Righteous Violence!

If someone slaps you on a cheek, don’t show him the other one! Hit him back! We don’t need Gandhis!

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अहिंसा परमो धर्मा is a Sanskrit phrase popularized by Mahatma Gandhi and is repeated many times across the world to emphasize non-violent ways of Indians. It means “Non-Violence is the ultimate Dharma”! In Sanatan Dharma this line is applicable to the renunciates and ascetics! Even if one is attacked he should not defend himself even if there is danger to life because in Sanatan Dharma you identify with Atman and not the body. 

I feel that in real life the second line of this phrase is purposely hidden by so called peace loving people. The full phrase is 

अहिंसा परमो धर्मा 

धर्म हिंसा तथैव च  

Non – Violence is the greatest Dharma, So too is all righteous violence 

When these two lines are taken together, what we can understand is that non-violence is relative! It is the moral responsibility of the person to use violence if it is used to stop greater violence or evil.  

The first line of the phrase was made popular by Gandhi. But Nathuram Godse apparently believed more in second line; he felt that Gandhi had done great harm to India and he took a violent decision to kill Gandhi! It is well proven, post-independence, that violent means are part of ruling a country. In olden days also, the kings resorted to violence and if required they killed people. Same is happening in today’s times. The Naxalite movement is causing a big headache to the Indian state. Initially, appeasement was tried but a stage was reached when this movement started becoming stronger and more violent. Government had no option but to take aggressive stance. This resulted in guerilla warfare where government forces are systematically destroying the violent groups but at the same time they are allowing some of them to surrender and change their ways. Only the strong state can talk of peace, because the other side is aware that otherwise they will get brutally crushed. Kashmir issue is for a completely separate discussion.

A society has an Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.), Spiritual Quotient (S.Q.) and a Knowledge Quotient (K.Q.). But it also has Fear Quotient which, which is based on Valour Quotient. But post-independence, due to over dependence on non-violence, India as a  country had become famous for peace and non-violent ways, especially in international dealings. This led to our society having abnormally high Fear Quotient and abnormally reducing our Valour Quotient. 

The result of such thought process was what happened in China war. At the time of China war, our defense minister Krishna Menon was telling everybody that our ordinance factories were busy manufacturing Lanterns! Such weak Leadership of Menon under guidance of Nehru resulted in India having a bloody nose in International diplomacy. China for some reason wanted to teach India a lesson, under very smart slogan Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai (Chinese and Indians are brothers!) Luckily for India, China stopped the war unilaterally otherwise we could have lost many North Eastern States! Nehru wanted to gain personal popularity on the world stage and was gunning, pun not intended, for Nobel Prize of peace! What did he gain? A bloody nose, shame and ultimately died a sad man!  

Subsequent Governments took time to come out of this “Peace Movement”! Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, realized the meaning of being strong and aggressive. Soldiers of the Indian army had fought under the British rule in second world war and had battalions of Sikh, Gurkhas, Rajputs, Marathas and Mahars with great tradition of Valour! What they needed was the support from the government by way of policy.  

Indira Gandhi took the decision following the second line of the phrase, धर्म हिंसा तथैव च! Result was 1971 war against Pakistan! In ten years, India had changed from 1962 debacle to 1971 Victory, which resulted in defeating aggressive Pakistan. At the beginning of this war, Pakistanis were so confident about winning, that they had made statements like, “One Pakistani soldier is good enough to Kill 10 Indian soldiers!” They made such statements because of our post-independence history and conciliatory stand on the global platform. India was always talking of peace, and non-aggression pacts. We never bothered about having weapons, ammunition. Indian polity was changing internally and end result was creation of Atomic Bomb, against all odds. 

Indian thought process had changed so much during 1971 war that India were threatened by USA during this war. They said that they were sending their seventh fleet in Bay of Bengal to help Pakistan! India kept on negotiating with US and on the side, before the fleet could arrive, they made Pakistan surrender! Currently when US is again threatening India about non-supply of missiles, India has joined hands with Russia for these missiles. 

In Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna tells the same thing to the great Warrior Arjuna! On the battle field, Kauravas had opted for Yadav army and Pandavas had opted for advice of Lord Krishna. Ajuna tells Krishna that he can not fight a war with his cousins Kauravas, his Guru Dronacharya  and his Grandfather Bhishma! He almost puts his weapons down and says, “I cannot fight this war which can lead to total destruction of the people I love and respect.” Lord Krishna tells him, “O son of Kunti (Arjuna), either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up and fight with determination.” 

Friends, the history of mankind has been brutal. But the wise and smart know one thing that this brutality should not be used for the sake of brutality! But if required, this should be used forcefully and effectively for just cause!  

Whatever people may say about Gandhi’s “Quit India” movements contribution to push British out of India. People claim that this made British go away! I don’t believe it for one minute! It is the Tilak’s, Savarkars, Netaji Boses, Bhagat Singhs and Rajguru’s of this world who pushed British to the brink! Ultimately, the proverbial last straw was the Mutiny of the Naval sailors in 1946, that led to their final decision to quit!  

 

 

Technology Onslaught! Reskill or Perish!

Technology forces humans to retrain!

Some lawyers in Pune have declared that they will go on fast until death, against the decision of Charity commissioner. It is now decided that that all registrations with charity commissioner will be done online! Thereby eliminating the need to employ lawyers to handle this work. Lawyers have gone by the only route known to them. They are cribbing, crying and fasting. Welcome to the brave new world of technology.

Technology is a part of revolution that mankind has seen from stone age. Only difference is that today’s technology can take away work from highly educated and successful people! When the wheel was invented, the strong people in that era must have gone on strike because with invention of wheel, people with brute force, for doing various manual things, became irrelevant. This sort of thing is not only technology related but it is about out of box thinking too!

Western part of China has many industries that produce goods for the world! Shipping of these good to Europe was a real long haul; taking the goods to east coast of China and from there goods would sail to Europe, in big ships. Total time taken would be between 40 to 45 days. Someone had a great idea. China had talks with Russia and rail system in western China was realigned to connect to Russian rail system. Trains full of these goods now reach Europe in 15 to 20 days! Ship owners have not gone on strike!

Human nature is such that we want status quo, all the time. While going is good, humans don’t try to find efficient methods of doing things better. Lawyers probably never understood that drastic changes that were coming up. Nobody designed something specific to make lawyers’ work irrelevant. Technology does not target anybody, it just looks to improve things or to do things in a different way. Somebody in government took a step forward to make the system more efficient and transparent. This is already happening in many areas in the private as well as government domain.

Blockchain is a classic example of technology can change things drastcially! I will briefly explain about Blockchain. A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions inexpensively. This technology is already being used in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Technology is proven and slowly becoming popular. This technology has a potential to eliminate ALL the agents that are currently there in the system. These agents are Chartered Accountants, Bank Agents, LIC Agents, and so on. Over a period, Bitcoin Technology is expected to eliminate even the Banks and Currency! This shows two things; currency as a tool can vanish and Blockchain can push many educated people out of work, in big numbers. What is the solution? Retrain, get new skill sets! Don’t crib!

The other day, I was having coffee with my friend Sharad. He told me a story about some government agency people who wanted to do ground survey, near his factory, for a new expressway being planned. The people living in that area have been opposing the project. As a protest, they blackened the faces of the surveyors. Surveyors were cool guys. When Sharad asked them how much time the survey will take? They said 15 minutes. They moved around, put some paint marks on the rocks around and were ready to go. Sharad asked them, ” What happened to your survey?” They said, ” We are done! Now Google will take over and do the necessary survey; we just had to paint some markers.” Technology? How are local protesters going to stop Google Satellite?

Do you remember Tonga, the horse carriages being replaced by Auto Rikshas? Now a days, we rarely see young people driving Rikshas, so it could be on it’s way out! Heard of Uber and Ola? For long distance travel, the replacement was trains. Then came airplanes, local purchase is being slowly replaced by Web based selling. Amazons, Flipkarts are taking over business from local grocers! Typewriting institutes? What is that? Where are the typewriters? Where are the typists? Are we now hearing stories about Electric Vehicles? Another 20 years maybe! There may not be big repair workshops!

Most of the times, new technologies start with some mundane task or something which is not relevant at that time. It takes people thinking out of box that makes rapid and sometimes dramatic changes. Something similar is happening in another area of our lives.

When Jaya did her engineering in early 70’s, ladies in this field was a novelty! Lady engineers making a full-time career after degree was even more rare! This has been changing for some time. Early part of current century has seen major jump of ladies coming into different professions, in large numbers. They got themselves adapted and trained to handle many aspects of life which they were not supposed to know or do! How has this changed things in the society! It’s the women who have been retraining themselves, realigning themselves to out of box thinking. Some have gone into supplying home cooked food for people, some have gone into running creches! They have retrained themselves as per the need of the hour. Are men doing necessary changes in their thought process? Have enough number of men done this? Have they retrained themselves? Have they re-skilled themselves? Have they learnt cooking? Have they learnt to change diapers? Have they learnt to go to office after spending hours with the child who was unwell at night?

No, they have not! The majority have not done it! What comes in the way? It’s the so called traditional way of thinking that men are supposed to perform so and so things in life and women are supposed bear kids and manage homes. What will happen if men don’t change? They may not become irrelevant like lawyers, but whether they like it or not they will have to face ground realities. Whatever traditions or old way of thinking may say, there is one skill set which only women have! Bearing and producing a child! Yes, men are needed for this but technology has proven that you don’t need men but their sperm to produce a child! Remember, Kunti had given Karna birth by using this method! Mankind knows and is very much aware of this method, for a long time, as mentioned in mythology! But the point of inflexion for this to happen regularly, is still too far away!

What is the easier and more prudent way for men? To retrain themselves, to acquire skills to run the family jointly with women. This does not need technology change; this needs the change in mind set. Change in old way of thinking! Accept that people who don’t adapt to new technology or thinking can become irrelevant over a period of time!

Lawyers, find your selves a new area where your skills are needed. Try and re-skill yourselves for doing something different! Become a great chef, become an online teacher, become a producer for online serials! Instead of striking you may strike Gold in your new profession!

A little deviation!

My little probe on current politics!

I generally avoid writing about things that are in public domain and especially related to politics. But some recent events have forced me to temporarily tweak my rule, maybe just this one time! So, pardon me. Many actions in public domain are supposedly taken with elections in view, or some such ulterior motives. As usual ruling party and oppositions parties do not see eye to eye on most things. Only time both sides seemed to have come together, are during national emergencies. But there have been no such emergencies. I am not talking of this government or that party. 

Today I read about a small plane carrying Rahul Gandhi and his close aides, flying from Delhi to Hubli. It appears that as the flight was approaching Hubli, the airplane suddenly lost height, became unstable, and pilots lost control. This was during day time and weather was clear with no obvious winds. Pilots took charge of the plane by shifting from Auto Pilot to manual mode and landed safely. On landing, the entourage approached the police and lodged an FIR, claiming sabotage. The FIR is lodged against the pilots! Do pilots not know if the plane crashed, they will also die? I do not know why FIR was lodged. All, including crew were petrified. If someone wanted to kill the leader why will they put the lives of unknown persons also, in jeopardy? The plane could fall and kill a few on ground too! Are we such a vicious country that we will try to kill some senior leader because of elections? Are we a set of “Stupids” to react this way? Are we so malicious, that we want to charge our opponents of murder? After getting down, the complaint could have been made to authorities. These authorities could have been requested to stop flying the plane for thorough inspection. (apparently this is now done) Who advised this group of people to complain about saboteur? What is this, stupidity or viciousness, naivety?  

On the other side, due to the rise in Oil prices in international markets, petrol and diesel prices at home are also sky rocketing. With elections around in some states and national elections next year, this is supposedly a disaster for the current government. But they are sticking to basic finance rules and not taking any action to reduce these rates by way of subsidies. Sometime back, Indian petroleum sector was linked to international oil prices. A couple of years back, we got the benefits of very low petrol/diesel prices. Popular measures may be good politics but it is not good for the nation. This is an extraordinary courage being shown by the government.  

Supreme Court Chief Justice issue is one more such saga. I do not understand much about law of the land. But it was apparent from the beginning that this action was going to boomerang on the people who started the action. First and foremost was that the opposition parties could not form a coalition, based on similar thinking. The numbers were not there, and according experts, logic behind the action was not tenable. With this background there was no point in moving ahead. But why they moved forward is a mystery! Do they have no other agenda? Do they have nothing viable to pressurize the government?  

AFSPA is Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what each act terms “disturbed areas”. Tripura government has withdrawn this act after 18 years. This was promulgated when situation there was bad and there was no option left. But somebody has reviewed this and taken a decision to withdraw these. This is creditable because generally nobody wants to bell the cat. Decisions in the government, are generally left to bureaucracy and their motto is status quo! Generally, there will be no review, things keep on lingering. One arm does not know what the other arm is doing! That reminds me of a small anecdote from Solapur district. In the district collector’s office, there was a file called “Report for the Queen”! Nobody knew what it was. But every month a group of officers was creating a mundane report, to be sent to the queen (of England), naturally! This procedure was started more than 100 years back during British Raj and continued till the year 2000! Review? What is that! 

Last but not the least is current China visit by our PM. Both our countries are large and with big population. Somehow China has been coming in the way of many things that India wanted to do on the world stage. May it be Pakistan, Sri Lanka or United nations China has always tripped India; on top of that there has been continuous probing on border posts in Himalayas. These type of skirmishes, are always stressful and can prove to be very expensive, even money wise, with no tangible results. Our PM has realized this and has taken first step to cool down tensions with China. There will be give and take, but we need to be pragmatic and keep our egos aside! That is the real diplomacy. I always felt that India was always lagging in finesse in diplomatic relations, though there has been improvement in last ten years or so. There were no declarations, no noise, just tête-à-tête between top bosses; it appears that meetings will be regular in future! I felt that this is a feather in the cap of our Government!  

Are we showing maturity in our governance? Are we not afraid to take steps which may be termed bold? But one thing is sure, we continue to be idiots, stupids and smart at the same time. Mainly the political arena has to change! Can we be a little smarter in our internal political moves also and try to be less confrontational? Hope we mature in this area too!  

Jaihind!  

 

 

  

Budget! It’s not a Game show!

My take of yearly budget; handle it with prudence!

Annual Government Budget has been a political show for years together but over a period it has lost its sheen and it is less of a show. When India became an independent nation, budgeting process had to be started. India as a whole, had never been a sovereign country before independence. In 1947 November, India’s first budget was presented. Of course, India was a poor country then and even now the large majority of the people are poor. But over a period, India started many industries, services, IT services was a major proponent of growth. India has a large number of farmers and farming sector, even today, it engages largest number of people. With the rapid growth in various sectors, India’s GDP is in top five nations in the world, though its per capita income is still very low, due to large population.  

As expected, India had a great difficulty in budgeting as there was nothing much in the kitty. Balancing the budget was a great art and there was always a conflict in budgetary allocations. Naturally, we started with education, India opted for large public-sector industries, big dams to help farming and to generate electricity. Then there was war with China in 1962, Pakistan 1965 & 1971 and one in 1947. With these wars, allocation started going more towards arms and ammunition. Factories were built to produce war material. Like any poor household, this strategy put stress on other sectors like agriculture, education. Private manufacturing was looked down upon and the industrialists were looked down upon as profiteers. Profit was a cuss word in those days, hence there was permit Raj and there were limits on the quantity of goods that could be manufactured. This type of thinking always led to scarcities and shortages. This further led to hoarding and black marketing. Added to this was political turmoil of 80’s. I think Bajaj Auto was the first company who challenged the government and said we will produce more scooters than the capacity, let us see what you do!

Since last ten years things have improved in India’s finances. Money is around and governments are trying to be prudent about allocations. Making a large country like India modern in science & technology, engineering, transportation, farming and defense is not a joke. Another important area is digitalization of the nation. Huge allocations are required for all these sectors.  

There is a large middle class, rich class, and biggest class is the poor class. Other than allocations for various sectors mentioned, the poor class needs to be supported in such a way that they become self-sufficient over a period of time. Other two classes have the where withal of taking care of themselves with or without Government support. This is what the government has done in the current budget. Poor will not be helped by dole or subsidies. But government actions may help this group in the most difficult areas, handling medical expenses.

Government has proposed a medical insurance scheme which will cover 100 million people in next couple of years. This scheme will cover a family of 5, for Rs.5/ lacs each. This means that 500 million people will come under the scheme. Illnesses have been one of the major factors that have ruined poor families’ finances. This scheme can take care of expenses during illnesses. Cynics will talk about difficulty to implement such schemes etc. Have you heard of something called Aadhar lately? Aadhar will be perfect tool to launch such an ambitious scheme.  

There is one more decision that will help millions of farmers. Government has covered 23 different items where farmers will get higher than today’s assured purchase price. This will help farmers, hopefully, from their current financial difficulties. There will be discussion why item A is not under the scheme but B is under the scheme. But this discussion is natural as everyone will be interested in his own well-being. But it is about people who are poor!  

But I see people like you and me cribbing that Income Tax slabs have not been improved. Come on we pay taxes; the majority who need help are those who don’t pay taxes! We worry that deduction against money spent on medical insurance is not increased. Difference is we are able to buy our own insurance, there are millions who can’t even buy it.  People are worried that iPhone, diamonds will become costly, Mercedes will be costly. Can these be even subjects for discussions? Every group of people want their pie to be improved. All want Indian cities to look like foreign cities. Only GDP increase does not do this. There should be minimum people below poverty line in any nation. Budgets now should now try and achieve this. For this all have to work together and support the Government whether it is formed by Party A or Party B!  Let political parties play the blaming game; it is their business but why you and I should be party to this?  Let them treat it as a game show in the Loksabha or outside the Loksabha!

Another thing I have observed post budget this time, is the proliferation of “Experts” being interviewed by newspapers. Since when students, housewives start giving Stars to the budget? Are they even one star in their knowledge about budget? Ask finance guys, ask people from industry, ask people in the know of it. They should be giving an overall opinion. Many real experts have opined about the effect of budget on their areas of work. Their remaining comments were general comments and not sweeping ones. What do the newspapers achieve by asking such a wide spectrum and asking them to give “Stars”? If by chance somebody had come to interview me, I would have 100% said, ” No comments! I am no expert in national budgeting”. 

Our nation is now on auto pilot for growth of GDP because of actions by successive governments. Now our budgets are what they should be, declaration of intents, allocation of funds to the priority sectors as visualized by the government in power. Let us make sure that this does not become lopsided; help poor to come out of their quagmire. Super rich will become richer without budgetary support. You and I should stop cribbing about vegetables being a little costlier, tur dal being a bit expensive. Sky is not going to fall if income tax deduction percentage is not improved. We want better India, smarter India and cleaner and neater India; let us make it all inclusive improvement. There could a little pain for a few groups, bearing it is tough, cribbing is simple. You decide what you want to do. Jaihind! 

 

Palmistry & Horoscope!

The other day we went for dinner with an American friend of ours. The restaurant was in a mall! While going to the restaurant we saw a palmist sitting with his advertisement board and all! He was dressed in appropriate attire. This is a very sensitive subject, so here is a disclaimer! I am not writing this to hurt anyone and I am not passing any judgement. When I read on these subjects, questions come to mind. I am trying to check them against known facts and current scientific knowledge.  

Our friend asked us jokingly, “Hey Pramod, did you and Jaya get your horoscopes matched before marriage?” I told him we did not do that, I said we had a civil marriage where no religious ceremonies were involved. Both Palmistry and reading of horoscope are supposed have their origins in India. Both these  have been practised from ancient times in India, China, Greece and old cultures. There have been misconceptions, wrong interpretations, disrepute galore through the history, about these practises. Are these sciences as some people call them ? We have extreme views on the subject, total belief to total disbelief! The real thing must be somewhere midway as usual!  

What does palmistry tell you? The palmist studies the palm of an individual and can foretell some things about the person by studying lines, shape of palm, ups and downs on the palm and so on! Physical features of palm definitely tell about person’s cleanliness, health, occupation, nervous habits. Nail biting and Calluses are indication of this. Over a period, a palmists have learnt to judge the people’s personalities. I have a feeling that 60% information predicted can be correct. I assume that these people also study the face of the person; face reading is also an art. We are also aware, that medical professionals are able to judge various things about the patient’s personality looking at the face and the palm. But this is judgement backed by scientific knowledge. I feel that palmistry can be described as an art rather than science. During my childhood in Bombay, there used to be palmists siting on footpaths. They would have details written on paper and neatly tucked in envelops. These envelopes, between 50/75, would be kept in front of him. When a customer arrived, there was a practise that the customer would be asked to give some feed to the bird! After that, the bird would hop around and select an envelop for the customer. That envelop contained a document with customer’s future explained! Wow! Perfect natural way of prediction with no bias! Now I am told that bird is replaced by a computer!

Horoscope is another matter. The description of the constellations is based on the Traditional Astrology – the emphasis is put on the natural inclinations, talents, and events that one may encounter in life. Horoscopes are mainly used for matching personalities of the boy and the girl before the marriage. Each horoscope is supposed to have different Gunas, or check boxes. It is said that if 36 Gunas match for both, then the pair is perfect for marriage. If the match is less than 18, then the marriage is not expected to take place. I also understand that the horoscopes can be suitably modified, at a cost! I remember a joke. A pair decides to get married after their parents get the Horoscopes matched. Match is 100% as 36 gunas match. Then next day they go out for a cup of coffee. The girl says to the boy, now that we are getting married based on 100% horoscope matching, tell me how many affairs did you have? The boy is a little shaky but says, “Oh! I had five affairs!” The girl says.”now I believe in horoscope completely! Our 36 gunas had matched! I also had five affairs!” 

Lot of questions come my mind. My personal opinion is that these are not proven practises. These are judgment-based reading of the situation. In case of palmistry looking at hand and face! In case of horoscope, these are based on horoscope created for the person born. In horoscope, study is made with help of checking of Nakshtras or Lunar Constellations and their positions with respect to each other. This is supposed to checked on the basis of exact time of the birth of the child.  That is where questions start popping up in my mind. Currently, 3,500,00 children are born every day. This means 4 per each second. Do all these four have exactly same horoscope? Since horoscopes are being created for a very long time, there could have been issues due to incorrect time measurements. Time measurement correctness must be an issue even today in rural India. If the basic premises are wrong, then will the Horoscopes be correct? The Horoscope also says that an individual can have bad omen or Mangal Dosha, when there is certain astrological combination. 

In Hindu astrology, Mangal Dosha is an astrological combination that occurs if Mars (Mangal) is in the 1st, 2nd (Considered by South Indian Astrologers), 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of the ascendant chart. A person born in the presence of this condition is termed a Manglik. 

It is believed to be unfavorable for marriages, causing discomfort and tension in relationship, leading to severe disharmony among the spouses and eventually to other bigger problems. This is believed to be caused due to the “fiery” nature of the planet Mars, named after the Roman god of war. Also, if two Mangliks marry, the negative effects are believed to cancel each other out. However, Mars is not the only planet in Astrology that is supposed to affect the relationship and these effects should be seen in a broader perspective of overall astrological compatibility. Two bad things negating each other and creating “Good” scenario, is a great way of overcoming constellations! I am told that there is one scenario where the Mangal Dosha in a person can be negated by doing some religious ceremony? How convenient?! 

I remember one scene from a Hindi Movie, Munnabhai, MBBS. During the marriage ceremony of a couple, their  Priest is creating fear in the mind of the family about Mangal Dosha and what can go wrong because of that. The hero of the film asks the Priest, “Do you know what is going happen to you in next one minute?” The Priest says that nothing is going to happen. The hero takes out a gun and puts it to the head of the Priest and says, “I am going to kill you! If you do not know your own destiny how can you tell other people about their life’s destiny based on unproven practices?” Of course, he does not kill Priest! The destiny is the correct word and destiny generally decides what is going to happen in our lives. The beauty of life is that, we do not know our destiny. It helps us remain optimistic all the time. I had a sore throat trouble for a month in 2013 end; till I went to a specific doctor I never imagined that I would be detected with Cancer! Even when I went into his clinic, I thought the doctor will give me some very strong antibiotics or steroids! This is destiny! But I did not go to palmist or a horoscope guy.   

In today’s times there is great scientific advancement, many things are predicted by science. Still a large number of people believe in in unscientific methods of predicting future, deciding marriages, starting new ventures. What is it? Fear of God? Fear of Bad Omen? What is Bad Omen? This term is being used in the foreboding sense, as with word ominous.  

Palmistry is another method of knowing about the nature of a person and foretelling persons future. Let me tell you scientifically the reasons why we have lines on the palm. Scientifically speaking the lines on a palm, or palmar flexion creases, help the hand’s skin to stretch and squeeze. They can also help identify certain medical conditions. The thickness and number of creases on your palms also depend on factors such as family history and race. This indicates that these lines are formed in the natural way. Lesser number of creases may cause difficulty in stretching skin in that area and may cause bunching of skin.  

Using these lines to predict nature and future of the person is difficult to accept. Faith that people have in palmistry is simply amazing. Let me tell about my college friend. He was a very smart guy and suddenly he started claiming that he has been studying palmistry. But he also claimed that he had specialized in palm reading of girls! Let me assure you, he had a good cliental in college and all his friends were extremely jealous of him!  

I simply believe in Him and destiny. I will share a small anecdote which mixes horoscope and destiny, but its fiction. A person goes to see a horoscope guy and asks about his destiny. Horoscope reader tells our friend that he can predict death but does not share this information. He is told, “You are going to die today evening at 6 pm hence I am sharing with you the time.” Now our friend gets upset and decides that he is going to cheat death! He tosses a coin, heads he goes to North and Tails he goes East! Its Tails so he goes 100 km East and checks into a hotel. Orders food, asks for some beer and watches TV. He awaits 6 pm! At 6 pm there is a knock on the door. He opens and sees Yamaraja himself, the God of Death. Our friend says, “Ok, I am ready but I tried to cheat you and it was pure luck of the coin that decided my presence  here today. How did you locate me?” Yamaraja is surprised with the question. He looks at the document in his hand and says, “This document says that you would be in this hotel today at 6 pm. I was not required to look for you. I came here straight!” Destiny? 

I am predicting future! Future tellers will ask you to put your finger on a glass, eyes on lenses; immediately you will get OTP! The teller will tell your Name, Age, Sex, Address, Date of birth! It’s pure science called UIDAI!

Let us all become Bill Gates!

Let Donations be way of life in Golden Period of Life!

BillGates

Bill Gates has done many things in a single life time, what most others will not be able to even think of doing in many lifetimes! The most famous Harvard dropout started Microsoft with Paul Allen and today Microsoft is the world’s biggest pure software company. They are hardly into hardware! While achieving this, his wealth kept on increasing by leaps and bounds. He started donating his wealth, the figure I could locate is US $ 60/ Billions, his total donations till 2016. It is immaterial how much % of his total wealth he is donating! He has not only donated his wealth but is encouraging many super rich people from different countries including India, to donate their wealth. Slowly but steadily the movement is catching up and people are coming up by donating huge amounts of money. But is this the prerogative only the super-rich? I don’t think so.

https://www.gatesfoundation.org/

Link for Gates Foundation

Gates foundation has three main bylines.

  1. Ensure more children and young people Survive And Thrive
  2. Empower the poorest especially women and girls, to transform their lives
  3. Combat Infectious Diseases That particularly affect the poorest

This mainly suggests of empowerment via education and good health of weaker sections. I had similar thoughts in mind but I thought borrowing proven ideas makes more sense. These bylines make so much sense. They talk of practicalities of life! Ensure that more children and young people survive- it means that let’s nurture our future wealth, the children of today! Empower the poorest especially women and girls- it means make the weaker section of the society stronger. Combat infectious diseases which affect mainly poor. If we want to become Bill G we can try something similar!

There are millions of people world over, who have money far in excess of their needs, mind you they are not super rich but are fairly well off. For theoretical calculation, let us take the case of India and China. Consider a figure of US $ 10000/. This is equivalent to Rs.6.6/ lacs. According to me at least 1 million people in India and maybe 2 million people in China can donate this amount easily! So, in US dollar term it is 3 million people can donate US $10000/ each. The collective amount becomes US $ 30/ billion.

Let us consider next group. Reduce one digit from US$10000/ and make it US$ 1000/ which is Rs.66000/ The number 3 million can become 30 million. So, from this group of people, the amount generated can still be 30/ Billion! Are we not in the direction of becoming Bill G?

If people decide to donate the sums I have indicated, we create one more Bill G!

Folks, I have just shown you some calculations which are hypothetical but these are not an impossibility! This is only tip of the iceberg! Our world needs many Bill G’s; I am a firm believer of theory, that when less and less people are jobless, and in good health, this world will become a better place. But unease, shear pain of looking for your next meal, and many frustrations due to poor health leads to many bad things that happen around us! So instead of happy world, situation is sad. Consider an Utopian scenario where everybody gets a job, their daily two meals and are able to send their kids to school. This is what we should aim for.

What can donations do? It is not about collection of donations and putting them in a bank account or a black box. We must look at the broader picture. What have the Bill G’s of this world done? First step was to think about giving away the wealth. Second, they decided what to do with that money. Then plans, organizations, budgets were prepared. Gates foundation came into being. They decided how to go about all this; the bylines mentioned above tell us the direction that they have taken.

How to put my hypothesis mentioned above, in practice? In our case,

  1. Firstly, we will have to decide to become Bill G
  2. We should also want to make some of our friends Bill G! This process has to run like a chain reaction

I am sure something big can happen. In Bill Gates’ case, the money was already there; in our case also money is there. But it is in different locations under control of different people. This really is the problem,

Consider a case of an individual. The person is at stage zero and is not aware how much spare money is available! The quantum of money available for donations is going to be dependent on how the person analyzes the finances.

I honestly feel that we can start this thought process around the age of 40! We will have to make some assumptions here. Firstly, we can assume that we are going to be on the “Tera Firma” till the age of 80. Does 80 sounds like a good figure? We can honestly do a lot in 40 years. We can start with small amounts of money at the younger age. When we retire and are in golden period, we should become more serious about donations. My take is that people keep on doing charity but it is not commensurate with the funds they have. Why this is not done, is because we do not do the realistic calculations. Another thing is there is no well spread culture of donations in our society.

In golden period, money is needed

  • to live,
  • to have fun and holidays,
  • contingencies,
  • medical emergencies
  • and to pass on to the next generation.

If we are lucky and pragmatic, we can make changes in the phase “pass on to the next generation.” Do we really want to do this? Do they really need this? Are they struggling in life? If the answer is NO to all these questions. Calculate how much money you need to live, to have fun and holidays, contingencies, medical emergencies. As we grow older, only medical expenses can start going up; expenses under other three points, slowly will start coming down. The money that we have in golden phase is from Income from our capital or war chaste, and in some cases pension. I feel that we are afraid to touch our capital! Super rich have so much capital that they do not have worry about such aspects. But we the middle class and slightly rich also have more capital than we need. On top of this, we have money invested in homes. Emotional value and “passing on to next to the generation” are main reasons we hold on to them. Why not sale them over a period and start living in rented homes? Some people think that reverse mortgaging could be a better but it is individual choice!

Passing on money and homes to the next generation is a good idea but passing on to them the culture of donating is even a better idea! In our country and I think in Maharashtra, the state where I live, the donation culture has been present only in rich people. But we have forgotten that during last 20 years we have done better than we have ever done, and there is money available for donations.

Coming together and forming and organization like foundations, can be tough and we may be skeptical about it. I suggest following routes.

First and foremost, do not be  cynics; systems do work in India many times.  In Pune Adar Poonawalla foundation has already taken up 40 kms of public  road cleaning under them by donating Rs.100/ crores! .

  1. Sponsor children’s education – there are institutes like Karve Institute
  2. Improve schools-  Give them modern education tools and for god’s sake repaint some of them, especially vernacular schools! Children from low income families go there! You give I pads to your kids, to play, anyway!  Two ipads equivalent is the cost of one school room modernization.
  3. I am told that we can donate to build public toilets, there are organizations who will maintain these at a cost for you. Do it!
  4. We can do these things individually.

There can be many ways of doing this without getting bogged down by systems. I am thinking very strongly of formally starting this movement and hope you folks join this. Mind you, money need not be collected, it can be given directly to institutions.

I read a beautiful thought about relationships. Consider relationship between a Kite and thread that flies it. This becomes a beautiful site to behold, when they come together with kites soaring on top of this world! Consider that we are able to bring together, weaker and poor section of the society (for me it is the kite) and the hidden wealth with us (like a Thread) . How this kite will soar in future? Let’s start doing it. I want as many comments from you as you can, and then let us hit road! Come on you Bill G’S!

Adar Poonawalla

Poonawalla

Data, the New Oil!

Walk through of benefits of big authenticated data!

In one of my blogs, I had used a statement by Mukesh Ambani, “Data is New Oil” My friend Ajit suggested that I elaborate on the statement. So here we go!

We have been using oil and Petroleum products, extensively during last century! Initially, the approach taken by westerners was flamboyant! They went to the desert land of Arabs and extracted oil at a decent profit. In early 70’s in the last century, Arabs realized that they were sitting on a goldmine and rest as they say is history! From desert kingdoms, where the countries were mainly run by expats, these countries have become rich countries and are sitting on a mountain of money! This was all due to correct commercial exploitation of Oil as a resource and later squeezing non-oil producing countries!

Current century is the century of data as we have already started observing. A lot many things happen digitally and there is tremendous amount of data that is getting generated and obviously being stored somewhere! The country, the businesses which will harness the power of data, already available, will become leaders in their own field. How to exploit this data? For doing any digital transaction, authentication is mandatory. We started with passwords, spoken word and so on for authentication. Indian government had a foresight to start creating a database of people in India and issuing digital identity to people called Aadhar. Aadhar has Unique identification which is biometric. This is THE ultimate method of authentication. Aadhar UID is the largest such data of population with authenticated identities in the world.

Due to this authentication method, many things can be done digitally. First and foremost, what Aadhar has achieved is to bring large number of poor people in India into formal system; this allowed these people to open zero balance bank accounts, to start with. Large number of populace has been outside the formal system all along, because of non-inclusion! Non-inclusion was because these people did not have any formal identity! The inclusion will increase GDP as transactions made by these people will get added in the formal system. The same poor people, get subsidies from the government. There has been extremely high leakage of subsidy as this money did not reach the right people. In the system when black money gets generated, it goes out of circulation and formal economy gets affected. With Aadhar, subsidies go directly to people’s bank accounts.

These are some of the effects of large amount of authenticated data being available. There are more advantages of authenticated data. During GST returns filing, it is mandatory to share that month’s sales figures with authorities. Now government will link this data from GST returns to Income Tax returns filed. Naturally, the values must match. If they don’t, the tax evaders can be easily trapped. This change will happen because of linked data. According to some estimates India’s GDP is much higher than what is seen on paper; this is because cash or black money transactions remain outside the formal system. Black money is the money on which income tax is not paid. When all transactions happening in India become above board, real GDP figures will be known. Data is the way for that! GST data will be huge data but putting it to proper use is going to be the key to success. Initially people required PAN cards for some financial transactions but there was no real authentication done while issuing them. With the result that people had several PAN cards making it easy to cheat. With Aadhar linking of PAN cards, each person can have only one PAN card. Power of authenticated data!

What is being linked to Aadhar? Bank accounts & FD’s, LIC and other policies, Mutual fund investments, Cell phones and many more things. These instruments are used by all people irrespective of their status whether they have black money or tax paid money. Authorities can link all this data from huge data bank and link it with Income Tax data base. I need not elaborate what will happen as the result of this linking.

Ambani’s cell phone company Jio has sizable data of their subscribers. Subscribers are registered using Aadhar card. Jio has plans to compete with Amazons of the world with a different business model. It is said that not even 10% of population buy their stuff on the net! Jio will provide discount coupons to the subscribers for local shops, within their cities and preferably in the vicinity. These subscribers will go to the shops using their cell phones & linked coupons will buy things they want and pay the vendor. These vendors will be local grocers, fruit wallas and will compete with Amazons through Jio. The vendors phones and customers phones are linked via Aadhar to handle the payment part.

Another business process that is being tested in China which can be adopted with or without modification in India. Someone wants to buy stuff from a vending machine. After items are selected, the person gives iris scan. This scan is linked to Aadhar card to Credit Cards (if they survive technology onslaught) or bank account. Payment is done using iris scan. Can it get easier? Just imagine that your Iris scan is going to be your credit/debit card, online banking and wallet all rolled in one!

Already there are apps like True Caller! If you have True Caller installed on you cell, any unidentified call received is checked by the app on huge data, thereby displaying you the name of the person calling you!

Another large data that is captured these days is the data from cars. Cars these days have a lot of censors to track and send the data to servers. Such sensors are now functional on normal cars like VW Golf also! High end cars are even more data hogging. What do we do with this data? I will give a couple of examples. Vehicles performance like engine performance, oil levels are captured. In case of some issues in the car, diagnostics is done quickly as data is always available. In VW Golf, if you get flat tyre, and someone else is using your car; your registered cell phone will receive a text message “Your front right side tyre shows reduced air pressure”! There are lot of such messages received when something goes wrong with the car. Driverless cars and EV’s are next in line. They will all capture very large data from all cars. How this data will help? Diagnostics, design improvement, performance fine tuning. Important thing is nobody must go and capture data!

I feel that, in India, data is going to help reduce corruption and black money due to Aadhar linkage. Data has already brought large number poor people in the formal financial system. Data will give true picture to the planners of the nations. All this will allow the nation and thereby people to prosper. The correctly authenticating data is the way to go forward. Looks like iris scan is the proverbial golden wand to do it!  On the technical side data will allow new business processes to evolve; some of which don’t even exist today. Speed of doing research and analysis will become fast. New products, new methods, new medicines will get evolved much faster. All the speed and accuracy due to authentic data will be a real boon to human race!

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