Friday, July 26, 2013

work/karma analysis - IN PRAISE OF IDLENESS - An essay by BERTRAND RUSSELL

In Praise of Idleness –Bertrand Russell
“I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.” – Bertrand Russell in the first paragraph of his essay ‘In praise of Idleness’ written in 1931 after the First World war, but before the Second World War. Thus  the timing of this essay is very important. If European nations had heeded to Russel’s wisdom the Great World War II could have been avoided. (For the full essay

Russell reiterates, “I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.”
The GITA vis-a-vis Russell’s opinion/conviction  about work, born out of  experience.
Russells essay resonates with the Sloka 2:42-43 of the Bhagavat Gita. Gandhiji’s explanation of these verses is as follows :- “Ignorant people, that is, persons who are learned  and yet devoid of knowledge, utter flowery speech, that is,  speech which is attractive, on which blossom new flowers everyday. Men who wrangle over the meaning of the Vedas; men filled with endless desires ( men who have many wishes  and teach others  to be like them); men who are ever thinking of heaven  (who are merely for enjoyments , who always talk of enjoying even this world thoroughly  and paint glowing and attractive pictures of life in heaven) and who assert that there is nothing beyond heaven; who always say that our actions in life unfailingly bear appropriate fruits and persuade people to perform innumerable rituals to secure enjoyments  and win greatness (there are people who say these things even today);who advise us  to propitiate a great many gods and so make us feel helpless; who induce  us to offer  fanciful prayers  to imaginary gods and turn us away from prayer to the God of all gods-such men push us deeper and deeper into quagmire. The fancies and thoughts  which often trouble our minds are also evidence of  an intellect branching out in many directions. Even in small matters, we can say, our intellect is not resolute. It will be resolute only if we fix our minds on one purpose and cling to it with discrimination, only if we work without looking for immediate results.  At present, whether in politics or social reform we leap from one branch to another.”

The words used in sloka 2:43(Mal. (a)കാമാത്മാനഃ  സ്വര്‍ഗപരാ  ജന്മകര്‍മഫലപ്രദാം,Sanskrit.(a) कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम्, (b)ക്രിയാവിശേഷബഹുലാം േഭാഗൈഗശ്വരൃയഗതിം പ്രതി,(b) क्रियाविशेषबहुलां  भोगैश्वर्यगतिं  प्रति ) is very telling .The first part (a) says that those filled with desire, to enjoy pleasures, such as those available in heaven, are bound to the cycle of birth and death(suffering) , due to their deeds(works). It is cautioning to desist from replicating or even attempting to replicate ‘heaven on earth’ in the materialistic sense. The second part (b) says that such persons desirous of enjoying ‘heavenly pleasures’ , will be constantly engaged in endless work/karma, and they may even succeed in creating resplendent wealth. But  since these resplendent wealth leading to heavenly pleasures are materialistic, it is fleeting/ephemeral,  resulting in sorrow.(Europe is a concrete example) Moreover such endless karma, will lead to a fragmented intellect and also contributing to an increase in the rajasic nature (रजोगुण) of the person.The end result of all these is suffering in this world.

In the post-modern context the second part of the sloka क्रियाविशेषबहुलां, is staring out at us. The multiplicity of human activity, bordering on lunacy, has tipped the climatic system of the world. All over the globe we are witnessing , extreme climactic phenomenon. And these appears not as isolated events, but is happening with regularity !!!!

Rapid industrialisation, denoting ‘karma-bhranth’, or maddening work  and the sudden apparent prosperity it entailed led to the two world-wars. Now these explict methods and forms of violence have taken an invisible body. It is now the era of trade-wars, aids and sanctions. Is it not any coincidence that the Gita was expounded  in the middle of Mahabharatha war. War denotes extreme karma, in terms of its violent and macbre form, as also the raising the resources to fight the battles. These resources require an army of people and continuous and extreme efforts.In fact the whole people of an entire nation will have to contribute(do karma/work) for the war efforts. And history shows that such works binds the people and its nation, to further violence. If one refers the book ‘The Economic consequences of peace’ written by John Maynard Keynes, after WWI, this idea will become clearer.

 We cannot go with Russell, the whole way in his understanding of work. Compared to the Gita , his definition of work, is limited only to the physical movements. Russell defines work as follows “First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given.”

Then he goes on to define politics in terms of the work already defined “Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising”
As per the Gita, work/karma involves or is done with mind, sound(vak) & body.


From: Radhakrishnan.M.S <>
To: 'Parmeshwar Rao' <>
Sent: Saturday, 20 July 2013 3:09 PM
Subject: 'HARD-WORK' INCONGRUOUS IN THE INDIAN CONTEXT !!???? Remember it is a 'Protestant' Value !!!

Dear Sir,
Thanks  for the feed-back. I had read the report, pointed out by you in The Times of India. But how to impress on our kinsmen, the futility of American ways !!!

I wish to bring to your attention a particular sloka in the Gita, which was made popular (very popular, so that its first part is immediately recognized on hearing, and vocalized by all who had seen the serial) by the TV serial ‘Mahabharat’.

This sloka is Gita , Chapter 2:47 “karmanye-va-adhikarasthe-ma-phaleshu-kadhachana; ma-karma-phala-hethur-bhur ma-thai-sango-asthwa-karmani.”
The English translation based on Sri Sankaracharya’s work, by Dr.A.G.Krishna Warrier, and published by Sri Ramkrishna Math, Madras-600004 is as follows : “To work alone have you the right and never to the fruits (of works). Don’t be impelled by the fruits of works; (at the same time) don’t be tempted  to withdraw from works.”

This sloka illustrates the ‘predicament’ with respect to karma/work/action/movement. And it is a FOUR IN ONE sloka dealing with
1.       Right to work/karma –( All has this right granted by the Absolute by way of the creative karma)
2.       No claim/ownership to the fruits/effects of karma- (Those who claim ownership will be mired in sorrow)
3.       Should never be the cause for the fruits/effects of karma –(Since effects are inevitable, it is to be minimized and since fruits/effects itself are caused by karma, the ultimate aim is work-lessness)
4.       Inspite of 2 & 3, not to stay away from karma.(Karma and its fruits are inevitable and will bind one leading to  sorrow.  And karma one is forced to do(therefore the inevitability) and is NECESSARY  to get away from karma (sorrow).)

Sankaracharya’s interpretation (given in the book, based on his interpretative verses in Sanskrit) is given here. “You have right only to perform work and not to undertake the discipline of knowledge. While doing works, do not think you have the right to claim their fruits.  Never, in any state of life whatsoever, should you crave for the fruits of your works- this is the idea. When you crave for the fruits of your works, you make yourselves liable to reap those fruits; (but) you should never be the cause of such fruit-gathering, for when one works, impelled by the carving for fruits, one has to reap the fruits of such works, namely, birth in the world. “If the fruits of works are not to be desired, why should painful works be undertaken at all ?” This thought should not tempt you, Arjuna, to withdraw from all works, either.”

Some observations.
First of all this is quite unlike the modern concept of work and reaping the benefits. For eg, one invests to get return on investment (ROI).
(a)Kindly consider the Sanskrit word “adhikari’. The meaning here is ‘one who has right’. This Sanskrit word can also yield other meanings like ‘authorized’, ie one  authorized to do work . Or ‘eligible’ – one eligible to do work. Or ‘qualification’ –one qualified to work. In the practical world one is eligible for a job, if he has the right characteristics and suitable qualifications. Here ALL are eligible/qualified/ authorized/have the right  for Karma/Work.(And the karmas are differentiated according to the ‘nature’ (swabhava) of the individual). How and why? Is this ‘right’ properly utilized by each individual.? For that ‘right knowledge ‘ is a must. That was why study of Vedas and ‘Sravana-manana-Nidhidyasam were shown to be the way. All these three including manana are karmas. This may be another reason why Arjuna is not supposed to eschew karma.  
How all have become qualified for work.? Because of embodiment .  Why all (embodied beings) are qualified for work ? Because embodiment itself is the result/product of karma/movement/spandan/vibration/action of/in the presence of  the Absolute. One can stop this movement and come out of this loop, by having the right knowledge leading to right action, essential for release from work.(Right TO WORK is a concept as old or older than the Himalayas)
Now who has authorized or given the right to do karma ? – The Absolute through the creative process.This right cannot be taken away by anyone, and this right can be utilized to get release from work/karma.

(b) All are eligible/qualified/authorized/have the right  for Karma/Work. Should one exercise this right? For what purpose? When one is given the right to work, he may or MAY NOT do work. Does such a choice exist here? Though the choice exists, in the embodied state  one cannot remain without doing karma. And karma/action/work necessarily produces some effects, called ‘karma-phala’, fruits of action, which may be a material or the cause for another karma. But “Ma-phaleshu-kadhachana’ –means you have no rights/claims to the fruits of your action/work/karma/movement. One is not authorized, not eligible, not qualified, not having rights  for the fruits /effects of the action.(This can also mean the ‘fruit/result’ is determined by the Absolute). In the modern context, if one invests and this investment results in profits/loss he has no claims(or responsibility) over(towards) it. If this comes to effect, we will be saved from lot of troubles.

(c ) ‘Ma-karma-phala-hetur-bhu” – Caution is given that one should not be ‘the reason’(hetu) for the fruits/effects of actions. Why.? Is it because the Gita says in 18:48, that all karmas are having ‘doshas’ (problems)?. Ie  the effect/fruit  of any karma is negative , with problems. The 18:48, sloka further states that, though all karmas are having doshas, do not give up (one has to perform) the karma determined by  one’s nature. (swabhava).This is a Catch-22 situation. If you act, you will be damned. If you do NOT act, the result will again be damnation. Work here is having NO VALUE at all, unless otherwise accompanied/motivated by the ‘right’ knowledge. So   ‘hard-work’ as understood and exhorted in the modern age is incongruous in the Indian context. Today’s work culture is ‘karma-bhranth’ ie maddening work or mad about work or workaholism. In India, work was supposed to be done ‘slowly’ in a ‘steady’ manner, as if doing ‘worship’ (pooja)to GOD. (Work is Worship) This mode necessarily improved/increased concentration as virtue, as  well as concentration in work, resulting in quality work/products. Productivity /profitability, ie more output within stipulated time or less time, -it seems were considered at all !!!!(NOT CONSIDERED). But efficiency in work is seen, measured in terms of  frugal/minimal consumption of resources and moreover wastage also were minimal. Since work was mostly manual, there was  provision for wearing-off karma-vasanas.
(d) ‘Ma-thai- Sangos-thwa-akarmani’ –If karmas necessarily bring doshas, why do karma at all? Thinking like this, one MUST NOT stay away from karma/work. This last part  is in tune with second part of  sloka 18:48. Because of one’s gunas, one is forced or has the tendency to do karma. The Gita does not recommend suppression of such tendencies forcibly. The tendencies are allowed to manifest fully and the manifested karma is channeled in suitable ways(with the help of right knowledge) depending on the individual, the final aim being ‘naish-karmyam’.

Ancient vis-à-vis Modern approach to WORK/ACTION/KARMA
 The ancients knew that , all embodied beings is forced to do work and any WORK/KARMA is necessarily accompanied with, its undesirable by-product/waste which is the effect of the karma. (Moderns misunderstood their reluctance to do work, as originating from laziness) Karma starts from the all pervading Brahman (the universe comes into being because of ‘karma’)  and each movement dis-orients us, keeping us away from the actual reality and thereby plunging us into sorrow. Each one of us is caught in this net of karmas, and freedom can be obtained by understanding the process and slipping away from it, by conscious efforts. (Nivrithi). This freedom means unconditional happiness. As one is having the right to work, one also has right to this unconditional happiness. Here work/karma is the main, and the fruit/result/effect is the subsidiary.

The MODERNS (within the last 500 yrs) have reversed this ‘value’. They consider the subsidiary of the ancients ie fruits/by-product/waste as the “Main”  and the  main (ie work/calibrated action of the ancients) as ‘subsidiary’. Moderns are unable to understand that work is to rub-off or wear-off work, and has to be done intelligently to achieve this result. (Yoga karmasu-kaushalam,Gita 2:50)  Instead they understand that fruits/effect of work is the raison-de-etre of work.

Thus we are  getting buried under mountainous piles of garbage (even so called knowledge produced in the name of scientific research is garbage. Garbage in-Garbage out). Literally and physically. Without any happiness.


N.B (1)– Karma yoga (Karma Theory) is not any utopian theory. It had been practised in India for ages, successfully. Collectively, we failed to understand its merits.


Another letter to our Prof., with whom we are in touch

Some more points I wish to bring to your consideration

(a)Recently in a TV programme  about  Gandhi-darshan in DD4 (Mal), a senior person was talking about spinning on the charkha. He said that if the concentration (eka-gratha) is lost, the thread will immediately break. Infact the Gita speaks of ekagratha,which is one of the steps in purification of the mind, to remove raga as well as dwesha, ie likes and dislikes to still the mind. (Same as the def of Yoga in Yoga Sutra of Patanjali- ‘Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha’) . Therefore spinning on the charkha, which is a non-sophisticated machine as per ‘moderns’ , will help to develop ekagra-chittam, in the user or practitioner. Thus working with this simple machine serves two immediate purposes, helping to maintain equipoise of mind and body of the user, with thread as a by-product used for making clothes. We can safely assume that more the ekagratha finer will be the thread. Indian silk robes could be passed through a finger-ring. This has been reported in history.

(b) Each ‘vyakthi’ (individual, -Vyaktham from avyaktham, a technical term used in the Gita), can be considered to be  a machine (yanthram-this word also used in Gita, 18:61). And each individual is having ‘karma-vasanas’,and gunas which has to be necessarily be ridden to attain unconditional happiness, which is the right as well as freedom/liberty of each individual. This vasanas and gunas are worn –off  by imbibing knowledge of absolute reality and doing karma in a deliberate and conscious way. That is the human-machine has to do karma ,to wear-off karma. The tools or instruments or machines must necessarily be under his control, and he must have control over them than the other way round. It is only his (man’s) will (derived from Iswar) that must animate the machine.

Suppose the man(or company) has invested heavily in a assembly plant (similar to the Maruthi assembly line), then he has no control over his work/karma/movement, but  the assembly line or the machine controls him. (He is not even at ease to go to the toilet). Even if the company wants to close the unit, it cannot do so due to investments made, so-called social responsibility etc. So here we see karma taking hold of men, and men unable to exit from the same. Most modern predicaments fall into this category. Therefore is not machinery evil ?

(c )Now such huge investments on plant and machinery, takes up the labour of many others, and how are these ‘jobless’ to wear off their karma ?Ain’t unconditional  bliss denied to them ?eg  Many Factories, airport , housing colonies and roads have taken up huge swathes of land in Gurgaon, Delhi displacing farmers (and allied labour) from their occupation. How are these farmers to wear off their karma.? Are we not facing social consequences because of this?

(d) The Gita  in 3:16, informs us about ‘chakram’ ie wheel or cycle, which in that context given in two previous slokas  ie  3:14 & 15, is about the constant cycling of materials, without accumulation or aggrandizement  at any point.  Imagine this wheel or cycle, to be a perfectly or smoothly inflated cycle tube. If the tube is weak in any particular area, a bulge will appear, where the volume of air in that particular arc segment has increased. This accumulation of air is actually a ‘diseased’ condition of the cycle tube. After a short period of time, the tube will burst at that point, ensuing total failure/loss. Another example connected to the human body is that of the accumulation of fat in the arteries (veins?) at a particular point, affecting pumping of blood and developing a diseased condition.

Similar is the case of accumulation of capital, and its investment in expensive plant and machinery. All these leads to aggrandizement  of a  minority section in society. Thus society becomes ‘diseased’. (An ongoing example is the case of increased gas prices only benefitting Reliance and the Ambanis, at the cost of millions in India)

Sir I will later quote from European sources, how some prominent men in Europe thought about work and its effects. And what they recommended.

Overall work is not having any intrinsic value, as per Indian world-view. This is my contention.

I end with a quote from John Ruskin, who had influenced Gandhiji. “Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality……but beautiful art can only be produced by people who have beautiful things about them, and leisure to look at them” . I am reminded of “Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram”.  


I was having further thoughts about machines.

The Gita talks about Swadharma. Even if one’s swadharma is having negative consequences/effects, it is better to perform the same,(karma as per own dharma), rather than another’s dharma. The karma based on one’s nature (Swabhava), must be performed in such a  conscious way not yearning for the fruits, and thinking that “I am not the doer/or agent, but an instrument of God and without  likes or dislikes” .Gita 18:47

Human body as machine vis-a vis  another man-made machine.
Two possibilities may be considered. (a) The machine as an extension of the human-body, enhancing the ‘karmendriyas’ of the body. (b) The machine as separate from the body.
In the case of (a), if the machine is capital intensive, them it will have to work/be worked continuously  to have return on investments. Thus one is caught in the web of karma.
In the case of (b), since one’s karma is transferred to the machine, own karma-vasana’s will NOT wear-out.
In either case it is detrimental to oneself, and by extension  to the society.

Looking forward to your valuable feed-back,

Radhakrishnan M.S


This is a letter written to our Prof, who had been leading the MBA Dept. in a Reputed Univ. in India during our studies there :

Dear Sir,
I had been thinking about work/management, and  the Indian perspective about the same.

Seems like work was viewed negatively by all cultures. The people in all cultures were resistant to change. Change represents new movement/action/work.(Karma also includes thinking). They felt that each small change to their life-style, is moving farther away from the ideal. The advent of Christianity and the Industrial revolution changed all that. Now in the modern age work is given a higher value which it does not actually deserve. This observation in relation to modern context, is  based on empirical negative evidence, like climate change and wars, the result of human activity/karma. (The latest eg  is the ‘man-made’ Uttarakhand disaster.) Work is considered virtuous now, which by all accounts is a false value.

The ancient Indians were the ONLY people , who had the COMPLETE knowledge or who tried to understand work COMPLETELY. This understanding of work , by our ancestors , could be garnered from the Gita.

Indians knew that work is not having any intrinsic value. As per our rishis, Work is in the realm of inert matter. And in contrast to Consciousness or Chaitanya, from which the Universe appears, matter which is inert  cannot give one happiness, which is considered emanating from that consciousness. (In fact consciousness(bodham) is happiness).The cause is not fully present in the effect(all matter) because of Maya. (MAYA is a  very important in our explanation of ‘names & forms’ that we see around us) Therefore matter is not having the intrinsic happiness/bliss of the cause and  is only an appearance and is caused by karma. The aim of  Indian civilization was to enable all to realize the reality behind the appearance and thus be happy/blissful permanently. This state corresponds to Naishkarmayam  = No karma !

Indians also were aware that it is impossible for a embodied life to remain without action/karma/work/movement. Karma  is done by body, mind and sound.(vak). The embodied life form is forced to do karma. Whereas karma-lessness  (One should not mistake this state as corresponding to lifelessness/death) is the only state whereas one enjoys unconditional  and constant happiness. Conditional happiness through any material means is temporary/fleeting and always followed by its opposite.

Thus the search for permanent peace and happiness, ended in accepting the inevitability of work and performing work to ‘rub-off’ work, the ultimate aim being worklessness. While doing work, as per one’s innate nature, a mental stillness is aimed at, without any likes or dislikes in the action. Though compelled to do work because of the innate nature of oneself, the motions has to be gone through with detachment. No likes or dislikes, and no anxiety for the result, at the same time doing the actions in the most sincere way considering it as worship of the supreme principle. While doing work, one should consider himself as just an instrument contributing for a greater cause, and the action performed  should be  selfish,-only to the extent of sustaining the instrument. (body). The other greater part of work is for the whole, considered as God.(Ishwar). One should not do action, motivated by fruits , that action may bring forth.

Considering the whole picture, work is not having any intrinsic value in Indian culture. Work/karma and its management for profit, is not the ‘be-all’, expected to be ‘by-all’, and had never been part of our national life.

Indian attitude towards work as not having any intrinsic value, eased the pressure on work performance, which freed the mind of the artisan and handicraftsmen helping them to bring forth great products in art and other utilities.(with meager resources like capital, plant and machinery) .Likewise farmers and husbandmen were  able to contribute significantly feeding the entire population. Work for them was worship, to wear away the karma-vasanas, conforming with the ultimate aim of life, ie. moksha. This was  quite unlike the modern/Western attitude towards work and profits.


Thursday, July 4, 2013


The emerging debt trap - The Hindu

I am not any financial wizard nor having any Ph.d in International Finance !!!
But after reading the news report in the Hindu on 29th June “India has to repay $172 billion debt by March 2014” followed by its editorial report on July 3 “The emerging debt trap”, I think we need to ask ourselves some relevant questions. The first question that came to my mind is whether the newspaper through its editorial staff is trying to influence the readers and public on the desirability and absolute necessity of FDI, at the behest of the management, bureaucrats and political bosses. There is a convergence of interests of all the above classes  and shared with Indian corporates and MNC’s. Let us consider the report to be depicting the actual facts & figures regarding debt, and let us further analyze certain factual statements in this report

The EVIL Design of the DEVELOPED Countries –Falling Rupee !!!

(a) “First, the reason India has accumulated such a huge short term debt stock is that “cheap money at virtually zero interest rate” was supplied in abundance by western central banks, especially the U.S. Federal Reserve, post 2008.”
(b) “Of course, the developed world followed an easy liquidity policy to save their own economies, threatened by the worst recession since the Great Depression.”
(c) “But many emerging market economies ended up walking into what can only be described as a “cheap money trap.”

“Cheap money at virtually zero interest rate” means  just PRINT CURRENCY and use it  for giving CREDIT. (a) and (b) points to this action of Western Central Banks and the US Federal Reserve. The editorial itself is of the view that it is a ‘trap’ ie ‘cheap money trap’. Which means the Western nations including the US is trapping the ‘ordinary citizens’ of countries like India, which is making their daily life difficult . One of the effects is that on a daily basis we are  forced to deal with uncertain prices of essential commodities !!!

It looks like there are many grey areas in International Finance. If money is lent at zero interest rate, what is the advantage to the lending nations?. Is it similar to recent newspaper advertisement ,announcing Samsung Galaxy range of products at zero-interest EMI.? By taking such credit, was Indian Govt forced to by their produces, maybe not essential to the country and without merit?. It is reported that the bulk of this cheap credit were gobbled up by Indian corporates. ? Is this the reason why Reliance is hell bent on getting a price increase for gas ? To service/pay back such debts? If corporates had taken this debt, are all transactions perfect and transparent, not causing any kind of harm to the Indian public.? These kind of financial transactions between nations, smacks of the drug peddler selling drugs at a cheap rate, to have more users and suddenly increasing the prices, to make a killing. Another example worth mentioning was the behavior of Reliance telecom in the initial phases of the mobile phone usage in India.

It is a puzzle, why our seasoned politicians backed by experienced bureaucrats and knowledgeable ‘academicians’ should  willingly walk into such a ‘death-trap’ spread out by the ‘civilized’ Western Democracies, taking along with them the people of India , pushing the multitudes into  miserable conditions.  Is it because, ultimately the ordinary people only suffer, the elite class of people  having stashed away in advance their stuff for a rainy day ?. It is also likely that the class of people mentioned beforehand are corrupted and poisoned by Western influence in ALL ways !!!! (In the West itself, many ordinary citizens are depending on soup kitchens and charity)

There remains a GREATER PUZZLE.  How American economy alone is improving, when almost all nations in the world are struggling with unemployment and negative  or standstill or marginal growth? A report from the US is as follows :- “The Fed is considering scaling back the bond-buying program because of its increasingly up-beat view of the economy. In its statement, the Fed said the downside risk to the jobs market had "diminished." “ Is this the reality and truth in US, for the ordinary citizen there ? (Ref : )

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Every moment of our national life, we are witness to murder of Gandhian values and thoughts in broad daylight. Here is another one !!!

"What we have tested and found true on the anvil of experience, we dare not change. Many thrust their advice upon India, and she remains steady. This is her beauty:  it is the sheet-anchor of our hope" -Gandhiji , Chapter XIII, What is True Civilization ?

Mr.Murthy talks about corruption !!!. It is mainly the MNC's, and those following their style who are at the apex of corruption. Corrupting the politicians and govt.machinery  for selling their wares like weapons, nuclear power plants etc. Or to buy Indian resources at a cheap rate.

Mr. Murthy's customer list is likely to include such corrupting corporations. Beacuse of them Mr.Murthy has money. Therefore the poor Indian Citizens has to listen to him.

The context for the above observation is Mr Murthy's speech "LEARNING FROM THE WEST" . The West is just a 'nine days wonder; as per Gandhiji, and judging the current reports from Europe, THE WEST is down and will be out maybe in 'another 'nine' days'

"Address by N.R. Narayana Murthy on Conferment of Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for Public Administration and Management Sciences"

It is a pleasure to be here at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management. Lal Bahadur Shastri was a man of strong values and he epitomized simple living. He was a freedom fighter and innovative administrator who contributed to nation building in full measure. It is indeed a matter of pride for me to be chosen for the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for Public Administration and Management Sciences. I thank the jury for this honor.

When I got the invitation to speak here, I decided to speak on an important topic on which I have pondered for years - the role of Western values in contemporary Indian society. Coming from a company that is built on strong values, the topic is close to my heart. Moreover, an organization is representative of society, and some of the lessons that I have learnt are applicable in the national context. In fact, values drive progress and define quality of life in society.

The word community joins two Latin words com ("together" or "with") and unus ("one"). A community, then, is both one and many. It is a unified multitude and not a mere group of people. As it is said in the Vedas: Man can live individually, but can survive only collectively. Hence, the challenge is to form a progressive community by balancing the interests of the individual and that of the society. To meet this, we need to develop a value system where people accept modest sacrifices for the common good.

What is a value system? It is the protocol for behavior that enhances the trust, confidence and commitment of members of the community. It goes beyond the domain of legality - it is about decent and desirable behavior. Further, it includes putting the community interests ahead of your own. Thus, our collective survival and progress is predicated on sound values.

There are two pillars of the cultural value system - loyalty to family and loyalty to community. One should not be in isolation to the other, because, successful societies are those which combine both harmoniously. It is in this context that I will discuss the role of Western values in contemporary Indian society.

Some of you here might say that most of what I am going to discuss are actually Indian values in old ages, and not Western values. I live in the present, not in the bygone era. Therefore, I have seen these values practiced primarily in the West and not in India. Hence, the title of the topic.

I am happy as long as we practice these values - whether we call it Western or old Indian values. As an Indian, I am proud to be part of a culture, which has deep-rooted family values. We have tremendous loyalty to the family. For instance, parents make enormous sacrifices for their children. They support them until they can stand on their own feet. On the other side, children consider it their duty to take care of aged parents.

We believe: Mathru devo bhava - mother is God, and pithru devo bhava - father is God. Further, brothers and sisters sacrifice for each other. In fact, the eldest brother or sister is respected by all the other siblings. As for marriage, it is held to be a sacred union - husband and wife are bonded, most often, for life. In joint families, the entire family works towards the welfare of the family. There is so much love and affection in our family life.

This is the essence of Indian values and one of our key strengths. Our families act as a critical support mechanism for us. In fact, the credit to the success of Infosys goes, as much to the founders as to their families, for supporting them through the tough times. Unfortunately, our attitude towards family life is not reflected in our attitude towards community behavior. From littering the streets to corruption to breaking of contractual obligations, we are apathetic to the common good. In the West - the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand - individuals understand that they have to be responsible towards their community.

The primary difference between the West and us is that, there, people have a much better societal orientation. They care more for the society than we do. Further, they generally sacrifice more for the society than us. Quality of life is enhanced because of this. This is where we need to learn from the West.

I will talk about some of the lessons that we, Indians, can learn from the West.
In the West, there is respect for the public good. For instance, parks free of litter, clean streets, public toilets free of graffiti - all these are instances of care for the public good. On the contrary, in India, we keep our houses clean and water our gardens everyday - but, when we go to a park, we do not think twice before littering the place.

Corruption, as we see in India, is another example of putting the interest of oneself, and at best that of one's family, above that of the society. Society is relatively corruption free in the West. For instance, it is very difficult to bribe a police officer into avoiding a speeding ticket.

This is because of the individual's responsible behavior towards the community as a whole On the contrary, in India, corruption, tax evasion, cheating and bribery have eaten into our vitals. For instance, contractors bribe officials, and construct low-quality roads and bridges. The result is that society loses in the form of substandard defence equipment and infrastructure, and low-quality recruitment, just to name a few impediments. Unfortunately, this behavior is condoned by almost everyone.

Apathy in solving community matters has held us back from making progress, which is otherwise within our reach. We see serious problems around us but do not try to solve them. We behave as if the problems do not exist or is somebody else's. On the other hand, in the West, people solve societal problems proactively. There are several examples of our apathetic attitude. For instance, all of us are aware of the problem of drought in India.

More than 40 years ago, Dr. K. L. Rao - an irrigation expert, suggested creation of a water grid connecting all the rivers in North and South India, to solve this problem. Unfortunately, nothing has been done about this. The story of power shortage in Bangalore is another instance. In 1983, it was decided to build a thermal power plant to meet Bangalore's power requirements. Unfortunately, we have still not started it. Further, the Milan subway in Bombay is in a deplorable state for the last 40 years, and no action has been taken.

To quote another example, considering the constant travel required in the software industry; five years ago, I had suggested a 240-page passport. This would eliminate frequent visits to the passport office. In fact, we are ready to pay for it. However, I am yet to hear from the Ministry of External Affairs on this.

We, Indians, would do well to remember Thomas Hunter's words: Idleness travels very slowly, and poverty soon overtakes it. What could be the reason for all this? We were ruled by foreigners for over thousand years. Thus, we have always believed that public issues belonged to some foreign ruler and that we have no role in solving them.

Moreover, we have lost the will to proactively solve our own problems. Thus, we have got used to just executing someone else's orders. Borrowing Aristotle's words: We are what we repeatedly do. Thus, having done this over the years, the decision-makers in our society are not trained for solving problems. Our decision-makers look to somebody else to take decisions. Unfortunately, there is nobody to look up to, and this is the tragedy.

Our intellectual arrogance has also not helped our society. I have traveled extensively, and in my experience, have not come across another society where people are as contemptuous of better societies as we are, with as little progress as we have achieved. Remember that arrogance breeds hypocrisy. No other society gloats so much about the past as we do, with as little current accomplishment.

Friends, this is not a new phenomenon, but at least a thousand years old. For instance, Al Barouni, the famous Arabic logician and traveler of the 10th century, who spent about 30 years in India from 997 AD to around 1027 AD, referred to this trait of Indians. According to him, during his visit, most Indian pundits considered it below their dignity even to hold arguments with him. In fact, on a few occasions when a pundit was willing to listen to him, and found his arguments to be very sound, he invariably asked Barouni: which Indian pundit taught these smart things!

The most important attribute of a progressive society is respect for others who have accomplished more than they themselves have, and learn from them. Contrary to this, our leaders make us believe that other societies do not know anything! At the same time, everyday, in the newspapers, you will find numerous claims from our leaders that ours is the greatest nation. These people would do well to remember Thomas Carlyle's words: The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.

If we have to progress, we have to change this attitude, listen to people who have performed better than us, learn from them and perform better than them. Infosys is a good example of such an attitude. We continue to rationalize our failures. No other society has mastered this part as well as we have. Obviously, this is an excuse to justify our incompetence, corruption, and apathy. This attitude has to change. As Sir Josiah Stamp has said: It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.

Another interesting attribute, which we Indians can learn from the West, is their accountability. Irrespective of your position, in the West, you are held accountable for what you do. However, in India, the more 'important' you are, the less answerable you are. For instance, a senior politician once declared that he 'forgot' to file his tax returns for 10 consecutive years - and he got away with it. To quote another instance, there are over 100 loss making public sector units (central) in India. Nevertheless, I have not seen action taken for bad performance against top managers in these organizations.

Dignity of labor is an integral part of the Western value system. In the West, each person is proud about his or her labor that raises honest sweat. On the other hand, in India, we tend to overlook the significance of those who are not in professional jobs. We have a mind set that reveres only supposedly intellectual work.

For instance, I have seen many engineers, fresh from college, who only want to do cutting-edge work and not work that is of relevance to business and the country. However, be it an organization or society, there are different people performing different roles. For success, all these people are required to discharge their duties. This includes everyone from the CEO to the person who serves tea - every role is important. Hence, we need a mind set that reveres everyone who puts in honest work.

Indians become intimate even without being friendly. They ask favors of strangers without any hesitation. For instance, the other day, while I was traveling from Bangalore to Mantralaya, I met a fellow traveler on the train. Hardly 5 minutes into the conversation, he requested me to speak to his MD about removing him from the bottom 10% list in his company, earmarked for disciplinary action. I was reminded of what Rudyard Kipling once said: A westerner can be friendly without being intimate while an easterner tends to be intimate without being friendly.

Yet another lesson to be learnt from the West, is about their professionalism in dealings. The common good being more important than personal equations, people do not let personal relations interfere with their professional dealings. For instance, they don't hesitate to chastise a colleague, even if he is a personal friend, for incompetent work.

In India, I have seen that we tend to view even work interactions from a personal perspective. Further, we are the most 'thin-skinned' society in the world - we see insults where none is meant. This may be because we were not free for most of the last thousand years. Further, we seem to extend this lack of professionalism to our sense of punctuality. We do not seem to respect the other person's time.

The Indian Standard Time somehow seems to be always running late. Moreover, deadlines are typically not met. How many public projects are completed on time? The disheartening aspect is that we have accepted this as the norm rather than the exception. In the West, they show professionalism by embracing meritocracy. Meritocracy by definition means that we cannot let personal prejudices affect our evaluation of an individual's performance. As we increasingly start to benchmark ourselves with global standards, we have to embrace meritocracy.

In the West, right from a very young age, parents teach their children to be independent in thinking. Thus, they grow up to be strong, confident individuals. In India, we still suffer from feudal thinking. I have seen people, who are otherwise bright, refusing to show independence and preferring to be told what to do by their boss. We need to overcome this attitude if we have to succeed globally.
The Western value system teaches respect to contractual obligation. In the West, contractual obligations are seldom dishonored. This is important - enforceability of legal rights and contracts is the most important factor in the enhancement of credibility of our people and nation.

In India, we consider our marriage vows as sacred. We are willing to sacrifice in order to respect our marriage vows. However, we do not extend this to the public domain. For instance, India had an unfavorable contract with Enron. Instead of punishing the people responsible for negotiating this, we reneged on the contract - this was much before we came to know about the illegal activities at Enron.

To quote another instance, I had given recommendations to several students for the national scholarship for higher studies in US universities. Most of them did not return to India even though contractually they were obliged to spend five years after their degree in India.

In fact, according to a professor at a reputed US university, the maximum default rate for student loans is among Indians - all of these students pass out in flying colors and land lucrative jobs, yet they refuse to pay back their loans. Thus, their action has made it difficult for the students after them, from India, to obtain loans. We have to change this attitude.

Further, we Indians do not display intellectual honesty. For example, our political leaders use mobile phones to tell journalists on the other side that they do not believe in technology! If we want our youngsters to progress, such hypocrisy must be stopped. We are all aware of our rights as citizens. Nevertheless, we often fail to acknowledge the duty that accompanies every right. To borrow Dwight Eisenhower's words: People that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. Our duty is towards the community as a whole, as much as it is towards our families.

We have to remember that fundamental social problems grow out of a lack of commitment to the common good. To quote Henry Beecher: Culture is that which helps us to work for the betterment of all. Hence, friends, I do believe that we can make our society even better by assimilating these Western values into our own culture - we will be stronger for it.

Most of our behavior comes from greed, lack of self-confidence, lack of confidence in the nation, and lack of respect for the society. To borrow Gandhi's words: There is enough in this world for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed. Let us work towards a society where we would do unto others what we would have others do unto us. Let us all be responsible citizens who make our country a great place to live. In the words of Churchill: Responsibility is the price of greatness. We have to extend our family values beyond the boundaries of our home.

Finally, let us work towards maximum welfare of the maximum people - Samasta janaanaam sukhino bhavantu. Thus, let us - people of this generation, conduct ourselves as great citizens rather than just good people so that we can serve as good examples for our younger generation.

Monday, July 1, 2013


The NEW Temples of Modern India, had played their part in the Uttarakhand disaster.Now consider this report from Narmada Valley .(kindly follow the link)

"Eighty nine percent of former landowners are now landless labourers.”
“Now we neither have land nor money. We will topple this government if this continues.”

"The five dams have directly affected around five lakh people in at least 12 Assembly constituencies."

ADIVASI DALIT adversely affected by this Modern Temple. (Modernity Not Caste the oppressor here)
"Madhuri Krishnaswamy of the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan which took part in the agitation told this paper earlier, “MNREGS wages there are as low as Rs. 27 per day. The July 15 deadline is an arm-twisting tactic which we oppose.” The satyagraha in Bhopal ends on Tuesday. On the same day, the Narmada Control Authority in Indore is expected to clear raising of the water level of Gujarat’s Sardar Sarovar Dam from 122 to 138 metres."

"Uttarkhand-type disaster !!!"
Activist Medha Patkar has warned of an Uttarkhand-type disaster during the monsoons if this is done.

'FATHER OF GREEN REVOLUTION IN INDIA' - Will this honor or title, forever retain its honorific or exalted status !!???

Vi-Karma - Can we expect anything other than VI-KARMA ,from men, including 'our' FATHER OF GREEN REVOLUTION , whose attitudes and work shaped by 'MODERN' 'SCIENTIFIC' 'EDUCATION '!!! ????

"“This is like mortgaging farming to MNCs,” said Yudhvir Singh of the Bhartiya Kisan Union. “Has the father of the Green Revolution in India lost faith in established agricultural research and is now promoting genetically engineered crops?” he asked, referring to Professor Swaminathan.

Green Revolution is now considered as a failure, with deleterious consequences for humans. !!

OPPRESSORS OF DALITS !!!- Modern Economic Policies and Resource Hungry Corporates, NOT The CASTE SYSTEM

At least in this case ,(kindly follow the link below) 'modern knowledge' and its application (in all spheres) are the tormentors of the weaker sections of society. The hunger of MNC's for profits and resources,and the means adopted to quench it, with tacit approval of the governments, will make life miserable for ordinary citizens.(all over the globe). This will continue unabated unless the theory & application of  'modern knowledge base' is exposed, and shown to be bereft  of human values.

"The team quoted a Dalit woman as saying, “This is our only land, even though we have no land rights. If you take away our land we will die. You should tell the government: ‘Don’t take away our land. You are trying to frighten us with bullets and guns. We have already taken a lot of bullets like [the incident] at Balitutha Bridge. I was hit and people had to pick me up and bring me back. When the police started firing we couldn’t find any way to escape. We had to jump into the water and even then they kept on firing.”