Saturday, April 12, 2014


From two sources, I came to know that WIPRO who is a software major conducts tests/examinations/ employee skill & knowledge evaluation tests periodically. Those who fail to appear these tests or
fail in these, more than two times are shown the door . -Given the 'pink slip'.  You can imagine the level of employee stress due to insecurity in keeping the job, in that soulless corporation WIPRO !!!! You can also imagine the politics, back biting/stabbing in such an environment.

Of course the company will claim that this is company policy, and purely its internal matter , designed to constantly improve employee  knowledge and competency. They will say this is required for 'competing' in the global market,which is essential for the company to survive. Do Indians need such 'international work culture' if it corrodes mind and body, induces great stress  and creates dependency on ANTI-DEPRESSANTS, the consumption of which is increasing at a fast rate across India ? Can you ever be peaceful with regard to  your near and dear ones -father, mother, son , daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt etc- if they work for stress inducing companies like WIPRO. There is a possibility that they will become a mental wreck in such job environments.

This kind of work-culture and job-environment is not limited only to IT companies like WIPRO. In all other sectors this hire & fire culture has spread, which is quite alien to native Indian work-culture. The stress factor is geometrically proportional to the salary drawn.

A sober account of the negative experience of a ex-Wipro employee can be had at the following link More accounts of ex-employees could be obtained by systematic searching of the web.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Yesterday I had visited one of my friends in a premier hospital in TN(India). He is in the hospital bed for a minor surgery. While I was with him, one hospital staff, donning the role of patient care/relation-ship officer had come to inquire about the general comfort of the patient and the attention received from the medical staff. He had a friendly demeanor and seemed much suitable for the job. While trying to be overtly friendly to our friend, he dropped hints about his other responsibilities. That included ordering the pharmacy drugs for the hospital.

A fact he revealed surprised me !!! That the quantity of ANTI-DEPRESSANT DRUGS bought for the hospital exceeded those other drugs needed for the treatment of diabetes. He confided that even doctors are stressed out, one reason being their attempts(studies) to keep abreast of the latest developments in their respective fields , necessitating recourse to such drugs. In this context it is to be
understood that the (working) knowledge in the medical field and in all other modern work-situations, is like shifting-sand, which adds to the stress levels. You could be sacked or sidelined at the work-place, if it gets around that you are stale !!!!

I had read elsewhere a fact regarding Europe that if one were to do a laboratory analysis of the liquid (water ?) flowing in its underground city sewers , you will find concentration of anti-depressant drugs discarded by the human-body as waste. Now we are on the threshold of such a 'revolution in healing and health-care'. Why such treatments are necessary now ? Why the mental health of our society is deteriorating !!??The patient care officer is of the opinion that most cases he knows related to prescription of anti-depressant drugs is due to psychological stress developed at the work-place !!!!

Western approach to ACTION (KARMA) , WORK , life and living is disease prone . In all ways !!!!! And we are imitating and striving to be 'in the image' of Western societies !!!!

I am not sure whether the reason for my friend's surgery is connected to his occupation,-he is the senior vice-president in the Indian arm of a US company, but his immediate bosses are you know who..............

Monday, April 7, 2014


Modern politics and governance played out in TN and other states in India, is a sad commentary, compared to how it were exercised in the past. How many modern Tamils/Indians are really aware of their hoary past !!?? Why such great knowledge from our past, has almost faded from our collective consciousness , is clouded out of our narratives and recollections, and its space taken up by trivia relating to cinema, dirty politics , cricket , fashion and even gadgets !!??? Our  attention is diverted to such non-consequential matters, our watchfulness is gone and we are slipping into a dysfunctional society.

We can understand about grass-roots democracy in Tamil Villages as per the inscriptions found at Manur in Tirunelveli  and Utiramerur.  The candidates opting for official positions in village councils of yore  must necessarily have knowledge about Mantra Brahmana and at least one Dharma. For full article read  the Hindu , Sunday magazine, page 2, dtd 06/04/2014.    Virtuous  living, good conduct and honest earnings  were adhered to by the elected representatives. They had to submit their personal accounts along with village accounts. Account  discrepancies meant swift justice – auctioning  personal assets to repay interest and principal. Contrast these ‘real men/women’ from our past with the modern leaders in TN/India. When a leaders name is mentioned, what comes to our mind is a scam associated with him/her like 2G, shipping, disproportionate assets, coal etc. Shouldn’t we explore the possibilities of exorcising these kinds of individuals  from our public sphere and  means  for reclaiming our past !!???

Pan-India, the  broad frame-work for administration and governance were based on Dharmashastras and treatises like Artha-shastra by Kautilya. Both are now easily available in print. In Artha-shastra published by Penguin Books ( Part III (i) in page 142)  details the training given to a FUTURE KING (Prince ) in which SELF-DISCIPLINE  in the king’s public and private conduct is stressed upon. Part III(ii) in page 144 is fully about SELF-CONTROL. The King’s study material consisted of the Vedas and its branches, economics, epics  etc. The syllabi were not subject to any University syndicate, politically tainted, and were  fully independent of any authority with vested interests and at the same time drawn from our civilizational past. Such system is capable of  producing  exemplary leaders, consistently.

Writing on the wall

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  • Utiramerur inscriptions.Photo:
    Utiramerur inscriptions.Photo:
  • Political inscriptions at Vaikunda Perumal
    Political inscriptions at Vaikunda Perumal

Temple walls reveal how electionsin medievalTamil Nadu were democratic. PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY

From living rooms to boardrooms, morning walks to late night parties, there is one favourite topic to talk about: elections! Some say that both elections and democracy were a gift to India from the British. Is that true?

A study of inscriptions on temple walls reveals that ancient Indians were familiar with the electoral process. Primitive transport and communication facilities and a king always on the move meant that the villages were largely independent of the capital.Local villages were expected to maintain good governance and ensure that taxes were paid on time to the king and he was spared adjudicating local disputes.

Villages functioned with five-member committees called Variyams. Their duties included checking the gold deposited in the treasury, keeping the water bodies and orchards in good repair, collecting taxes, and checking the payment of tolls. Membership to these committees was by election. Two important records tell us how the elections were conducted. If we applied those standards today, it is clear that no candidate would qualify.

Manur in Tirunelveli district is hard to spot on the map. In 898 ACE, the village met to revise the qualifications of candidates who could stand for elections. The candidates had to be conversant withMantra Brahmana and at least one dharma . They had to be seen as having good conduct by the community. Unlike today when people can contest from states where they may have no local stakes, in Manur to stand for election, one had to own property. Just inheriting it or receiving it as dowry wasn’t enough. Those committee members who constantly disrupted proceedings were fined five gold coins. Imagine how much that would have netted in this session of the Lok Sabha!

Minimum qualifications of property, education (not self-proclaimed but tested by a group of scholars through an oral exam) and good conduct ensured that the candidates had a greater stake in the community and required less monitoring.

The other inscription is dated 920 ACE and is from Utiramerur. The Cholas, unlike the Pandyas of Manur, had taken federal systems and village assemblies to increased levels of sophistication. Here, qualifications included age limit (35 to 75), compulsory ownership of land and house, and knowledge ofMantra Brahmana texts. The last was judged by how well they taught others. Knowledge of business, virtuous living, good conduct, honest earnings and not having served in committees in the last three years were also important requirements. Twelve types of relatives of existing committee members were barred from applying.

Utiramerur’s voting system saw names of the candidates being written on a palm leaf and dropped into a pot. The oldest temple priest held the pot high to show it had not been tampered with. A young boy who did not know the context was asked to take out one leaf and give it to the arbitrator. The person whose name was on the leaf was chosen as a ward head if he fulfilled the rules. Thirty such representatives were elected and from these0 30, committee members were drawn with complex rules that also entailed submission of personal and village accounts. Account discrepancies meant swift justice — auctioning personal assets to repay interest and principal. The inscription ends with the phrase: “These rules shall govern us for as long as the sun and moon rule the skies.”

The sun and moon still rule the skies and the inscriptions still stand but have been forgotten by a country where power, money and connections have replaced the qualifications. Not all committees were dominated by Brahmins. Trade groups like weavers and oil mongers found a place as did women, the most powerful being devar adiyar or women associated with the temple who were wealthy landowners.
Today we may have made immense progress in many fields but when it comes to democracy India could do well by resetting the clock.

Pradeep Chakravarthy is a historian and

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Pragmatist , opportunist, ambitious these are the qualities that comes to mind , when one reads the op-ed article about Ambedkar in the Hindu today (02/04/2014). At one point in time he advocated that the Constitution (document) of India,- the formulation of which he took the lead role,- should be burned.(this is one idea to be considered !!!) As per the facts given in the article, he was a vacillatory personality. (To save time one may read the last section 'Which Ambedkar ? ")
Considering all that matters about his personality, wonder how (many/how could) Indians in general accept him as a national leader with desirable leadership qualities ??. Is it because we are practicing re-conciliatory politics, thereby compromising as well as sacrificing essential values, specifically in the public sphere !? In the process we let go off high ideals and embrace lower ones, thereby reducing our standards and also are saddled with coalition govts, who pull in different directions.. The numerous statues of him erected at various cross-roads are a eyesore, considering who he really was based on his thoughts and actions. (Strictly not according to his birth). Arun Shourie had written a book titled "Worshiping false Gods" in which the dilly-dallying of Ambedkar and his siding with British interests is vividly portrayed. In spite of available and open historical facts, Ambedkar is projected as a great leader and is foisted on the people of India, by highly vested interests !!!!!
Excerpts from the op-ed "Or the Ambedkar who was the architect of the Constitution and advised Dalits to adopt only constitutional methods for a resolution of their problems or the one who disowned it in the harshest possible terms and spoke of being the first person to burn it down?"

An Ambedkar for our times

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In an interview published in Outlook (March 10, 2014), Arundhati Roy says, “We need Ambedkar — now, urgently” — it was in connection with the publication of a new annotated edition of Ambedkar’s text, The Annihilation of Caste , brought out by Navayana, a New Delhi-based publishing house. Ms. Roy wrote a 164-page essay titled “The Doctor and the Saint” as an introduction to the book, which has now become 415 pages thick, expanding the core text of just about 100 pages.

Behind the controversy
Her introduction has already created an unseemly controversy in Dalit circles, reminiscent of the debate in the 1970s in the wake of incipient Dalit literature, about who could produce Dalit literature. The protagonists of Dalits insisted that one had to be born a Dalit to do that. The controversy now reflects a similar identitarian obsession that one had to produce a caste certificate (Scheduled Caste) to introduce either Ambedkar or his text. It is intriguing however why such a controversy has cropped up only in the case of Ms. Roy especially when scores of non-Dalits have written on Ambedkar and his writings earlier. Is it because of her celebrity status or of her infamy as a Maoist sympathiser as perceived by middle class Dalits? The latter is more probable. For them, anything even remotely connected with communism is enough to evoke despisal and disapproval.

Whatever be the motivation behind this uproar, it is surely unwarranted. Ignoring the outpouring of nasty “one-liners” in social media, the main objections, at a reasonable level, to her writing this piece appear to be her undue projection of Gandhiji to introduce Ambedkar or to her being qualified to do the job in the first place or even her purported introduction not being an introduction to the text that followed. Even if one concedes the validity of these viewpoints, they need not have been expressed with such vehemence and negativity. As a matter of fact, the creative writer in Ms. Roy chose not the text per se but the stand-off between Ambedkar and Gandhiji in the context of Gandhiji’s reaction to the text in his magazine Harijan . She imagined that she could bring forth the problem of castes far more effectively if she used the contrast between Ambedkar and Gandhiji, who best represented moderate Hindu society, than dealing with the subject matter in a dry and mechanical manner. As for the qualification, while she took great pains to understand the issue she wrote on, her writings never reflected any aura of authority beyond a commonsensical objectivity necessitated by her style. Perhaps, and therefore, they appeal more to common people than to the so-called intellectuals.

Ambedkar, real and unreal
The most interesting argument however came not from Dalits but, paradoxically, an upper caste journalist (“B.R. Ambedkar, Arundhati Roy, and the politics of appropriation” by G. Sampath, Livemint, March 18, 2014). Challenging Ms. Roy, it said that if she wanted the bauxite under the Niyamgiri hills to be left to the Adivasis, why did she not leave Ambedkar who has been the only possession of Dalits to Dalits themselves? Interestingly though, the implication of the argument can be dangerous insofar as any engagement of the “other” defined as such on the basis of caste can be dismissed as illegitimate. May be, Ambedkar symbolises the cultural good of Dalits, but still, to ghettoise him to Dalits alone will mean downright disrespect to him and incalculable harm to the cause of Dalits. Niyamgiri left to the Adivasis implies a progressive interrogation of the prevailing developmental paradigm, while leaving Ambedkar to Dalits will mean retrogressive destruction of the annihilation-agenda of Babasaheb Ambedkar.

The controversy has surprisingly gone past the main point — that it is the bland business logic of the publisher that has fundamentally drawn Ms. Roy into writing the introduction. With her stature as a Booker Prize awardee, later amplified by her fearless pro-people stands on various issues on various occasions, the book was sure to go global. Moreover, it can well be imagined that her writing would certainly create a controversy, as has happened before. All this would mean a bonanza for any publisher in boosting sales of the book. Whether Navayana had consciously thought it out this way or not, these established product strategies of a publisher cannot be grudged by anyone as, after all, s/he has to follow the grammar of business. Notwithstanding the “anti-caste” tag Navayana tends to wear of late, publishing adulatory and cultish literature on Ambedkar is not the same thing as supporting the annihilation of castes. Once this controversy raked up by a few dies down, the vast majority of Dalits would rather take pride in the point that even Arundhati Roy joined them in worshipping their god. Every such form of Ambedkar adulation has indeed been reinforcing the caste identity and directly distances the annihilation project.

The acceptance of Ambedkar does not necessarily equate itself with the spread of an anti-caste ethos. Today, Ambedkar certainly outshines every other leader in terms of public acceptance. No other leader can rival him in the number of statues, pictures, congregations, books, research, organisations, songs, or any other marker of popularity of/on him. Curiously, his picture has become a fixture even in movies and television episodes. However, the incidences of casteism as indicated by cases of caste discrimination, caste atrocities, caste associations and caste discourses, etc. also show parallel growth. This paradoxical phenomenon can be explained only by separating the real Ambedkar from the unreal one, cast into the icons constructed by vested interests to thwart the consciousness of radical change ever germinating in Dalit masses. These icons package the enigmatic real Ambedkar into a simplistic symbol: an architect of the Constitution, a great nationalist, the father of reservations, a staunch anti-communist, a liberal democrat, a great parliamentarian, a saviour of Dalits, a bodhisattva, etc. These icons of the harmless, status quo-ist Ambedkar have been proliferated all over and overshadow a possible, radical view of the real Ambedkar.

Which Ambedkar?
Notwithstanding the intrigues behind the promotion of such icons by vested interests with active support from the state, the evolution of Ambedkar, the pragmatist sans any ideological fixation, all through his life, makes him intrinsically difficult to understand. A young Ambedkar who theorised castes as the enclosed classes, the enclosure being provided by the system of endogamy and exogamy, expecting the larger Hindu society to wake up and undertake social reforms like intermarriage in order to open up castes into classes is in contrast to the post-Mahad Ambedkar, disillusioned by the rabid reactions from caste Hindus, turning his sights to politics to accomplish his objective. Were his threats of conversion to Islam for a separate political identity for Dalits, or to force caste Hindus to consider social reforms? Then there is the Ambedkar of the 1930s, anxious to expand his constituency to the working classes sans castes, who founded the Independent Labour Party (ILP), arguably the first Left party in India, and walked with the communists but at the same time one who declared his resolve to convert to some other religion to escape castes. What about the Ambedkar of the 1940s, who returns to the caste, dissolves the ILP and forms the Scheduled Castes Federation, shuns agitational politics and joins the colonial government as labour minister or the one who wrote States and Minorities , propounding state socialism be hardcoded into the proposed Constitution of free India? Or Ambedkar, the staunchest opponent of the Congress or the one who cooperated with the Congress in joining the all-party government and accepted its support to get into the Constituent Assembly? Or even the Ambedkar who developed the representation logic culminating in reservations, expecting that a few advanced elements from among Dalits would help the community progress or the one who publicly lamented that educated Dalits had let him down? Or the Ambedkar who was the architect of the Constitution and advised Dalits to adopt only constitutional methods for a resolution of their problems or the one who disowned it in the harshest possible terms and spoke of being the first person to burn it down? And finally, the Ambedkar who kept referring to Marx as a quasi benchmark to assess his decisions? Or the one who embraced Buddhism and created the ultimate bulwark against communism in India to use the words of one of his scholars, Eleanor Zelliot, or even the one who would favourably compare Buddha and Marx just a few days before bidding adieu to the world, saying their goal was the same but that they differed in the ways of achieving them — Buddha’s being better than Marx’s? These are just a few broad vignettes of him, problematic in typifying him in a simplistic manner. If one goes deeper, one is bound to face far more serious problems.
Ambedkar is surely needed as long as the virus of caste lingers in this land but not as a reincarnation of the old one as most Dalits emotionally reflect on. Not even in the way Ms. Roy would want him to come now and urgently. He will have to be necessarily constructed to confront the far messier problem of contemporary castes than that obtained in his times.

(Anand Teltumbde is a civil rights activist with CPDR, Mumbai.)

Today, Ambedkar certainly outshines every other leader in terms of public acceptance. However, the incidences of casteism also show parallel growth. This paradoxical phenomenon can be explained only by separating the real Ambedkar from the unreal one - 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Well, that is is the job of those elected representatives in power. When the debate about GM crops rages on (across the world) , PM Manmohan while inaugurating the 101st session of the Indian Science Congress, lent his weight to the use of GM crops in India. He wanted to show that he really supports the scientific community in their various efforts, whether its consequences will be good or bad !!!!
Quote "Seeking to project the achievements of his government over the past 10 years in science and technology, he noted that the Sixth Pay Commission had improved the conditions for academics and scientists. "
Democratic practices indeed throws caution to the wind !!!!

At science meet, PM pitches for GM crops


Urges people not to be swayed by “unscientific prejudices”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents an award to scientist Yash Pal (right) at the Indian Science Congress in Jammu on Monday. Second fromleft is Jammu and Kashmir Chief MinisterOmar Abdullah.— Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents an award to scientist Yash Pal (right) at the Indian Science Congress in Jammu on Monday. Second fromleft is Jammu and Kashmir Chief MinisterOmar Abdullah.— Photo: PTI
Underscoring food security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday favoured genetically modified crops, urging the people not to be swayed by “unscientific prejudices.”

“Use of biotechnology has great potential to improve yields. While safety must [also] be ensured, we should not succumb to unscientific prejudices against Bt. crops,” he said, inaugurating the 101st session of the Indian Science Congress here.

Dr. Singh urged scientists to engage more with society and explain socially productive applications of biotechnology and other alternatives. The government remained committed to the use of biotechnology and other new technologies for agricultural development.

The government would soon come out with another national mission on high performance computing on an outlay of Rs. 4,500 crore and was planning to establish a national geographical information system on an outlay of Rs. 3,000 crore. India would soon join, as an associate member, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, where international projects such as research on ‘god particle’ was going on. It was planning to host the third detector for the global Gravitational Wave Experiment. “A national mission on teaching to enhance the esteem of our teachers is also being launched.”

The Prime Minister announced the names of five eminent scientists, selected for the recently instituted Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowships.

The fellowship is open to scientists who are either Nobel Laureates or Fellows of the Royal Society, or members of the United States or French academies of science. The selected scientists are entitled to a fellowship of $1,00,000 and a research grant of Rs. 55 lakh. They will have to do research in an institution in the country for 12 months, and the money can be spent in instalments over three years. The host institution would also get a grant of Rs. 10 lakh for providing laboratory and other facilities for research.

The scheme provides for 25 fellowships. The five have so far been selected. They are mathematical scientist Professor Srinivasa Varadhan of New York University, computational biologist Professor M. Vidyasagar of the University of Texas, life scientist Professor Azim Surani of the University of Cambridge, astronomer Professor Srinivas Kulkarni of Caltech, and geo-scientist Professor Trevor Charles Platt of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Four of the winners are Fellows of the Royal Society and one is an Abel medallist.

Seeking to project the achievements of his government over the past 10 years in science and technology, he noted that the Sixth Pay Commission had improved the conditions for academics and scientists. “International surveys have shown that India scores well in structures for scientific personnel. Our gross expenditure per full-time R&D personnel is increasingly comparable in purchasing power parity terms to some of the more developed R&D systems of the world.”

Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy said the government would soon launch a Rs. 250-crore scheme for scaling up innovations to serve the needs of the common man, and an overseas scholarship programme for bridging gaps in critical and frontier areas of research. His Ministry proposed to set up virtual institutes in advanced manufacturing and climate change.

MBA Theory & Practice - EFFECTS ON SOCIETY !!!

Part of MBA curriculum,is about various case studies and 'shining ' examples of highly successful companies like Coca Cola & Pepsi, who had made & marketed "sweetened aerated water" (sugary drinks). Ultimately what are the effects of such business practices on society and on its health!!!. Looking back, in such 'hallowed' centers of learning like Universities , did we make our' heart hard' by internalizing harmful business practices !?
The incidence of CANCER is on the rise , experts say in geometric proportions , and the advise is to have a healthy life-style, with specific restraints on use of sugary drinks !!!! Legislation is proposed against alcohol and sugary drinks .

Cancer cases worldwide to rise, says WHO agency

The World Health Organization’s cancer agency warns that there will be 22 million new cases of cancer every year within the next two decades.

Monday’s report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimated in 2012 that there were 14 million new cases but predicted that the figure would jump significantly due to global ageing and the spread of cancers to developing countries. The Lyon-based cancer arm of the WHO said more than 60 per cent of the world’s cancer cases are in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.

In 2012, IARC said the top cancer killers were those of the lung, liver and stomach. The agency called for countries to consider stronger legislation to encourage healthier lifestyles, including measures to tackle consumption of alcohol and sugary drinks. — AP