The Buck Stops Here !   15 comments

- AN OPEN LETTER ADDRESSING THE YOUNG INDIAN VOTERS-

Date: The Near Future.

Place: India at Crossroads.

My Dear Fellow Young Indians,

You and I live in the most populous democracy in the world. Our country, called as the most reckless political experiment in the world, is perhaps the most diverse in the entire comity of nations. One of the many outstanding features which define our country’s diversity is undoubtedly its LANGUAGES.  One of the most visible examples of the intense diversity in our languages is captured beautifully in the ten rupee note issued by the R.B.I. which carries around 15 prominently spoken tongues across India. A normal day in any Indians life is intricately intertwined with many dimensions of language with varying enormity ranging from the language of love, care, command, respect, argument, coercion, compulsion and deceit from our fellow Indians. This astonishing diversity combined with a heavy population establishes the fact that we are polyglots and are able to talk at some length.

The most visible example of Indian Linguistic Diversity.

India is A Nation of Dialects.

Vouching my above claim is the lesser known fact that Mr.V.K.Krishna Menon has the distinction of addressing the United Nation’s Security Council with the longest speech in its history.  Other peaks of loquaciousness have been scaled by Indians and this can be traced all the way back to the Indian mythology containing an insightful conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita and the erudite debates in the Constituent Assembly in the 20th century which shaped the future course of independent India. This undisturbed tradition of indulging in animated conversations, coherent arguments, constructive debates and cultivating opinions with admirable tolerance to differing perspectives acts as a thread connecting an ancient civilisation with a young and vibrant nation.

Bhagavad Gita: The Great Indian dialogue calling for selfless action.

Bhagavad Gita: The Great Indian dialogue calling for selfless action.

This ARGUMENTATIVE TRADITION backed by the ability to shoot sharp questions without maligning the larger picture is not the preserve of the elite alone but cuts across the nation surpassing gender, caste, regional and religious divides. These rich arguing combats in various languages steeped in ancient India turned out to be a blessing in disguise when India became the largest democracy in the world. Modern India inherited this tradition with glee. The founding fathers of our nation went a step further by clothing this gem of a tradition in modern day parlance and enshrining the same into our constitution as a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, elevating it to a haloed status.

Enshrining the hard earned Freedom of Expression: Our Constituent Assembly

Enshrining the hard earned Freedom of Expression: Our Constituent Assembly.

A democracy, as rightly envisioned by our constitution makers, is incomplete without the freedom of speech and expression. This unbridled right enabling free speech not only has helped us present our views and voice our dissent but also enabled us enrich our thoughts, support the rights and criticize the wrongs of any political decision. This practice made sure all the while that democracy and its institutions went deep in the Indian psyche, took roots and thrived. This argumentative tradition in modern India enabled largely by the universal adult suffrage, free press and media and an independent judiciary with their emphasis on public discussion and interactive reasoning has deeply influenced India’s politics. India pinned all its hopes on this tradition to weather its birth pangs and even its darkest hours and continued its tryst with parliamentary democracy despite its many imperfections and flaws.

INDIA: Unconditionally committed to DEMOCRACY despite multiple flaws and various limitations.

INDIA: Unconditionally committed to DEMOCRACY despite multiple flaws and various limitations because we are democratically oriented.

However, the times have changed and we are living in a world which even though deeply connected, remains polarised on many counts. India too hitched the globalisation juggernaut and opened its doors inviting the west enabled development and modernisation. The ensuing expansion of opportunities and cultural clashes triggered widespread changes in the society, often painful, polarising it into classes adding to the already existing fault lines of caste, religion and region. As an unavoidable consequence the Politicians transformed into an elite class assuming themselves to be omnipotent, the Middle Class metamorphosed into an unresponsive and despondent lot and the Poorest and the Illiterate ones turned into Vote banks. As the middle class became more disenchanted and slowly vanished from the picture, the connect between the scheming Political elite and the gullible Poor became more explicit.

The Race to reach the helm and nestle themselves in the corridors of power saw them shunning accountability and responsibility by the wayside. This made THE VIP CULTURE more explicit.

The Race to reach the helm and nestle themselves in the corridors of power saw majority of the legislators shunning accountability and responsibility by the wayside. This made THE VIP CULTURE more explicit.

The rich argumentative tradition which India boasted took a turn for the worst, lapsing into mere cacophony. The Political Elite resorted to grandstanding and pandering to the whims and fancies of the semi literate citizens to prolong the former’s stay at the helm. Politics thus from being a hallowed profession dotted by selfless social reformers degenerated into an arena for multiplying wealth, increasing prestige and courting power at the expense of the ones who sent them to rule. As the moral compass started its journey south, the alienation of the middle class –the most contemplative of the lot- was complete. Learning from their parents and the society around, you and I: the youth refrained from voting as a mark of protest and renounced meaningful conversations on politics thereby derailing the argumentative tradition and giving it a whole new meaning. And thus the Indian Democracy plunged headlong into her MIDLIFE CRISIS.

The Indian Moral Compass: Is it headed south ? Is it spinning ? or Is it broken ?

The Indian Moral Compass: Is it headed south? Is it spinning? or Is it broken ?

The youth of today, you and I, launch scathing criticism on contemporary politicians emanating out of an apparent disgust for the class as a whole. Our argument, far from the rich tradition, borders on contempt and is clouded by anger blocking reasoning and judgement. The conversations, arguments and opinions of today unfortunately are focused on the ills alone.

The Angry Young Indian: Our complaints become rants.Rants becomes  Tirades. When passion gradually overpowers perception, REASONING goes out of the window reducing the whole affair into tongue lashing.

The Angry Young Indian: Our complaints become rants.Rants becomes Tirades. When passion gradually overpowers perception, REASONING goes out of the window reducing the whole affair into a tongue lashing of politicians.

We brand the political class as morally bankrupt. We tend to cringe about the fact that political parties proliferate in our country year on year without any visible adherence to even a tinge of ideology. We arch our brows in surprise when the same parties field candidates with tainted past without even an iota of concern. We have a tendency to scoff at them if they win despite their serious criminal backgrounds. The anger slowly spills over from the parties to the politicians: our whipping boys. We direct our energies primarily towards their shortcomings. This ranges from their backgrounds, multiplication of assets, their education and the lack of it, their nexus with the Babus, their concessions for the corporates, the magnitude of scams they were part of, their lal batti culture, their unfulfilled promises, their vote bank tactics, their one upmanship during elections, their fake hunger strikes gaffes and last but not the least their increasing age and the apparent disconnect with the youth. Our debate unfortunately stagnates at this point and doesn’t cruise forward.

Our Ignorance has made them more high handed in their behaviour towards the very people who put them in power. They, in short, have become a law unto themselves.

Our Ignorance has made many of the representatives more high handed in their behavior towards the very people who put them in power. They, in short, have become a law unto themselves.

Many amongst us have drawn hasty conclusions and have found varying solutions to deal with the Bogeyman called POLITICIAN. The Pessimistic Indians amongst us prefer to stay as arm chair experts for eternity ruing the plight of our country and its bleak future. The Fabulous Indians flee the country seeking greener pastures overseas, citing lack of commitment and ambition in India, to settle down in posh jobs with disgust for politicians and contempt for the system always lingering in the background. The Delusional Indians just sit back and laugh their hearts out watching the proceedings in parliament and state assemblies ranging from tearing bills, cash for votes, walkouts, shouting matches and jumping into wells. The Opportunistic Indians collude with the politicians and the administration promoting bribes, corruption and moral decay. The Compliant Indians just stay aloof making n number of adjustments in our daily lives hoping that someday change will come along. The Ambivalent Indians spend their lives contemplating whether to react to the blatant violations happening around them and if so how. In sum, we are like mango people living in banana republic traveling in cattle class, crying rivers over rising onion price!

Are we the Mango people living in a Banana republic ?

Common Man is an everyman who grapples with real issues to lead his life amidst decaying moral fiber. But how long can we bury our heads in the sand ?

The end result unmistakably is reflected in the low voter turnout in what is described as the biggest success story of the Indian Republic: ELECTIONS. The Educated, Idealist, Reflective, Wired, Tech Savvy, Free thinking, Energetic, Aggressive, Alienated and Angry Young Indian shows a volte face when it comes to getting the indelible purple dot on their fingers. The consequences are for us to see.

Tainted men register their candidature with impunity despite their increasing tally of serious criminal offenses. Some ageing political warhorses fail to contemplate even about retirement. The cadres, desperate to step into the shoes of their master, fallout and form new parties. In order to grab eyeballs these new parties on the block differentiate themselves from others on the lines of caste, region and religion appealing blatantly to a very narrow voter identity. Their erstwhile godfathers meanwhile would have proclaimed their successors bringing in their sons or at times their dynasties into the election fray. This unavoidably changes the nature of campaigning. In the name of election campaigns they often hit below their opponents’ belt launching scathing verbal attacks which take different hues such as deliberate maligning, mudslinging, character assassination of women candidates and sometimes even communal speeches. In order to arrest the attention of the gullible sections and to win the loyalty of the minorities the parties compete with each other in announcing freebies and populist schemes as part of their campaigns simultaneously. To fund these colorful, larger than life campaigns specifically to outwit their opponents, the candidate and his political party resort to unholy nexus with the corporates and other bigwigs. This marks the entry of unaccounted money into the fray.

The dangerous combination of MONEY,MUSCLE and POWER is a recipe for disaster.

The dangerous combination of MONEY,MUSCLE and POWER is a recipe for disaster.

With illegal money to back them some gather muscle power through local Dabanggs to distribute free liquor, radios, sarees, gold and even money just to ensure more votes are added to their existing vote banks. The degree of spending involved and the ugly fight to stoop to the lowest levels makes even genuine reformers and credible personalities pause and contemplate about the consequences upon taking the plunge into politics. The Bureaucrats and Police being at the beck and call of their future masters are subdued sooner than later. Election Commission’s ability to monitor these activities is curtailed greatly due to various institutional limitations and administrative apathy. Their good works are greatly diluted when people who know English don’t vote deliberately and people who don’t know English go and vote blindly.

Their audacity came to light when they engaged some unscrupulous sections of print media to publish articles singing their praises. The PAID NEWS phenomenon rots Indian Democracy.

The audacity of many of our representatives came to light when they engaged some unscrupulous sections of print media to publish articles singing their praises. The PAID NEWS phenomenon rots Indian Democracy.

When these unscrupulous elements come to power its time for them to return the favours to those who helped them and their parties during the campaigning stage. Arbitrary allocation of coal blocks, blatant violation of environmental laws, contempt for parliamentary proceedings, haphazard acquisition of land and skewed auctions of spectrum and siphoning off funds from development and empowerment projects ensues. The rising inequality, rampant corruption and widespread environmental crisis threaten both the countryside and teeming metros. The instruments to ensure security of women, creating employment, reforming the police force, protecting vulnerable sections, guaranteeing food security remain hanging fire or get shoddily implemented. As their sins mount they come to the light as scams opening a can of worms. They cool their heels behind bars only to come back and enter the fray on a later date. This cycle continues every five year.

They have made the PREAMBLE of the INDIAN CONSTITUTION, which begins with the words "WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA", one of the biggest paradoxes of our times !

Our law makers themselves have made the PREAMBLE of the INDIAN CONSTITUTION, which begins with the words “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA”, one of the biggest paradoxes of our times !

Qualities such as admirable leadership, ethical behaviour and morality stays in the fringe overpowered by Greed. Supreme Court alongside some determined Civil Society members and N.G.O.s carry out lone crusades and notch up isolated but important victories. We meanwhile customarily scratch the surface by cursing them, mocking them, abusing them and sometimes ignoring them. The icing on the cake is our aloofness. Despite the ELECTION DAY being a paid holiday, we sit back and relax at homes distancing ourselves from ground realities further!  Alas! We don’t realize that THE JOKE IS ON US!

Its hard time we sat down and seriously thought about our real roles in Indian Democracy. Let's put on our thinking caps !

Its hard time we sat down and seriously thought about our real roles in Indian Democracy. Let’s put on our thinking caps !

Yes! We should be angry with the state of affairs in our country but we should not let our anger get the better of ourselves. The real trick lies in channeling this public expression of anger in Ramlila Maidans and Jantar Mantars and taking it forward to its logical conclusion eventually culminating in: VOTING IN ELECTIONS. The need of the hour is to convert the Youthful Cynicism which brands politicians as villains to Constructive Criticism. As a first step, let’s just veer away from the run of the mill “ALL POLITICIANS ARE BAD” rhetoric and do some soul searching by asking some basic questions since the elections are fast approaching. Who are we electing really? Why are we electing them? Do we really know what their roles are? What do they do after getting elected? And most importantly why should we vote? What must a typical voter ask his representative and what do we really want from an elected representative?

Its all about learning the basics and shooting the right question to bring about atleast a semblance of accountability.

Its all about learning the basics and shooting the right question to bring about at least a semblance of accountability as a first step.

To clear our cluttered minds on the above questions, our 9th grade civics book can be a good starting point but considering the paucity of time and the magnitude of problems involved we should at least know the roles, functions and differences of (a) Municipal Councillor (b) Member of Legislative Assembly and (c) Member of Parliament. An M.L.A or an M.P. is in no way responsible for fixing roads, water supply or sewers which squarely falls within the purview of the councillor. So next time if a candidate contesting in elections to Legislative assembly or the State Legislature approaches you promising free electricity, water supply and good roads, you can request him with all the authority to quit the race and contest instead for the post of Councillor.  We must asses our M.Ps and M.L.As in terms of their attendance in the house, their credible participation in debates, and their frequency of speaking in the house on various issues discussed. If they watch porn instead of debating or discussing the severity of droughts or shortfall in monsoon you have all the rights in the world to question them since you elected them in the first place.

Contemplation has given way to expectations leading to hasty pronouncements. Let's pause a bit and cool our passions by doing some soul searching  to bring back civility and wisdom !

Contemplation has lost ground to expectations leading to hasty pronouncements. Let’s pause a bit and cool our passions by doing some soul searching to bring back wisdom and civility !

What they do instead of doing their basic duty is to use/overuse/misuse their privileges ranging from free housing to travel allowances only to attend weddings, inaugurations, functions and funerals promoting themselves and their parties. If you spot them in any of these occasions you can ask him what he intends to do with his own fund under MPLADS/MLALADS. We instead blindly believe their empty promises when they approach us saying that they will convert their constituencies/state/country into a land flowing with milk and honey. To temporarily play devils advocate I would say that viz a viz our Ministers, M.Ps and M.L.As are severely short of resources both monetary and human to prepare themselves for debates and arguments of high magnitude on varying topics in the house. They are forced to do a lot of horse trading sometimes winning some and sometimes ending up at the losing side owing to coalition compulsions and what not. It is extremely tough to speak in debates in house knowing that your opponents are all ears and will drown you out if they get a ghost of a chance. The point is that we should refrain from painting all politicians with the same brush and should try to contemplate on our shortcomings too. We should try to revive the real ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN inside us by asking incisive questions instead of blindly courting anger.

Let's revive the REAL ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN in us !

Let’s revive the REAL ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN in us !

Movements which take a grandstanding on politics being dirty and all NETA LOG being terrible should channel their energies in the direction of asking some credible question instead of endlessly waving Tiranga and shouting slogans. The key, my friends, lies in increasing our civic awareness which will help us raise credible questions against politicians when we encounter them. But how many of us are even capable of that? How many of us for instance have watched or followed debates concerning landmark bills such as Land acquisition, Food security, Lokpal, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace et al.  which affects our lives as well as our society deeply? Have you ever thought why the Women’s Reservation Bill has not yet become an act? How many of us know the size of the last union budget? How many of us know which five year plan is currently running and what the planned targets are for at least two or three sectors? Not many!  Let’s not disturb those who think ignorance is bliss. These questions will disturb those who were vegetating till yesterday and will prompt them to sit down and think!

All politicians didn’t land from another planet in the guise of humans and took control of governance one fine day. They are part of our society, our fellow citizens whom we chose from amongst us to represent us and lead the country. The continuous occurrence of numerous scams and violations of various magnitudes are in a manner the reflection of the ways in which our society works. The battle is half won the moment we realize our shortcomings. The next and perhaps the hardest part lies in participating in CIVIC LEARNING and DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT which will help restore the dignity of our Parliament and ensure that our representatives perform their prescribed roles dutifully. The small but significant first step towards achieving this long term objective is to participate in the FESTIVAL OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY called GENERAL ELECTIONS by registering your name in the Voters list and going to the polling booth to CAST YOUR VOTE!

The first simple step towards effecting a greater change and ensuring a better future for India: CASTING YOUR VOTE !

The first simple but powerful step towards effecting a greater change and ensuring a better future for India: CASTING YOUR VOTE !

India unlike other nations is at crossroads now. Till yesterday India was a country which experts reckoned could become the next big thing but for inexplicable reasons stayed the sleeping giant which it was for years. There was always a yawning gap between what India achieved and what India could achieve. One of the ills which always pulled down the country was its IDENTITY POLITICS which gradually pummeled the broad based party politics beyond recognition. Election campaigns by national and regional political parties were highly divisive and votes were cast based on parochial identities ranging from me, my caste, my region and my religion and my other narrow priorities prompting experts to quip that “In India you don’t cast your vote, You vote your caste”.

2014 is a crucial year for India. It can change Indian Politics beyond recognition.

2014 is a crucial year for India. It can change Indian Politics beyond recognition.

But 2014, my friends, could well turn out to be the watershed year which could witness perhaps the most decisive election in the history of Independent India because its outcome could well be the harbinger of new things to come. As usual the men, women, poor, prosperous, mainstream, marginalised, and the minorities would come to cast their votes but what would make the difference this time around is: “US” (no, not United States please). The young, non partisan, fiercely independent and especially the first time voter cohorts who are all set to throng the polling booths across the nation in the 2014 election could alter the nation’s future forever. Born right before or after India’s opening up to the world, we developed our world view in the Liberalisation era. Our views are uncluttered by caste, religion, region, partition, freedom movement, and Mandal Commission and they look distant for us. We could well be the generation of die-hard democrats who believe that protesting is our fundamental right and could effect a change if we go vote! 52% population in India is below 35 years old. 30% are between 18 and 35 years of age. These are huge numbers!  This time it’s our political opinion which should help decide the outcome of 2014 elections. If we could pull this off now we could put the infallibility of vote banks to test, we could mark the demise of the term voter apathy and we could usher in transparency and accountability and eventually put identity politics to its deathbed. In the main, WE COULD SIGNAL THE BIRTH OF A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE! So prepare yourselves to register your protest against corruption and highhandedness by thronging the polling booths and voting this time around. Let the 2014 elections be marked by PROTEST VOTES!

Be the change you want to see ! Throng the polling stations during elections especially the 2014 election. Its our once in a lifetime opportunity to effect a change! So Be there!

Be the change you want to see ! Throng the polling stations during elections especially the 2014 election. Its our once in a lifetime opportunity to effect a change! So Be there!

As mentioned at the outset, India is home to many living languages. They are all ancient with a rich inheritance, a distinct script, grammar, vocabulary and a proud literary tradition and spoken by many millions of people.  Each language is tied up inextricably with the life and culture and ideas of both the masses and the elites. The fact that mother tongue can rouse and move us is beyond question. The very survival of these many ancient languages in India establishes the undeniable fact that we traditionally are adept at building conversations from functional to banter to small talks. Our founding fathers too couldn’t ignore our gift of the gab and after enshrining the right to free speech in the constitution they went a step ahead and created linguistic provinces.

telecom tower

To those who call India a “Tower of Babel” , we only have “Telecom towers” and they are unlike the one in Babel ! For a thriving Telecom Sector in India, Sky is the limit !

This gift of the gab in our times is reflected primarily in a thriving Telecommunication sector which despite its nascent origins has went on to become the poster boy of the 21st century Indian growth story. Cell phones these days are ubiquitous and have metamorphosed from a luxury to a necessity to an empowering device for all sections within a short span. Our country has one of the fastest growing telecom networks in the world. Courtesy: our growing population and our untapped potential. The tele-density is increasing at a frenetic pace because of increasing monthly subscriptions from all corners of the country.

The frenetic pace at which cell phones proliferate is a sign that Indians love to talk ! Despite its many ills, Mobile phones Empower people !

The frenetic pace at which cell phones proliferate in India is a sign that Indians love to talk ! Despite its many ills, Mobile phones truly Empower people !

With change being the only constant feature in the telecom industry which relies heavily on technological innovations and upgradations, prospects are overwhelmingly pleasant for India. As the country hits the growth path again, an aspiring population will upgrade their devices most certainly to smart phones which today predominantly attracts the youth of the nation. What attracts them to the smart phones like bee to honey is the presence of APPS which makes life easier. More than 67% of usage in smart phones are app related and this underlines the rip roaring success of this innovation. We need to hitch a ride on apps to promote VOTING among youth and simultaneously create an INFORMED ELECTORATE by the same means.

Smart phones and apps are a match made in heaven.

Smart phones and apps are a match made in heaven. Adding Youth enhances the zing and completes the equation !

We need to transform the now erratic Indian Youth into citizens with civic sense at the outset. The civic awareness imbibed by democratic engagement will help him make informed choice when he goes out to vote. Once even a fragment of this task is achieved we ourselves can become the foot soldiers of democracy by spreading out into the larger society with the message of “MERA VOTE, MERA DESH”. But this new optimism is not without its pitfalls. Cynics say that this new found enthusiasm is urban centric and is limited to the middle class. They go on to add that since we grew up in the age of malls, multiplexes, SUV and gated colonies our perspective can be dangerously narrow excluding the lower sections and the rural population. But friends, this challenge can be met head on!

The real challenge lies in transforming the population into an INFORMED ELECTORATE. The answer lies in widening the horizons of the Voters especially the Youth. As a first step the real abilities of the erratic youth needs to be harnessed.

The real challenge lies in transforming the population into an INFORMED ELECTORATE.As a first step the real abilities of the erratic youth needs to be harnessed.

The task of widening the horizons of a ROOKIE VOTER must be met by the colleges and universities, who should train them to pause, think and act in the face of uncertainties awaiting us in the outside world. They should go a step further and prepare the students to know, to care, and to act in ways that will develop a commitment to personal and social action as well as knowledge and skills needed to participate in effective civic actions cutting across class differences. It can help the youth come to terms with the diversity in our society and help them unlearn things learned from homes which are parochial in nature. But this is a tremendous exercise.

Universities and Colleges have a larger role to play ! They should help widen the horizons of a ROOKIE voter.

Universities and Colleges have a larger role to play ! They should help widen the horizons of a ROOKIE voter. A citizen without civic sense is a burden for democracy !

Universities and Colleges across India should act as breeding grounds for promoting the feeling of oneness and inject civic sense to participate in elections by clearing their doubts.  As a first step they should reach out to N.G.O.s such as A.D.R.{Association for Democratic Reforms} who have kept up the fight against  money and muscle power in politics by ushering in political reforms and P.R.S.{Pre Legislative Research} who aims to strengthen the legislative process by making it better informed, more transparent and participatory. The colleges and universities all over India should have tie ups with Civil society groups and should brainstorm as to whether they should improvise and hitch on the already existing social apps or they should roll up their sleeves and start from the scratch by going for their own app which could be named “INDIAN VOTER”.

The ELECTION WATCH REPORTER app from A.D.R. which attempts to bring out the activist inside you. [click here for free download]

The ELECTION WATCH REPORTER app from A.D.R. which attempts to bring out the activist inside you. [click here for free download]. We can add features such as Citizen Journalist & Whistle-blower to increase it’s functionality.

Whatever be the choice they should make sure the following ESSENTIALS are part of the existing election and voter awareness apps from A.D.R. or the newly created ones. We can take a leaf out of the book of WE CHAT whose popularity as the “new way to connect” has scaled new heights despite its recent origins. Like “WE CHAT” the new apps should be available across all platforms from Android to iPhone to Windows and should be supported on Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, 4G data networks. Considering the diversity in Indian languages, the app should support primarily ENGLISH and HINDI since they are link languages and should also host the next ten widely spoken vernacular tongues across India.

Truly a new way to connect with friends ! The popularity of WeChat underlines the rise of apps and our insatiable  "app"etite.

Truly a new way to connect with friends ! The popularity of WeChat underlines the rise of apps and our insatiable “app”etite.

The popularity of “WE CHAT” lies in the fact that it integrates at least ten to eleven features which are purely based on their functionality. Likewise the existing app or the new ones for voter awareness too should integrate some crucial features based purely on their practicality. Apart from the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Podcast or SoundCloud integrations which allows the app users to express their views as well as read updates, tweets, watch videos and photos, listen to live relays from the moderator on the go, other innovative features such as Blog, Email, Voice recorder, Photo features, Web/Group/Voice chat et al will enable the sharing of information by users from different parts of the country on good governance, violations of laws, innovations in resource management and  ideas to increase voter awareness. Through these features valuable suggestions, systematic reviews and practical feedbacks about the app can be obtained.

Top Notch : The features in WeChat are in sync with the needs of the youth are worth emulating in any future "VOTER"based app for creating buzz. [click on the image to magnify]

Top Notch : The features in WeChat are in sync with the needs of the youth and are worth emulating in any future “VOTER” based app for creating a buzz. [click on the image to magnify]

The mainstays of the new voter awareness app should be two distinct features namely KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE and VITAL STATS of Indian Parliament session by session. The former should carry information about the number of candidates, their respective political parties, their criminal backgrounds, accumulated wealth and their credentials in public service upon choosing the relevant drop downs on election type and constituency. The VITAL STATS should provide information related to the no of working days in a particular parliament session, no of productive and wasted hours, no of debates, participation rate of members from various states, no of bills passed and delayed with a small description on the former and minimum information about useful legislation. It can also have a feature called “MY M.P/M.L.A”. The KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE feature in the new app would help the electors compare background information of candidates contesting elections and make an informed choice. The “MY M.P./M.L.A.” feature could help us know about our representative in the house. The “VITAL STATS” feature will make us enlightened about the state of affairs in our parliament and will prompt us to question the un parliamentary behaviour of our representatives and lets us reinforce the missing ACCOUNTABILITY part of their jobs.

Strike A Chord with the Youth by creating an app which appeals to their senses. MyNeta app is one such innovation which could be improved. [click here for free download]

Strike A Chord with the Youth by creating an app which appeals to their senses. MyNeta app is one such innovation which could be improved. [click here for free download]

The biggest challenge lies in making these apps more appealing to the youth. The trick lies in making the data clutter free, presentable and attractive. Like WE CHAT the app must have an eye catching app icon, striking interface, easy navigation and flawless data storage which makes the app fluid and doesn’t frustrate the user. At the end of the day the app should work like a dream and fulfill its mission: ENLIGHTEN THE ELECTORATE especially the youth by creating awareness.  Free download facility and “TELL A FRIEND” feature embedded within the app could help the new apps or the existing social apps go viral. Once we have secured the desired levels of awareness among the student community, we should shoulder the larger responsibility of informing the rest in the society by reaching out to them.

Harnessing the available Social Media platforms to spread the message will keep the Indian Youth abuzz !

Harness the available Social Media platforms to spread the message. This will keep the Indian Youth abuzz!

We should harness the available technology enabled platforms such as Google Hangout, Skype, Twitter et al  by creating more hashtags, groups, discussions, debates and youth parliaments on burning issues such as bringing political parties under R.T.I., legislation to regulate political parties to ensure transparency in funding and promoting inner party democracy. Unless we keep rude, partisan, patriarchal and communal comments from making its way on the walls, tweets, comment boards e.t.c., we really cannot utilize the power of social network/apps as a great connector and as a platform for sharing thoughts !

 So always think before you post !

Always think before you post !

We can reach out to other sections of the population with the message not to sell their votes for free Rice, T.V.s or Grinders by one to one interactions, dramas and posters.  The National Voters’ day, on January 25 every year, should witness celebrations in schools, colleges and universities across the country in line with the larger message: “CAST YOUR VOTE”. Celebrities should be roped in to convey the message of importance of Clean Politics and importance of Voting. We can conduct credible opinion polls by collating surveys and thereby prompt the parties to tweak their election manifestos in accordance with real expectations of the electorate. It’s upon us to bring back the long forgotten ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN to the fore. And who knows, if anyone amongst us will become leaders out of the experience gathered from the grassroots in future !

The A.D.R. SAUDA campaign endorsed by Aamir Khan. Click here for the video.

The A.D.R. SAUDA campaign endorsed by Aamir Khan. Click here for the video.

We stand 3rd in the world in terms of internet users despite the fact that we lag behind the leaders in terms of internet penetration. Our country in the coming years is all set to witness a giant leap in terms of broadband and mobile internet connections as we grow along. This will surely bring down the so called “DIGITAL DIVIDE” in our country. With more than 900 million mobile phone users, 125 million active internet users and 82 million active Facebook users, it won’t be a mistake to pin our hopes on APPS to effect a change in VOTER BEHAVIOUR! I’m not sure whether earth once was a planet of the apes but I’m sure it is fast becoming “THE PLANET OF THE APPS”.

If we, the youth Vote, India wins !

If we the youth Vote, India wins ! Make and Informed Choice ! And Make sure you vote for all the future elections !

Look around our neighbours and we will see Afghanistan fast becoming a tinderbox, Pakistan falling time and again into chaos, Bhutan making a slow start, Nepal showing extreme mood swings, Bangladesh searching for its identity violently and Sri Lanka showing disdain. Amidst all this chaos INDIA, despite being home to many languages never became the tower of Babel but held together against heavy odds by never parting ways with DEMOCRACY. We are on the cusp of a DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDE and let’s begin by harnessing the same to turnaround the clichéd VOTER APATHY and usher in true democracy because THE BUCK STOPS HERE WITH US: THE YOUTH !!!

It's Now or Never !

The Buck Stops Here and It’s Now or Never !

            Yours Sincerely,

A fellow Young Indian Voter.

===================================================================================================================================

This blog post is my entry for the contest “Indian General Elections 2014 with social mobile apps” conducted by IndiBlogger in association with WeChat. For more details please visit: http://www.wechat.com/en/

If you find problems in Web pages to download A.D.R. Election Apps, please visit this site for more information: http://adrindia.org/

I personally thank both IndiBlogger and WeChat for coming up with such a socially relevant topic. Even though its hard to write an all encompassing post on the same, I think bloggers will enjoy writing and reading other posts !! I really enjoyed writing it !!

=============================================================================================================================

Image Courtesy: Internet, WeChat website.

Statistics Courtesy: A.D.R. website (http://adrindia.org/), P.R.S. (http://www.prsindia.org/), Wikipedia and the Internet.

The usage of the term “The Argumentative Indian” is inspired by the book of the same name by Amartya Sen (2006). =========================================================================================================

The Triumph Of Labour !   11 comments

With firm hands, sturdy legs and chiseled bodies labourers have to stretch every sinew to make sure the hearth, back home, burns. Ignoring the pangs of their bodies, their steely resolve help shape the future of the nation even as their futures remain wrapped in mystery. The tribe, ever ready to get their hands dirty, toils hard as the nation conquers new heights. Nevertheless, they remain confined to fetters !

    "BY THE SWEAT OF OUR BROWS, STRENGTH OF OUR BACKS AND THE COURAGE OF OUR HEARTS !"

“BY THE SWEAT OF OUR BROWS, STRENGTH OF OUR BACKS AND THE COURAGE OF OUR HEARTS !”

Still wondering from where would have the legendary DEVI PRASAD ROY CHOUDURY got his models for his statue because it looks as if the four men were born to fulfill this great endeavor !

THE TRIUMPH OF  LABOUR” by DEVI PRASAD ROY CHOUDURY was unveiled by the then Governor Madras SHRI BISHNURAM MEDHI in the presence of K.KAMARAJ, the then Chief Minister of Madras, on 25-01-1959.

-

A Taste Of His Own Medicine !!   6 comments

In a role reversal, Karan Thapar – the host of the show Devil’s-Advocate is put on the hot seat by Madhu Purie Trehan of Newslaundry. From the stables of “Can you take it” by Newslaundry. Should have posted it way back but never too late !! As the plot unfolds, the hunter becomes the hunted !

Nurturing my Nation !   10 comments

This blog post is my entry for the contest “AN IMMUNE INDIA” conducted by “INDIBLOGGER” in association with “DABUR”. For more details visit http://www.daburchyawanprash.com.

                                    NURTURING MY NATION !

There comes an “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity in the journey of every nation which could tremendously dictate its future course. Some nations have grabbed the opportunity and have made it dance according to their tunes but some have let it slide only to utter in wail for the rest of their lifetime. Seven years from now the Indian Nation, inevitably, will be at the cusp of “the great opportunity”. The resounding question on every observer’s lips is whether the Indian Nation can grab this opportunity and script it according to India’s will or turn it into a disaster of epic proportions. The naysayers pooh-pooh that India does not even have an outside chance to grab the “defining moment” cultivating deep scepticism among the optimists.

On the cusp of an opportunity !

These Doubting thomases and their rhetoric are not without substance since the task at hand, as a prerequisite, demands building a stronger, healthier and above all an Immune India! But the path to achieve an Immune India is strewn with obstacles at every turn each being unique, demanding and each varying in magnitude. Lending weight to the questions of the sceptics is the current state of India showing eternal signs of disintegration.

Because, according to them, the Indian Nation which we live in today, beyond its sheer size and astonishing diversity, is playing host to many a churnings, big and small, occurring simultaneously through the length and breadth of the country. As an unavoidable consequence, the nation is starkly polarised into two extremes which can be called as “INDIA” and “BHARATH”. The “INDIA” represents the aspiring ultra modern metros and brand new cities and the “BHARATH” represents the deeply conservative rural villages reminiscent of the yore.  The “aspiring INIDIA”, which you and I belong to, lives in the modern cities and towns with IT parks, swanky malls, gated colonies, luxury cars and smart phones in company. On the other hand, the “conservative Bharath” is still confined to thatched roofs, fallow lands, dusty lanes and open defecation portraying a disturbingly opposite picture. In the “modern INDIA”, the fad is nuclear family, comprising working parents who think life in terms of board meetings, deadlines, promotions, night shifts and shopping whereas the flag bearers of “rural BHARATH” are the crumbling Joint families, bothered more about adequate Monsoons, cropping patterns, loans, debts sufferings and suicides.

Galloping forward !

The “modern INDIA” Galloping forward !

The quintessential breadwinner of the “modern INDIA” strives to maintain his contacts with the government of the day which brings him money, assures his son a place in a university or a good school perhaps with a gentle bribe and to promote the well being of his family before his neighbours whereas his contemporary in the “rural BHARATH” is the archetypal farmer who prays for a bountiful monsoon, guards his crops vigilantly and strives to sell them without incurring losses but at the end of the day struggles to earn two rotis for him and his family when he has one.

The women of “aspiring INDIA”, apart from being good wives and doting moms are progressive, freedom loving, financially independent eves who care for their looks and go on diet out of choice. Astonishingly, the women dotting the “rustic BHARATH” despite being devoted wives and loving mothers would most probably be school dropouts, leading lives within the confines of homes mired in superstitions spending their nights half starved out of sheer compulsion.

The youth of the “futuristic INDIA” is the Uber cool, mall trotting, tab loving, smart phone crazy facebook addicts who study in wi-fi campuses and lands in an IT company with a hefty pay pack once out of college. The less fortunate youth of the “bucolic BHARATH” struggles to finish his schooling, traverse great distance to reach college, takes to hereditary occupation due to fading skill sets and paucity of recruiters.

The “fast moving INDIA” represented by the urbane and high class man, forward looking women and the wired youth is in an endless tug of war with the patriarchal villager, subdued women folk and jobless youth portrayed by the “sloth like BHARATH”. In this unceasing struggle for supremacy both try to overwhelm each other to stamp their authority by projecting themselves as the sole representatives of the 21st century India.

Trailing Behind !

The “rustic BHARATH” Trailing Behind !

The “trailing BHARATH” pulls the rug from under the “INDIA” itching to leap into the future, aided by technology and growth, by always being deficient. The “INDIA” of the cities serves its revenge by crying foul about the “uncompromising BHARATH” forever on a laid back mode. Caught in the crossfire are the aspiring Migrants in search of a new identity, the minorities who still have unhealed wounds, the fighting disabled section and the real sons of the soil: Adivasis who are a picture of neglect. The voice of these hapless sections of the population, falling in the bottom rung of the pyramid, is drowned out in the endless cacophony emanating from prime contestants.The times are hard since there are dark clouds gathering in the horizons in the form of unbridled terrorism, communal virus, regional divides and the yawning gap in wealth distribution readying itself to rain down upon our nation furiously.

Cold Blooded Assassins waiting to spread their wings !

Cold Blooded Assassins waiting to spread their wings!

Encouraged by these intense divides and unending pessimisms, a new group of ASSASINS are in town to launch a scathing attack on India. Adept at camouflaging, these stealthy warriors have already crept into our lifestyles, making sure all the while that we are blissfully unaware of the developments. The INDIA of the urban sophisticate never spares a moment to halt and reflect about the pitfalls ahead. In order to triumph in the rat race, the urban inhabitant forget exercise, skip breakfast, assume more burdens, compromise on slumber, and eats whatever comes his way thus becoming the epitome of erratic life. The forward looking women, in order to escape the stress brought by their daily chores, watch soap operas blissfully unaware of the all conquering FLAB invading their bodies altering their Body Mass Index forever. Youth, glued to their touch screens forever, develop complications in EYESIGHT and become bespectacled in an early age effectively denting their verve to a great extent. The children of the Concrete jungles, devoid of playgrounds, take to game consoles en masse all along munching chips and gulping down aerated drinks turning into couch potatoes and ends up battling the bulge ultimately. The ASSASINS who calls themselves NCDs {Non Communicable Diseases} mercilessly unleashes cold blooded killers, on the sitting ducks of  “urban INDIA”, called cardiac arrest, hypertension, depression, dementia, diabetes and malignant cancers who grow by the day adding more victims to their unending list.

Banking heavily on the superstitious and semi literate bunch inhabiting the “rustic BHARATH”, another set of ASSASSINS who go by the name CDs {Communicable Diseases} have already crawled into the villages. The real son of the soil, the farmer who stretches every sinew in his body and sweat it out in the field, succumb to the compromised quality of food and notoriously low calorie intake exposing him to many ailments ranging from simple fever to the lethal diarrhea . When the breadwinner’s body shows signs of weakening, the income trickles down pushing his family into the brink of poverty.  His better half, as a result of spending many half starved nights and frequent childbirths, grow notoriously weak and falls prey to ANAEMIA and other deficiencies. The Children who become stunted and wasted due to the paucity of micro nutrition and proper parental care get lost in the bear hug by MALNUTRITION. The able bodied youth who drop out early roam unemployed or stray into social vices. Unable to work, ashamed to beg, condemned to penury, they lead their lives waiting for a new dawn which eludes them to no end. A drought, flood or an epidemic could lick the whole village clean of its population!

The “urban INDIA” is Materialistic, West-centric and excessively nourished whereas the “rural BHARATH” is Spiritual, Superstitious and malnourished. No country in the world has played host to such differences within itself than the India Nation.

COMMON COLD: The great leveller !

COMMON COLD: The great leveller !

Amidst all these glaring differences, there is one visible theme cutting across the cities and the villages of our nation. When our body shows slight symptoms of bad cough, running nose, reddish eye and a feverish feeling the hypochondriacs of India and the Bharath display the same penchant: They run to the doctor out of sheer panic! They don’t realize that COMMON COLD, the national illness, affects prince or poor, young or old, male or female and embraces you no matter whichever state, city or village you are in. The Doctors, who differs in terms of quality, orders a barrage of medicines and antibiotics which reassures the urban literate whereas the gullible rural inhabitant unnecessarily parts with his money for subjecting his body to various tests. The urban literate assuming that he is safe and sound falls back into his erratic life whereas his body by now has become a dump yard for medicines. The rural chap’s attention is gained when it is declared that he suffers from a hitherto unknown disease and will even become a mere sacrificial pawn in the game of organ trade. Alas! The veil of ignorance surrounding the “futuristic INDIA” and the “superstitious BHARATH” stays intact!! Even a mere thought about PREVENTION or IMMUNITY doesn’t flash across their minds !

These complexities will make even the greatest optimist in the world to refrain from imagining an IMMUNE INDIA even in his wildest of dreams. It may tempt the sceptics to easily conclude without batting an eyelid that the “INDIA” in the fast lane is heading north and the “BHARATH” in perpetual slow motion is heading south! He will pull the curtains down assuming that THE TWAIN SHALL NEVER MEET!!

Meet challenges head on !

Meet the challenges head on !

Meeting challenges halfway would be so UN INDIAN like. If we could hold our nation intact in the face of numerous adversities for the past 66 years then we could transform the dream of IMMUNE INDIA into a reality with a little determination.

There are no cut and dry solutions to the task at hand because Indian life is different. We do not belong either to the fork and knife tribe of the west or the chopstick holders of the east. Our biggest advantage is that we dip our fingers deep in reality and therefore stand a better chance at understanding what is actual and what a chimera is! The magnitude of the task should always be at the back of one’s mind. Once you have realized the enormity of the task all you need is a modus operandi and a never say die spirit to embark on the challenge of making India Immune!

The good news for the brave hearts who have decided to pull up their socks and take the plunge is that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel! In order to build an IMMUNE INDIA, all you need is to view things from a different perspective. This calls for the revival of a vital element which has long lost favour amongst us and is often recalled as an afterthought. It goes by the name TRADITON.

AYURVEDA: The Indian way of holistic healing !

AYURVEDA: The Indian way of holistic healing.

One just need to leaf through the pages of Indian history to understand the glorious Indian tradition in Medicines. In the vanguard of the Traditional Indian system of healing, jointly christened “AYUSH”, is AYURVEDA which is an eclectic combine of life and knowledge. Rich ancient texts ranging from Charakasamhitha to Sushruthasamhitha are reservoirs of knowledge which have stood the test of time and still serve as inspirations for a coterie of practitioners to stage breakthroughs in holistic healing. These gold standards pioneered by many Rishis of the yore and prolonged by the practitioners of today can serve as the key to achieve the dream of an IMMUNE INDIA. This will also make sure the tie with the tradition is not severed.

One must not mistake this as a war cry for reviving Indian Tradition and shunning the incomparable knowledge oozing from the west in the form of modern medicine. The trick lies in striking the golden mean: Reviving the traditional Indian system of medicine spearheaded by Ayurveda to such an extent that it strikes a chord with the contemporary and complements the modern stream of medicine effectively.

These are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures. Nevertheless, how on earth can anyone revive a system which is as old as the hills to a “modern” population inspired by the west and swearing by the word “instant”?

Just when it tempts the pessimists to conclude that the mission will be aborted, comes India’s answer and perhaps the brightest hope which goes by the name: DABUR. Dabur, founded in 1885 by the far-sighted Dr. S.K.Burman, is the quintessential outcome of the successful marriage between Indian tradition and Western technology. An early bird, Dabur has effectively moulded modern technology with Ayurveda to bring home the wellness of Indian tradition without losing even an ounce of authenticity. If Dabur, from its humble origins in the 19th century, has grown on to become a towering presence in India as well as abroad in the 21st century, it is primarily because of an unwavering vision guided by creative leadership adhering steadfastly to quality all the while.

Celebrate Life !!

Celebrate Life !!

At the forefront of Dabur’s passionate efforts, focussed on the health and well being of every household, is its trump card: DABUR CHYAWANPRASH: the cornucopia of wellness. Drawing immense inspiration from the Ayurvedic treatise Charaka Samhitha, Dabur blazed a trail, as early 1949, by launching India’s first branded CHYAWANPRASH hitting the market in tin pack. A deluge of imposters with tall claims followed, trying to compete with the trailblazer and conquer the market. But, what separates DABUR CHYAWANPRASH from the rest is the deep trust which Indian households have developed over the years reflected in Dabur’s Trophy Cabinet reeling under the sheer weight of numerous POWER BRAND AWARDS. It won’t be a mistake to pin all our hopes on DABUR CHYAWANPRASH to build an Immune India.

We clearly have in front of us the “WHAT” to be achieved and even have in place the “WHO” or the catalyst through which the goal is to be achieved leaving us with the apparent “HOW” to achieve the goal of IMMUNE INDIA. And therein lies the rub!

This calls for diverse strategies from Dabur to place CHYAWANPRASH in the aspiring modern India and the deficient rural Bharath.

The hyperactive modern India, which has a penchant for “instant”, might look like a tough nut to crack. Nevertheless, with shrewd innovation and marketing breakthroughs, Dabur can bring down the house. The fast paced life of the city’s working male and female can fittingly begin with DABUR CHYAWANPRASH which not only equips him/her with adequate energy to face the challenges the day ahead could pose but also assures protection from virus, flu and other infections. A shot in the arm is DABUR CHYAWANPRASH’s love affair with milk which makes it all the more a reason to drink the “instant” mixture. Innovations, from the house of Dabur, such the SUGAR FREE version named DABUR CHYAWANPRAKASH can bring the calorie conscious ladies and the health conscious older generation to Dabur’s camp. The ANTI OXIDANT properties in DABUR CHYAWANPRAKASH and CHYAWANPRASH can act as effective first barriers against various forms of malignant cancers in town.

For the health conscious !

DABUR CHYAWANPRAKASH: For the health conscious !

The youth, who believe in Google more than god and heeds to no advice, can be brought in line when the advantages of consuming DABUR CHYAWANPRASH is conveyed to them by their heartthrobs through catchy advertisements. This prompts them to sit down, listen and contemplate about the message being conveyed by the stars. DABUR CHYAWANPRASH’s move to rope in M.S.Dhoni to endorse the product is a marketing coup of sorts. The city dwellers at the wrong side of thirties are the most vulnerable to the unceasing environmental pollution in the ever expanding cities of India. For them two spoons of DABUR CHYAWANPRASH a day can keep the doctor away! Despite their frailties this good practise can restore a great deal of dignity to their immune systems. Most importantly, the ANTI OXIDANT properties in DABUR CHYAWANPRASH can keep ALZIEMERS at bay. So, don’t forget!!

Making DABUR CHYAWANPRASH an inseparable part of one’s life would make one’s immune system more enhanced, guarded by the benevolent Natural Killer cells whose presence is increased three fold. India or the other markets of DABUR is yet to hear about a case of side effect as a consequence of consuming DABUR CHYAWANPRASH. This is the biggest testimony to the fact that DABUR CHYAWANPRASH is an all weather ally of the people and should be trusted unconditionally!!

Cornucopia of wellness !

DABUR CHYAWANPRASH: The Cornucopia of wellness !

The toughest and the most interesting part comes with the smart children of the concrete jungles. Armed with a cricket bat or a joy stick for eternity it indeed is an uphill task to grab their eyeballs. No matter how hard one tries to convince them, they will still take to heels at the sight of the plain, black syrupy thing called DABUR CHYAWANPRASH which apparently fits the adults. Dabur, relying purely on innovation, has met the challenge head on.

Walking down the right path, Dabur has brought to shelves an array of flavours in Chyawanaprash to conquer the hearts of the kids. This, ranging from the chocolate flavoured granular DABUR CHYAWAN JUNIOR to the Orange, Mango and the mixed fruits flavours packed in attractive colours, will without a doubt help create clouds of curiosity in the minds of children. Mothers will pick up the products from supermarket shelves without batting an eye lid. The temper tantrums during breakfasts can be overcome finally by resorting to their preferred flavours. For the more stubborn ones who are averse to spoonfuls, DABUR CHYAWAN JUNIOR and other flavours can replace jam breaking the latter’s long alliance with bread and can even supplant energy mixtures alliance with milk !!

For a Healthy, Young , Immune India.

DABUR CHYAWAN JUNIOR: For a Young, Healthy and Immune India.

Far from the tall promises by other health drinks, parents can witness improvement in energy levels and retaining capacity after DABUR CHYAWAN JUNIOR’s arrival in their kid’s life. Dabur therefore, not only helps build strong immune systems in children, but also triggers their internal faculties helping them accomplish their cherished dreams. If similar innovations and efforts from Dabur continues from all quarters then that day is not far when children will unanimously choose DABUR CHYAWAN JUNIOR as their preferred health supplement over other majors!

Children are the future of India. It is for this vital reason that Dabur should not just stop with conquering their breakfast time alone but aspire to walk the extra mile by inculcating the fast eroding element of Tradition, especially Ayurveda and its importance among them. A good starting point can be the hosting of weeklong activities and competitions on the theme “TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE IN INDIA” by reaching out to various schools simultaneously. Children, when embarking on village trips, putting together projects on medicinal plants and drawing pictures simultaneously learn about the rich ancient knowledge of our country enticing their minds to explore further. Dabur can catch them young by exposing them to common plants like tulsi, amla, haldi, neem and other rare herbs and their medicinal properties driving home the message of planting them and preserving the tradition leading to healthy and sustainable living.

No stranger to innovations: Chyawanprash in various flavors.

No stranger to innovations: Chyawanprash in various flavours.

This will ensure CONTINUITY and will one day witness the triumph of holistic tradition over mindless modernity. Dabur’s effort in this front in the form of “DABUR CHYAWANPRASH IMMUNE SCHOOL CHALLENGE 2013” is a laudable first move but much can be contemplated. Field trips to Dabur’s Research and Development facilities will surely enlighten the kids about Dabur’s life mission: To place Traditional Knowledge of Ayurveda at the center of Indian Living. The above plans and more such efforts in the direction will make sure that a strong base is laid towards building a strong generation culminating in a strong, immune nation.

Daily exercise and healthy food habit together with DABUR CHYAWANPRASH and its variants pack a punch fighting infections and increasing longevity leading to immunity.

Now that a plan is in place for the “urban INDIA”, the plan can be extended to the “bucolic BHARATH” with a difference. The change in settings calls for an unprecedented effort from Dabur surpassing the clichéd Corporate Social Responsibility and assuming the role of a change agent. Dabur should look inwards and draw immense inspiration from the “Daktar” S.K.Burman and his pioneering work in the villages of West Bengal!

Dabur should work in tandem with the government and other NGOs to rout poverty root and branch from rural Bharath.  As a first step it can encourage the formation of Traditional Knowledge Committees at the grass root level which aims at protecting and preserving the fast disappearing medicinal herbs and plants by arming them financially and intellectually. More initiatives with respect to Research and Development could witness a productive partnership between Dabur and erudite tribes of India. The opening of Research and Development centres nearby villages could make sourcing of medicinal plants easier and can effectively employ the jobless youths from villages accustomed to herbal plants at starting levels providing them a steady income. The villagers can be reassured by the fact that there are no guinea pigs involved in Dabur’s researches but medicinal plants!

Planting Ayurvedic dispensaries funded by Dabur in remote villages devoid of primary health centres could help restore the lost confidence in traditional systems of healings among the villagers eroded by con doctors. Simultaneously, Dabur should aspire to find a place in the shelf of every house in the village for DABUR CHYAWANPRASH. The village woman’s decreased levels of immunity can get a fillip by consuming DABUR CHYAWANPRASH and making it a habit. This will help bring down the maternal and infant mortality rates plaguing some villages. The farmer who chews a tulsi every day before leaving for farm can take it a step further by consuming two spoons of DABUR CHYAWANPRASH to ward off infections. Health camps under the aegis of Dabur catering exclusively to villages can help assess the magnitude of disease burden and take precautions accordingly. Volunteers for this mission can be handpicked from the cities which could help the latter understand the magnitude of problems faced by numerous villages in India and lets them mull over it seriously. This way villages can slowly but steadily get out of the social passivity and shun their intellectual inertia one day !

People , Planet and Profit centric growth !

People , Planet and Profit centric growth for DABUR

Finally a substantial portion of the proceeds from the sales of DABUR CHYAWANPRASH can be ploughed into villages exclusively for financing the various aspects of education among school children. Like the mid day meal scheme, DABUR CHYAWANPRASH too should become an integral part of the rural school kid’s life.  By doing so, Dabur can, through CHYAWANPRASH, make sure that poverty bows out from villages and usher in immunity slowly but steadily. The sweeping changes embracing the villages spearheaded by DABUR CHYAWANPRASH will revive the love for tradition amassing unshakable goodwill for DABUR which their competitors can only dream of. This will reduce distress migration from villages to a trickle and prevent the cities from bursting at the seams.

You and I can chip in with a change in attitude by taking to exercise, shunning junk food and switching to DABUR CHYAWANPRASH and spreading the message of wellness in the Traditional Knowledge to fellow Indians !

If we adhere to the above plan and move ahead with an unshakable resolve the ends of the twain connecting the modern India and the rural BHARATH will surely meet one day !!

Instead of wallowing about the chasm between aspiration and reality, India should embark on achieving nationwide immunity by deploying the legendary idea of reviving its Traditional System of Medicine spearheaded by Ayurveda and propagated effectively by DABUR CHYAWANPRASH. The naysayers meanwhile will shout and dismiss it as sheer madness. But time will prove that there was indeed a method in this madness.

Seven years from now, in 2020, India is all set to walk into history as the WORLD’S YOUNGEST NATION. Whether the Young India will concurrently be an IMMUNE INDIA? The answer for this lingering question hinges heavily on us and the dedication we display to achieve the goal of immune India. All we have got is seven more precious years! Let’s do it the Dabur way by Celebrating life !!

This is not the end ! This is just the beginning !!

This is not the end ! This is just the beginning !!

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Sources: Wikipedia,

Dabur Website (http://www.dabur.com/Default.aspx)

Dabur Chyawanprash Website (http://www.daburchyawanprash.com/)

Images: Internet.

Realpolitik #2 Bye Bye Cycles.   6 comments

Realpolitik in simple worlds means – politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral or ethical premises. A phenomenon widely practiced in India today. The entries under REALPOLITIK are an ATTEMPT to connect the immediate events which go past us by looking at the funny side of those ! It is outright silly !!

BYE BYE CYCLES

I waited and waited and waited for them to reverse their decision but nothing happened. I am forced to write and publish this post hoping that REASONING will revisit Kolkata again. When ASI went in search of the elusive gold another story was unfolding in the east which had all the ingredients to surpass the former but stayed subdued though. Kolkata banned CYCLE and its TRIBE from most of its thoroughfares !!! Environmentalist and Cycle enthusiasts were clueless as to what prompted the authorities to do so !

Eventually, evidences are trickling down from the inner circles as to what was running in Di’s mind when she took the decision. Turns out that Di was a TRUE BLUE supporter of the world’s most successful professional cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG. The Blue Eyed boy of the cycling world was loved by Di so much that she painted the city BLUE when he announced his comeback signifying “SKY IS THE LIMIT”. The Left could only see RED. But that move backfired spectacularly when it ended up promoting BLUE FILMS inadvertently ! When Armstrong fell from grace she went berserk. This was reflected in her ignominious conduct towards her party colleague who doubled as the Railway minister back then. When her grief hit new heights and transformed into unwarranted suspicions, she accused her coalition partner MANMOHAN of being a MAOIST  and walked out of the alliance ! Poor Chap !! Accusations flew thick and fast ! Mao was invoked at the drop of a hat. During T.V. shows, her party’s rallies and even SHIEKH HASINA was denied TEESTA TREATY owing to Mao. Still nursing the wounds of ARMSTRONG’s fall from grace the Kolkata Corporation, under the aegis of a vicarious Di, banned CYCLE and its tribe from its roads. This , insiders claim, was to prove her unflinching loyalty towards Lance Armstrong. She even fears that the whole LANCE ARMSTRONG DOPING FIASCO was a MAOIST CONSPIRACY ! This blanket ban on cycles, she believes, should send out a loud and clear message to her detractors and conveys her determination to stand by the side of the cyclist as he fights his darkest hours ! She should in fact think about changing her party’s slogan to MA(O), MATI, MANUSH !! That would at least be a small PARIBORTAN !!

For the dejected BLUE COLLARED WORKERS and CYCLISTS of KOLKATA, they should replace the Rabindra Sangeeth emanating from traffic signals of Kolkata and play instead the “BICYCLE” song by QUEEN as a sign of protest !!

P.S: No one can imaginatively snub the Yankees like the Bengal of the yore. They registered their protest against AMERICAN IMPERIALISM by renaming the road in which the American Consulate stood as HO CHI MINH SARANI !! The present Bengal is a mere shadow of their forefathers. Painting the city blue to aim high or Banning cycles,which is the livelihood of the poor, owing to slowing down traffic and to thwart terror attacks are decisions which oozes stupidity from all sides.  If Bengal needs real PARIBORTAN, the policy makers should stop scratching the surface and welcome back reasoning as a first step!

Rediscovering her dignity.   11 comments

It was another blazing day in Chennai. No one barring the juice men loved the sun when it unleashed its fury upon the hapless residents. It meant steady business for them and at the end of the summer, they laughed all the way to the bank. It was on one such busy day that I was waiting for my friend in a juice shop by the side of an arterial road. Everything was running according to the script for the owner of the shop. There was a steady stream of people coming in and choosing from the wide variety on offer and his dedicated employees were taking orders without any delay and delivering them promptly. Customers from all walks of life occupied seats neatly arranged under colourful umbrellas. The less fortunate ones had to stand with watchful eyes to occupy a seat the moment it went empty. Lovers whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, families with warring siblings, men on top of their voice over cell phones and giggling college girls completed the environment. Keeping an eye on this perfect setting was the enterprising owner who, amidst all the cacophony, spotted the regulars and promptly called out their names and waved at them.

Suddenly, into this perfect world, enters a destitute woman. In her endless journey through the pavement, knocking on the doors of every store she passed by, she had decided to halt at the juice shop today. Draped in a threadbare cotton sari, her young age was betrayed by the sagging skin, frail hands and hesitant steps. Her body bore visible signs of endless battles with poverty. As she stopped by the juice shop, her eyes searched for souls who could empathize with her plight. With her hands held together in prayer, she approached the ones perched under the shade uttering something indistinctly. The elites were terrified at the very sight of her. Some scurried for cover all the while warning her to stay away. The others shrieked and shooed the frail woman away. By now the outcast came under the radar of the owner. The employees, after receiving orders from him, came searching for her. Before the approaching men could chuck her out, she stumbled upon a stranger who gave ears to what she was pleading for. From then on he took over the situation.

The stranger asked her whether she would like to have a glass of juice. When the woman nodded in the affirmative, the man sat her down on the chair beside him and offered her his glass of juice.I clearly saw the woman’s sun strained face light up suddenly. This time it was not out of joy but something which transcended it. It looked as if the woman had rediscovered something which she had lost long ago: “her DIGNITY”. Wiping the tears rolling down her cheeks, she drank her glass of juice in the most civilized manner possible. The woman thanked the stranger with folded hands, meanwhile the stranger paid for the juice. It dawned upon the onlookers that the frail woman in fact was pleading for something to quench her thirst which they mistook for alms.

As they both parted ways, the stranger had already taught them what real RESPECT was and the frail woman had showed them what real DIGNITY is. The onlookers learned a lesson or two about what it takes to listen to a fellow human being. Having witnessed all this I uttered to myself that HOPE IS STILL ALIVE !!

Posted November 9, 2013 by gangsofedathua in CHENNAI

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , ,

When the Cub came of age.   2 comments

A cub from the stables of a leading hospitality institutes was placed in a prominent fast food restaurant chain recently. His employers, who had humble origins in Kentucky, went onto conquer the world guided partly by their expertise in offering delicacies in fried chickens and partly by the unstoppable globalisation juggernaut. The cub, our protagonist, decided to enter the den considering the stint as a learning curve after weighing in the paucity of recruiters and the prevailing global pessimism. He took the plunge convinced that the restaurant was the place to be till the hospitality industry bounced back.

The Cub’s early days saw him getting introduced to the team members and acquainting himself to the busy kitchen environment which prevailed throughout the day. Even though the team leader was a hard taskmaster, the cub considered himself fortunate to have found the right place to see off the recession days. Bent upon giving his best the cub put his heart into the tasks assigned to him. Lessons in customer care, crowd management, shift rotation and multitasking followed which the cub thought could stand him in good stead. The back breaking work in the restaurant kept him occupied and hours passed like minutes. Every passing day saw him master a trick in trade ranging from enticing the taste buds of customers to winning unflinching loyalties. The Cub was an avid learner and a curious observer too. Within a short span he improved his skill sets tremendously and was juggling many tasks with ease already. This, inevitably, saw him walk into the good books of the Manager earning him many adversaries and admirers as well.

Beneath the visage which gleefully accepted all the praises which came his way, the cub portrayed a disturbed guy. The colleagues, according to him, seemed to hold many secrets.  His inquisitive mind was full of unanswered questions. Unlike the pleasant atmosphere and camaraderie on display amidst the customers, a veil of secrecy hung over their private space. The length of the shadow extended from the plastered smiles on his colleagues’ faces to the miserly conversations among them. The cub tried eavesdropping into their hush-hush conversations which always seemed to hold back secrets. He even tried peeping into Manager’s desk without success. Nothing seemed to work and the dark clouds gathered with renewed vigour as days went past him. He felt as if stuck in a mental asylum full of disturbed souls holding back secrets and his suspicion grew stronger by the day when he discovered standard patterns in their peculiar behaviour.

Despite being employed in a renowned food chain, not even a single soul ate anything from the restaurant. They always attempted to slip out and reach for the nearest hotel or brought homemade food. Despite many innovations, they all desisted testing them. The reason for refrain ranged from being a vegan to revolting stomachs. In case if they encountered surplus or unsold food, team members readily fed them to stray dogs or the beggars who spent the nights by the pavement. No one seemed drawn to the menu which otherwise was enjoyed by the whole city. The cub initially mistook this for dedication and good practise but soon realised that there is more to it than what meets the eye. These questions constantly popped up in his mind and the cub wanted to put them to rest forever.

One fine day he plucked enough courage and met his Boss in his cabin. The cub blurted out, without any manner of preamble, his lingering doubts. The senior’s reaction came as a surprise. His face turned purple and the moustache bristled in anger. He thundered at him saying nothing was abnormal and the cub should stop acting like a fool. Unable to stand his ire, the cub tiptoed his way out of the line of fire. Letting the matter go made ways for more dilemmas cropping up in his head. After a few months, abiding by his friends’ advice, he accosted his boss in a different but shrewd manner. The cub, learning that his senior’s went weak at the knees at the sight of alcohol, got him sloshed to the core one evening. Having attained enlightenment, the Boss started spilling the beans.

When skeletons tumbled out of the closet, the cub could only arch his brows in utter disbelief. Turns out that every single item on offer, in the menu, had an unmentioned item being added beyond its desirable proportions. The intruder was “AGINOMOTO”.  Every day they got on the wrong side of the law. Passing out of the culinary stable the men behind the menu were aware of these transgressions. Instead of raising their voices in protest they had kept mum and colluded silently. They knew the hazards of adding AGINOMOTO beyond the prescribed limit and hence kept the items at arms length. The secret never slipped out their mouths despite trying circumstances and provocations and had become the norm overtime.

The cub, now faced with overwhelming evidences of gross violations, was caught in a moral dilemma. Whether to stand up and question the violations and set things right or to meekly surrender and save his job became his new obsession. As if on cue, one of cub’s neighbours hosted a youngster who had come down to his city for treating a strange case which baffled the doctors year in year out. Finally they deciphered the cryptic code and realized that the youngster’s blood had unusual levels of Monosodium Glutamate or AGINOMOTO.  The youngster had skipped healthy food and became a regular at one of the branches of the food chain major.  Alarmed, the cub decided to put an end to the whole issue.

One defining moment came along offering a way out. The next day the cub confronted his senior and requested him to refrain from the prevailing practises. The day which followed saw pink slip coming the cub’s way followed by a barrage of abuses. The conditions were simple: “You either play by the rules or just get out”. The cub now was out of job and walked into oblivion. When his career showed signs of taking off and flying high, the senior had clipped his wings. The next day, just when the scheming senior reclined on his chair mocking the cub’s wild and immature ways, heard a decisive knock on the door!!

When the senior was pleading with the Food Inspectors to spare them for one last time, the Cub was already on his way to the airport, all set to fly to Dubai. After responding in the affirmative to the job offer from a leading luxury hotel in Dubai, the cub had set the cat amongst the pigeons by revealing the closely guarded secrets of the restaurant among the mall rats and other store owners. Absolute pandemonium ensued. The last nail on the coffin was struck by the cub when he dialled the authorities alerting them before flying.

Uncertainty remains as to whether the authorities may collude or collide with the perpetrators. But what is certain is this: HE WAS NOT A CUB ANYMORE!! He didn’t play by the rule but changed the game!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 117 other followers