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!

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Supreme Rubble!

My take on Supreme Court situation!

Last two days saw tremendous churning in India’s democracy. We are proud to be the largest democratic nation in the world. India is also described as a functioning anarchy. Our friends from different countries are simply amazed to see how our country works both in good and bad way. In am sure, that some of them will be worried that if India were to become a more disciplined country with disciplined people, we will overtake most of the other countries in everything as we have large population which is hoping to get more educated. We are doing it anyway in our current chaotic status. Judges did not need to add to it!

Before writing anything further I am sharing with you the Oath taken by judges during swearing in and the Procedure to Impeach Supreme Court Judges. All rights are with the Collegium. This is important because then we will understand that this institution of judges is independent of the Executive functions i.e. the Government.

OATH TAKEN BY JUDGES

will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgement perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws.

IMPEACHMENT PROCESS FOR JUDGES

As Per Article 124(4) of the constitution, President can remove a judge on proved misbehaviour or incapacity when Parliament approves with a majority of the total membership of each house in favour of impeachment and not less than two thirds of the members of each house present. For initiating impeachment proceedings against a judge, at least 50 members of Rajya Sabha or 100 members of Lok Sabha shall issue the notice as per judges (inquiry) act,1968. Then a judicial committee would be formed to frame charges against the judge, to conduct the fair trail and to submit its report to Parliament. When the judicial committee report finds the judge guilty of misbehaviour or incapacity, further impeachment proceedings would be taken up by the Parliament if the Judge is not resigning himself.

The Supreme Court of India is totally independent of the executive and can take up certain cases under its aegis Suo Moto (on their own). This is a great counter balance to governments which many times behave in a manner which are guided by personal thoughts or political thoughts. The improvement of the people and state of the nation are their objectives but governments tend to slip! Classic example is emergency declared by Indira Gandhi’s government in 1976. Government had taken away Habeas Corpus.

Habeas corpus (/ˈheɪbiəsˈkɔːrpəs/; Medieval Latin meaning literally “You may have the body”) is a recourse in law whereby a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court, usually through a prison official.

Supreme Courts are expected to act against such events. Discussion about emergency will be another matter, hence I am sticking to the current events. When such an august body like Supreme Court is in upheaval, nation is bound to sit up and notice. We cannot go against this act to any court. Everybody has to say things very cautiously, so that basic laws are not broken. There is no authority in our country which can resolve this issue; it needs to be resolved by itself. It’s like asking cancer cells to cure the disease.

I was trying to understand the situation with my limited knowledge on the subject. But I find the following.

  1. I felt that there is some conflict of interest
  2. I am surprised that out of 25 judges, four senior most judges have rebelled, if I may use the word. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sitting_judges_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_India
  3. Out of four three may never get the opportunity to become Numero Uno as their retirement dates are before or very similar to that of current Chief Justice.
  4. It is already a known fact that even President of India has no say in this matter.
  5. It is expected that the judges do not take press conferences, have direct connect with people; you and me can be friends with anybody and everybody, but judges can’t do that!
  6. This unprecedented act was according most analysts, uncalled for because the solution for this issue has be found from within, there are no other options. When a reporter asked one of the judges if you are looking to impeach chief justice, he said that it is for public to decide! How does public decide, when this out of gambit of everybody else including government?
  7. There is a story today, that government is now trying to change the method of selection of judges. Currently judges select judges. Why open a gate for outside interference?

What did these four judges achieve with this act that created a situation where the rubble is created out a strong judicial building? What made these wise old men to act this way? I am not sure if the story will ever come out. What are the results of this act? Rumour mongering has started. People have already started making this a political issue. An item on the net says, that these four judges are congress supporters; since CJI allowed 1984 cases of Sikh killings to open up these four revolted. He is supposedly pushing faster resolution of cases against Lalu. Come on, suddenly honest judges don’t become partial. In fact, in last few years many politicians have gone to jail, and many were released due to lack of evidence! This clearly indicates that things are hale and hearty in the judicial system.

By this press conference, they have opened a Can of worms, but Can is with them and with no one else. They themselves have to put the worms back. Media will have a great material to improve their TRP. There will be media circus going on for some time! So, my usual question is Why? Why and Why? Honestly, I have no answer and I hope that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible but I know that it will an outwardly resolution and not a real solution.

The main contention of these wise men was that institutional traditions were broken. These traditions have started more than 100 years, do they not need change? Currently government is repealing laws that exist in our constitution that have absolutely no relevance in today’s time. About 20 years back, they found out in district of Solapur, a report was being generated and obviously filed. I will tell you why. This report was giving a list of somethings done during the month and was needed to be sent to, of all the people “Queen of England”! This was in year 1995. Can you believe it? This was stopped right away. We have switched from messengers, to postal letters, couriers, to e mail, to SMS, to WhatsApp messages. Government departments have also started legally accepting the new methods of communication. Convicts have been taken to courts for cases going against them. Now the courts have allowed Video Conferencing for this, in cases against certain dangerous criminals? Traditions? Does this Video questioning become wrong? Illegal?

This whole circus has become  like a case where your parents openly have big shouting match in public. Only they can resolve it then why had it in public. I just remembered my blog who will guard the guards? Tell me your opinion on this matter.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes-who-will-guard-the-guards/

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

 

 

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes- Who will Guard the Guards!

Give chance to goodness within you!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes is a Latin saying which means who will guard the guards!  This is so true in today’s times! In Marathi there is a saying शेळीने कुंपण खाल्ले ! If your own sheep eats the bushes on the compound, there is nothing you can do about it! We see so many examples of this type of acts and behavior in our society that when I read the Latin saying, I became very agitated. I always avoid writing about things involving politics as there are too many experts in this field. My anguish would  not let me sleep well! This blog is my anguish about the people who care two hoots for the nation.  

During the British Raj in India, British had built a monument about 25 kms from Pune, the so called Vijay Stambh (Victory  Monument)! It was to celebrate their victory against Peshwas about 200 years back. Peshwas were like Prime Ministers or Chief Executives of the then Kings. When you have foreign rule for a long time, it is inevitable that some people will work for rulers as officers, clerks, soldiers and in many other professions. It has mainly to do with their earning of livelihood and not about their allegiance with the ruler! The British army had soldiers from the so called lower caste to fight for the them. Peshwas also had soldiers from that same caste plus they also had soldiers from upper caste; Peshwas themselves were from the Top Echelons of the Society.  

On the new year eve this year the lower caste people for some reason decided to celebrate the 200 years of  “the victory”. Why they invited “firebrand” politicians from different states in India, only they will be able to explain. This event was converted into political jamboree and was publicized as “Celebration of Lower Caste  Victory over Upper Caste”. Firstly people forget that it was the British victory and not the “Lower Caste Victory”. I am sure that without British Generals, there would have been no victory to celebrate! With current state of terrorism and economic uncertainty world over, we don’t need such stupid events. But our own people are creating an uncertain and dangerous atmosphere in the nation. This event led to riots and protests all over the state of Maharashtra; the state was held to ransom for a few days!  

I remember a caricature where the common man in India tells a group of terrorists to go on a holiday, he says we have enough amongst us who will take the nation down! For this event, we had one lady whose only qualification was that her son had committed suicide while completing his PhD! Reason, some social issues and probably poverty! She has now become a leader! Another was young PhD student from JNU whose main qualification is that he fearlessly shouted anti India slogans and was big supporter of a terrorist who was hanged for the act of terror against the state of India. One more guy got recently elected to Gujarat assembly and has vocabulary to incite the crowd! These are called firebrand leaders these days! I thought Bhagat singh and Rajguru were firebrand leaders! And so was Lokmanya Tilak. They were fighting against the enemy and not against own people. Current fire brand leaders are fighting in the same spirit against the nation; they feel that only they and their ilk are the ones who have difficulties in life!  

This is a cancer that is spreading fast in our nation and needs to be arrested. I don’t care if such guys are from lower, middle or upper caste! Cancer is cancer and needs to “arrested” and cut off as per needs of the situation. After all what is cancer? These are same “good” cells in our body which have “cancerous” thoughts, like the latest Fire Brand leaders. Those of us, who have similar thought process, for the uplift our nation, should come together and act! It does not mean that we have riots and hold people to ransom. We should talk openly with each other, about such “cancerous” thought process. Those who can, should write in newspapers or blogs or where ever they can write! Another thought that always comes to mind is that, people have time on hand to take part in such acts! We should come together as people and try and create more work for everybody. When one is gainfully busy, one does not get time to take part in such events. 

As usual, I am taking help of a Hindi Movie song to take my thoughts forward. I have displayed partial lyrics from a song, below. Hindi movie songs is another subject which calls for discussion, but let’s do it some other time. 

Also, my apologies as I am not a linguist. I have tried my best to explain the gist of the meaning from the lyrics.  

chingaaree koee bhadake,
to saawan use buzaaye
saawan jo agan lagaaye,
use kaun buzaaye? 

This means that if there is fire created because of sparks, rains will douse it! But if the rains stoke the fires then who will douse them!
 

koee dushman thhens lagaaye,
to meet jiyaa bahalaaye
manameet jo ghaanw lagaaye,
use kaun mitaye? 

We may stumble because of an enemy, then there are your own near and dear ones who will help you overcome the trauma! But if your near and dear ones back stab you who will help you overcome it? 

mazadhaar mein naiyyaa dole,
to maanzee paar lagaaye
maanzee jo naaw dooboye use kaun bachaaye? 

Your boat may sway and tumble in a storm but there is the boatman who will bring it under control! But if the boatman himself sinks the boat who will save you? .

Any thought process that goes against the nation is an absolute no! I hope all of us will give an opportunity to goodness which is there within each of us, a chance to overcome incorrect thoughts and acts!  

I am ending with a great thought I found on the net. 

One of Socrates’ interlocutors in the Republic, Glaucon, says “it would be absurd that a guardian should need a guard.” But Socrates returns to this point at 590d, where he says that the best person “has a divine ruler within himself,” and that “it is better for everyone to be ruled by divine reason, preferably within himself and his own.” 

To come back to a better mood listen this great Kishor Kumar song. It’s a sad but lovely song from where I have picked lyrics! Chingari Koi Bhadke! From Movie “Amar Prem”

 

Jinx !

What is your destiny? Are you jinxed?

A couple of days back a new Metro line was inaugurated in Delhi’s NCR area. The occasion was graced by India’s Prime Minister, Chief Minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh and Governor of Uttar Pradesh. The line starts from NOIDA in UP and terminates within Delhi limits. The news item also said that this is the first time in more than 20 years, Chief Minister of UP has visited NOIDA. NOIDA is city of about one million population and no CM would go there, because those CM’s who visited NOIDA, lost their Chief Minister ship, immediately after the visit. So, the story spread that such visits are jinxed. In such a large city in the state, the Chief Ministers did not visit a major city due to “jinx”! This is simply unbelievable!  

On one side we are talking of Metros, Super Computers and on the other side we are talking of jinxes! Black cat crossing the path, evil eye causing havoc in lives! We are more scared of jinxes than of illnesses! Is it a way of finding someone or something to blame? In our universe there is some power which controls everything. Nobody knows anything about the power but we try to “control” it by taking action or performing some rituals. When something unpleasant happens, we call it a jinx. But when unexpected good event happens, we are not worried, we feel this happened because of my hard work. Problem is that we do not take life in stride, always try to look for easy solutions to anything unpleasant. It can be a ritual, it can be blaming the jinx.  

When we are true to ourselves, we know that chilly/lemon combination does not make the “evil” go away. Tying a black doll on the main door of our home does not force the evil to go away. The problem starts with the definition of evil. What is evil? Definition of evil is anything that happens out of turn in life, anything bad happens in life is evil. But what is bad? Is death of a parent bad? Yes of course, it is. But if the death happens at the age of say 80 plus, is it not a normal life event? Should this be treated as evil?  I don’t think so. In certain areas in Britain, death happening after the age of 80, without any serious health complications, is celebrated. There is party organized by the family which is called Golden Death Party! It is to celebrate good life lived by that person. In our culture also, after any death, lunch is arranged on a specific day, e.g. 13th day, and some sweets are served. The logic behind this is that we should bring the life back to normal routine, after the death!  

LimbuMirchi

In life when things happen out of turn, death of a young person in the family, sudden loss in business, a divorce in the family, sudden loss of an opportunity for higher studies, such things do happen. When such events occur, we feel that life has cheated us! To make sure that such events do not recur, we start following certain rituals. But does it really help? Sometimes events occur which are natural calamities, sometime due to market forces in the world; illnesses occur out of blue. By performing rituals, are you so sure that they are not going to recur? Events occur due to the reason that they are destined to happen in one’s life! We know of people who have never taken any alcohol, dying of liver cirrhosis. We know of non-smokers dying of throat or lung cancers. We have seen extremely fit athletes dying of heart failure on the field itself! This is destiny!  

The other day, I read an article about what people have done at Mandhara Devi, a famous deity near Satara, in Maharashtra. When it becomes dark people are sticking chits on trees, cursing whoever they want in writing and hoping that they will die in accident, or their houses will burn and so on! This is the reverse of the ritual. People feel that if they wish bad things for people in the mandir, their foes will really face problems! They forget that so called bad things happen as they are defined in one’s destiny and not by someone wishing bad things.  

One thing is for sure. Jinx and allied rituals are there in all cultures, world over. Human race cannot accept things happening out of turn; one interesting thing about rituals is black colour is used predominantly in rituals world over. Black Cats are supposedly bad omen but black Kohl dot on the forehead of babies is supposed to drive away the evil! 

 

In India, we see many Trucks with the famous writing on their back sides  बुरे नजरवाले तेरा मुह काला to drive away the evil! But that does not prevent some stray truck from ramming on the back side of the same truck! Let’s take things in stride and drive away bad stuff; it does not happen by way performing rituals.

BuriNazar

Notabhai! નોટભાઈ તમે કોણ છો?

How far NOTA will help?

નોટભાઈ તમે કોણ છો? This is written in the language Gujarati! In English, it means Notabhai who are you? I have chosen this title as  recent elections in Gujarat brought out this issue forward! Bhai in Gujarati is Brother! I do not write about political stuff as I do not understand many things from that arena. But this is about a procedure in our elections and its significance. What is NOTA? The Supreme Court, in September last year, upheld the right of voters to reject all candidates contesting the elections, saying it would go a long way in cleansing the political system of the country. The apex court directed the Election Commission to have an option of ‘None of The Above’ (NOTA) on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers in a major electoral reform.

Nota

This NOTA facility was available even before Electronic NOTA option. But in that case an individual was required to meet the polling officer, make entry in a register, fill up a form saying that you want to select option “None of the above”! Why people want the NOTA option? This indicates, that the voter finds none of the candidates are worth his vote.

In the recent Gujarat election, it was observed that besides three political parties NOTA option was fourth in the list based on the number of votes captured. That is not a small number, in fact it is a sizable number. In % it was about 2% total valid votes! What is the meaning of this option?

The NOTA option on EVMs has no electoral value. Even if the maximum number of votes cast is for NOTA, the candidate getting the most of the remaining votes would be declared winner. But then why have NOTA when it has no electoral value? The SC said, negative voting would even encourage people who are not satisfied with any of the candidates to turn up to express their opinion and reject all contestants.

It further said that negative voting will lead to a systemic change in polls and political parties will be forced to project clean candidates. If the right to vote is a statutory right, then the right to reject a candidate is a fundamental right of speech and expression under the Constitution.

This momentous decision will go a long way for any democracy! There is no doubt that India is the largest running and thriving democracy. We have been stealing thunder under all the advanced countries in the world, the way we conduct the elections in India. For the most technically advanced country USA, there have been nightmares about voting, counting and in its systems. It seems Florida specializes in them. There have been fiascos in 2000, 2006 and 2012! In one election Supreme court had to intervene and order the recounting to be stopped. Somebody had jokingly said, “Checkup if the counters can count between 0 to 100!” Or was it a serious statement?

You may find this article interesting.

http://www.madrasnow.com/2012/11/us-elections-why-fiasco-in-florida-vote.html

florida_votes_2012

Politics all over the world has been dirty line of work; you are always under scrutiny. But still the politicians have the penchant for foot in the mouth disease! From bribery, secret funds or not so secret love lives, these guys are capable of doing everything! The other day I read during the discussion on “Me Too!” campaign about sexual harassment, a comment was made that in USA if you are lucky to survive sex scandals, you are likely to become the President of USA.

The population world over is fed up of type of people who take part in politics. When all candidates in a constituency “qualify” now we have an option of NOTA! This is a sign of maturing population who may lodge protest by selecting to press NOTA option. Though NOTA vote has no value, it may so happen that without NOTA, candidate A could have won instead of B! Hopefully this will have effect on political parties. They may think twice before forcing certain candidates on populace. Ultimately trying to remain on the winning side is the name of the game! Remaining in opposition, keeps these folks in wilderness of the power game, with “huge loss in income”!

Are the people really serious about offering to serve the nation? Are they so much driven that they are very keen to uplift the society? In India at least, such statements will be a big joke. The dynastic approach in politics indicates otherwise and politicians are here just to loot the system. At least most of them are. If you read about the wealth amassed by such people in a short duration, it is simply shocking. When Income Tax department takes action, there is a hue & cry about political vendetta!

Will NOTA improve the system? It is a positive step in the right direction. There has been discussion of banning candidates depending on punishments meted out to candidates by court of law. But the law itself is such a maze, that we have known of candidates who fought elections from jail! What if one has made an appeal against the punishment? What if one has completed its jail terms? There are always good and bad sides in any democracy. Mind you the other option of dictatorship is simply not on. So, let us hope that we vote in an election in such a way using NOTA, that so called popular candidates are beaten by not so famous candidates!

I will share one small anecdote. Times of India’s correspondent Chidanand Rajghatta from Washington D C, was invited to speak about Indian Election system. Audience was amazed when he shared the details. He was asked, “What can America do to improve its systems?” He smiled and said, ” Please sub contract your elections to India?”