these people know the entire width and depth of Aghoris? Are Aghoris not people who voluntarily give up everything in pursuit of what they consider as ‘truth’ through ‘Aghori’ practices? The dumbing down of ‘Aghori’s is possible only by the English educated Protestantanized  class, that too from Oxford, Cambridge and Columbia, the new elite class that thrusts on to Indians values palatable to their Western masters. More on Aghoris, here
Let me explain how intrusive this bill can become. Conducting any ritual falls under the ambit of the act. Any homam will also will be covered. Any Pooja should also come under. Temples soon may have to stop worshiping ‘stone’. Only Hindus will be targeted, going by the record of every Congress Government. After all the PM from Congress once said that the first right of India’s economic resources belongs to Muslims.
Summing up, the whole bill is a sham. It seeks justification on Article 21 fallaciously while it attempts to subvert Article 14.  
Now let us come to what the educated and rationalists call as ‘Superstition’ with a real life story.
About a hundred years ago, one Quesalid, native Canadian Indian wanted to debunk Shamanism (equivalent of our ‘Superstition’) and for that purpose turned an apprentice under an experience one. Once during his apprenticeship, due to circumstances he was assigned to cure a nameless malady of a sick patient. Quesalid did a particular trick that would appear as a miracle to the patient. He hid a tuft of hair inside a mouth and at the end of a dramatic Shaman act, he bit his mouth, bled and pulled out the blood stained tuft as proof of driving out the evil that was the cause of the malady. To Quesalid’s surprise, the patient recovered. This completely changed the outlook of Quesalid and he was a Shaman till his death, saving people with Shaman act that was no better than trickery. Our own ‘Theyyam’ has elements of ‘Shamanism’ and it serves some people well.
In medicine the effect of placebo is undeniable. All we know is that placebo acts on the minds of people sufficiently to make them better in many cases. Science has not been able to isolate causal element in placebo. It has been documented that doctors who visit and or speak reassuringly have an effect on how a patient recovers. The color of the pill too has an impact on a patient’s recovery. Based on this alone, the selling of a medicine in a particular color qualifies as ‘Superstition’.

For that matter, the whole Homeopathy is based on unproven assumptions, yet is practiced with impunity. If Aghoris are spreading Superstition, so are Homeopaths. But those educated from Oxford, at the foot of Western masters will never run foul of German bunkum. It is the slave in them that dictates such a draft bill.
‘Expectation shapes experience’ is a conundrum these rationalists will not able to solve. People are not rational beings as being touted by these rationalists, least of all them. Beliefs are inherent part of culture and man is inextricable part of his culture. (Little pause for radical feminists to rant)
If at all we have to attack an irrational killer of millions, it is probably the tobacco. Instead of spending our limited resource, let NSL draft a bill, on similar line, probably without any inappropriate reference to Article 21 that Tobacco is a threat to the smokers and non-smokers. I am a non-smoker and a victim of those who smoke. Let me create an outrage of Libtard proportion. It is known that the cigarette burns at about 500 Degree F. Imagine how much the atmosphere is heated by all the smokers that contributes to the global warming (oops, now it is called Climate Change) Will NSL lunge at it with half the enthusiasm?
I doubt. These are motivated Law to destroy Indianness, by attacking one custom a time. Haven’t we heard about the outrage about Temple elephants full of fallacy and inaccuracies? Yet, the courts entertain such outrages as their education is the toxic left overs of Macaulay’s teaching.
That is the description of the problem. On the one hand, we have English educated elite (not all but a substantial section) who, unwittingly run errands to western interest and on the other, impoverished, trusting and well-meaning common Indian steeped in indigenous wisdom. I stand with the latter. Not with NSL drafters.